Cedar hedge

(Question)

I live in Port Elgin Ontario, about 1 km from the lake. The soil is mostly sandy. We have a cedar hedge along the south side of our property that is about 30 years old, about 6 ft high & approx. 2-3 ft in width. For the past few years, we have noticed areas at the bottom of the hedge that appear to be hollowed out. Each year, each area gets bigger, and there appears to be more of them this year. We have another hedge on the east side, and it does not suffer from the same problem. We have a perennial garden in front of the hedge, with tall pink phlox closest to the hedge itself. We are wondering if it has something to do with the phlox, or rabbits, which we have a lot of. Do you think it possible to plant a small round cedar bush in these areas?? Thank you very much.

(Answer)

 

Thank you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners about the mystery damage to your cedar hedge on the south side of your property.

It would appear that the cedar foliage has been eaten at the base, providing an entry into the cosy shelter beneath the hedge. My assumption is that this shelter possibly is a nest for a rabbit family, the sandy soil providing soft bedding. The tall pink phlox plant provides further visual shelter and is possibly causing more shade to your cedar hedge than the cedars would like.

You mention that there are ‘a lot’ of rabbits in your area, and possibly the additional hollowed out areas in the south hedge provide similar locations for breeding. Why the East hedge escapes this problem also escapes me.

The addition of a small round cedar bush in these areas would likely receive similar treatment from your rabbit population.

We would be most interested in hearing of any further developments. Good luck