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Extension > Yard and Garden News > Rabbit Damage Revealed on Trees and Shrubs

Rabbit Damage Revealed on Trees and Shrubs

M.Grabowski, UMN Extension

Photo 1: Rose bush with extensive rabbit damage

As gardeners inspect their landscapes this spring, many trees and shrubs have been found with extensive rabbit damage. Rabbits are one of the most commonly seen mammals in the urban environment. In Minnesota, our most common rabbit is the Eastern cottontail, Sylvilagus floridans.


Rabbits will spend much of their time eating grasses and other herbs but they will also chew on the bark of trees and shrubs and eat the buds of shrubs in the winter and spring. If left unprotected, rabbits will sometimes eat the bark from around the base of a tree or shrub. This is called "girdling" and can kill the plant.

Read Rabbits and Trees and Shrubs by wildlife expert Jennifer Menken of the Bell Museum to learn more about protecting landscape plants from rabbit damage.

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