Oakleaf Hydrangea Winter Rabbit Damage - February 2022

Dang rabbits.  They've taken a pretty big toll on my row of Oakleaf Hydrangeas in our backyard.  In the photo at the top, you can see the freshly-shorn-off tips.  This has happened on all of them along our south fence line - including the pair of dwarf ones. I didn't protect these from pests with wire cages because they haven't been hit in previous Winters.  However...I *have* had one of our other Oakleaf Hydrangeas (planted on the northside bed) get hit by rabbits previously.  I've protected that one with a cage.  Just like I've done other shrubs like the recently planted Arrowwood Viburnum.  

Our history with rabbits is well-established and we've had them around the yard since we moved in.  Last Summer, we had a little litter born right next to our patio.  They eat anything they can get their little teeth into including some of my tree seedlings, Hemlock trees, Toad Lillies and even young Hicks Yews.

Below, you can see a few more photos of these small shrubs that have been tattered by little ole' fuzzy nuts. 

I don't think it is too late to protect them, so this week, I'll head out to the hardware store and come home with some chickenwire to make some hoops.  Despite these being set back quite a bit with the rabbit damage, I still want to get them into a good spot come Spring so we can see some new growth.  

The real damage here is that Oakleaf Hydrangeas bud on 'old wood'.  Which means, we'll see very few flower buds on these this Summer.  

*shakes fist*. Dang rabbits.  *shakes fist*


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