Hydrangea Rabbit Damage - Already!

whaas_5a(5A SE WI)November 20, 2009

So the grass is still green out here and in my area I have limited rabbit population.

I typically see rabbit damage in Feb and March.

After taking a walk through the yard I noticed a few stems eaten to the ground on a couple roses and my Macrophylla "Twist and Shout".

My question, I know I'll lose any flowers for old wood, but is there any concern with the rabbits pruning this particular variety at this time Or is it nothing to worry about...just like the weigela and spireas?

I don't want to go out there and cage them if I don't have to. Its already looking goofy out there with cages around my Fothergillas, Witchhazels and Viburnums.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You'd lose the old growth and potential flower buds anyway in your climate without winter protection, so I'd evaluate just how much damage you are willing to tolerate and proceed from there :-) Do you want to start over each season with a ground level plant? Rabbits are not an issue in my area - deer are - but the hydrangeas in my new garden are enormous and apparently never bothered by deer. If they were, I'd be inclined to provide some sort of fencing to keep them away. Ditto with the bunnies.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 11:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

These plants are under my baywindow in the front yard (protected location) so I don't know if fencing is an option for my personal tastes.

So bascially I'm giving up buds on old wood and size to a point?

If its not inhibiting its ability to put out new stems at a good pace, then I'm not worried...same with the roses, they'll have to be pruned anyhow.

I just didn't know if I need to be worried if they take em to the ground.

Plants that I do worry about are witchazels and fothergillas since they are so slow growing around here.

Another plant is burning bush, they get destroyed by rabbits and don't recover....not necessarily a bad thing, lol.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 1:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

At work, because labor is in short supply during the spring season, we cut back all our ES and TnS's to nearly ground level in the fall. No harm done and they bloom fine. All that old growth dies over the winter anyway.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2009 at 5:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

you SHOULD worry about your fothergillas & rabbits. Each winter now I've had rabbit damage (maybe not this year b/c my trusty mutt discovered the 8 babies' nest under my quick fire hydrangea??!!!) & last year they ate my fothergillas (as well as my oakleaf hydrangea). Try the spray like liquid fence; it should work, although you should spray it more than once over the winter. Good luck!


    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 5:20AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I have a yellow lab that will chase them out of the yard when present...but they eat the plants at times of the day/night that I'm not around/sleeping.

The fothergillas are already fenced in with chicken wire.

I put down rabbit scram around the Hydrangeas but sounds like I don't need to worry about them getting eaten anyhow. I want to keep them at 3' tall...label says 3'-5'...too new to find out where exactly they end up in my area. So if they are 5', then the rabbits might be doing me a favor. If I could only train them to eat these and my spireas.

I should say I am thankful for the hawk's nest in my backyard...I bet she is scooping up those bassards.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2009 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
goodhors(z5 MI)

My rabbits are picky. Don't bother the Fothergilla or certain Hydrangeas. Limelight, Tardiva, does just fine unprotected. However the rabbits REALLY like the PeeGee, chewed it to the dirt.

Maybe in fencing, you could choose a more attractive fencing, which will blend in a bit better. My galvanized fence grays out after some exposure to sun and winter weather. Can rather disappear with some time on it, no sparkle left to the galvanized wires. Also the black plastic "chicken wire" stuff is pretty invisible around a cage type device. Rabbits don't seem to chew thru it, for me.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 12:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
whaas_5a(5A SE WI)

I wish I had your rabbits in my area!

Its late November and this is what they hit already...

Fiesta Forsythia
Magic Meidland Rose
Twist and Shout Hydrangea
Dwarf Korean Lilac
Black Chokeberry
Birchleaf Spirea

Its like a food fiesta for these buzzards.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2009 at 10:35PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
where to order hydrangea?
Hi, I want to get Zinfin Doll and Bloomstruck hydrangea...
Nikko Blue size
I planted a tiny bare root stick of a Nikko Blue Last...
Propogating Hydrangea
Hi, My neighbors have just put up a 6 foot high fence...
Jon 6a SE MA
Should I prune this hydrangea?
It came in a small 4" pot. I have transplanted...
cakbu z9 CA
Hydrangeas in wet soil
I have an empty area beside our air conditioning unit...
Sponsored Products
Avery Vase
$35.99 | Dot & Bo
Holiday Elegance Arrangement with Urn - 1384
$59.99 | Hayneedle
Peony Hydrangea Wreath
Rhapsody Cream 54 x 24-Inch Hydrangea Tailored Two Tier Pair Curtain
$15.95 | Bellacor
Crestview Collection Hydrangea Table Lamp
Lamps Plus
Bedroom Lamp: 23.5 in. Hand Painted Purple Hydrangea Table Lamp TT10796
Home Depot
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™