Rabbits are adorable and it’s fun to watch them hop around. Unfortunately, they can wreak havoc on shrubs, gardens, and trees. The main issue is they chew off the bark leaving the tree exposed. Thankfully, the solution is pretty simple with you and the rabbits living in peace with each other. You can also save your chewed-up tree with a little time and patience.

How can you prevent the rabbits?

Rabbits tend to roam around more in the winter having their feasts. At this point, you may have just noticed the damage to your plants. The great news is that taking precautions now will protect you in the future. Rabbits tend to eat water they can, but there are favorites. 

Some trees they’re interested in is:

  • Pine
  • Maple
  • Serviceberry
  • Honey Locust

While the fruits and shrubs are:

  • Cherry
  • Crabapple
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Rose
  • Burning Bush
European rabbit

To prevent nibbling in the future, you’ll need to get some chicken wire or hardware cloth. Make a fence around the plants that is about two to three feet tall. You might need to readjust if you notice any high jumpers. Make sure you bury the fence into the ground as well, for the rabbits who like to dig underneath. For extra protection, there are a variety of humane rabbit repellents you can use around the plants.
How can you save a damaged plant?
It does depend on how much damage the rabbit has done throughout the winter. One of the best things you can do to a wounded tree is to let nature take its course and see if the plants can heal on their own.

For shrubs

  • Assess the damage and the health of the bark below the chew marks.
  • Prune any damaged stems to the fresh bark.
  • Be patient! New growth takes time. It could take a while for your plants to make a comeback.
  • Maintain protection from any further damage, including fixing the fence or reapplying repellant as needed
Garden design
Sycamore Maple Tree

For trees

  • Assess the damage. If it exceeds a quarter of the way around the trunk, there’s a chance your tree won’t bounce back. If it’s less than a quarter, your tree might make it.
  • Build up your fence and add a rabbit repellent for protection, even if you might not think the tree will survive.
  • For a second opinion, contact an arborist to look over the damage. They’ll be able to tell whether