Plymouth Forester: Shrubs Damaged by Rabbits, Deer Especially Bad This Year
Plymouth City Forester Paul Buck says he has taken a lot of calls this year from homeowners about damaged shrubs. He says he hasn’t seen it this bad in years.
The reason for the dismay: rabbits and deer have been particularly stressed due to this winter’s near-record snowfall.
“This year we got to a point where we have 6 to 8 feet of snow, so now all their food sources were buried that they normally could have gotten to,” said Buck. “They were extremely stressed and they were going to eat everything and anything they could find.”
Buck suggests cutting back those dead and nibbled-on branches to help your shrubs re-sprout. And depending on how much damage, you may have to cut down your shrub down to the base.
In previous years, deer and rabbit populations increased due to relatively mild and snow-lacking winters. Buck says animals nibbled on bark and evergreens — not the most nutritious food choice for them — due to the extraordinary amount of snowfall.
“Large populations, not a lot of food source,” said Buck.
Other than cutting back dead branches on shrubs, Buck says there’s not a lot you can do.
“It’s going to set it back a little bit, but most of them will come even harder because you’ve taken all the rest of the top off,” he said.
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