One of the reasons many people plant a variety of shrubs and flowers in their yards is to attract wildlife. While it’s enjoyable to watch them frolic and refreshing to enjoy their antics, those same creatures we like staring at can also wreak havoc on our landscapes. The wild rabbit is one of those animals we often have a love/hate relationship. It’s fun to watch them hopping around your yard, nibbling here and there, except that in the winter those little nibbles can cause major damage to shrubs and small trees. With their food supply being limited in cold weather, rabbits often seek out our yard plants to fill their tummies. Anything exposed above the snow is fair game for those sharp little teeth.
If you have rabbits that visit your yard, you may already have noticed evidence of their appetites. If not, as the snow begins to melt, you soon will. Rabbit damage takes two forms – stripped bark and nipped-off stems and stalks. The first step is to repair damage; the second is to take steps to prevent it from occurring next winter. Better Homes & Gardens has some good advice for dealing with the rabbit-in-the-garden problem.