Rabbits damage to plants


A lot of our plants some hydrangeas and some spireas have been even down by rabbits in the winter. Will they survive. I bought some of them just a year ago.


Thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners. I’m sorry to hear that rabbits have been feasting on plants in your garden, especially those that you have acquired recently. Whether or not these plants will survive depends on the extent of the damage. In the winter, rabbits like to feed on twigs and bark, and especially on cambium which is the tissue between the bark and the wood. The cambium contains the cells which transport water and nutrients up from the roots into the upper parts of the plant, and carbohydrates (food) from the leaves to other parts of the plant including the roots. If the damage to the cambium totally encircles (or girdles) the large stems of your shrubs, or if the rabbits have chewed off most of the small branches (especially on your young plants which are barely established), it is unlikely that the plant will survive, unfortunately. For your larger, well established shrubs, if the damage isn’t too extensive, it might be worthwhile to see how they come back when growth resumes in the spring. If you decide to keep them, you will need to ensure that they get proper watering and nutrients (with compost) during this growing season.

Good luck with your shrubs !

See the following link

Protecting Trees and Shrubs from Rabbits