How do I prevent rabbits from damaging trees and shrubs in winter?
The most effective way to prevent rabbit damage to trees and shrubs in the home landscape is to place chicken wire fencing or hardware cloth around vulnerable plants. To adequately protect plants, the fencing material needs to be high enough that rabbits won't be able to climb or reach over the fence after a heavy snow. In most cases, a fence that stands 24 to 36 inches tall should be sufficient. To prevent rabbits from crawling underneath the fencing, bury the bottom 2 or 3 inches below the ground or pin the fencing to the soil with u-shaped anchor pins. Small trees can also be protected by placing white spiral tree guards around their trunks. Since the weather in late fall in Iowa is unpredictable, it's best to have the protective materials in place by early to mid-November. After a heavy snow, check protected plants to make sure rabbits aren't able to reach or climb over the fencing or tree guards. If necessary, remove some of the snow to keep rabbits from reaching the trees or shrubs.