Winter rabbit damage is now affecting many trees and shrubs in the suburbs of Chicago. Due to the unusual snow, melt, and freeze cycles we’ve had, the rabbits do not have ready access to the vegetation they would normally dig and eat during winter.

Damage has been especially hard on Burning Bush, Crab Apples, Cotoneaster, shrub roses and Hawthorne. (Most of the damage to Arborvitae and Yews has been from deer, though not all.)

Rabbits appear to favor younger plants, and newer plantings. The damage is not hard to recognize, once you know what to look for. Classic signs of rabbit damage include:

  • Bark stripped from trunks of trees and shrub branches, from the ground up.
  • Damage up to 18” above the ground, or higher, because snow cover increases their reach.
  • Branches neatly cut off at a 45 degree angle, appearing as if they were clipped with a pruning tool, generally several inches from the base of the plant, or just above the snow level.

Damaged plantings will need to be evaluated to determine if replacement is warranted. Control is possible, with use of wire fencing, hardware cloth, or repellents.

Please call us for more information.

Bertog Landscape Co.
Phone: (847) 279-0028
Fax: (847) 279-0271