Rabbits bite, nibble and chew on the most easily accessible parts of shrubs and have a few favorite shrubs that they like to munch on. They become much less fussy about their dietary selection, however, when food is scarce. They enjoy gnawing on the outer skin or bark of limbs and branches and often will gnaw off an entire branch or stem to get at the pulpy tissue that lies between the layer of bark and the wood of the shrub.
Flowering quince is a deciduous shrub that is attractive to rabbits. Mature shrubs reach nearly 10 feet in height and spread and rabbits often seek refuge in their protective branches. They usually ignore the small fruit produced by the shrub and prefer to snack on its newly grown sprouts, as well as the gray outer skin of younger stems or the brown bark older branches.
Rabbits appreciate the natural camouflage that the Oakleaf Hydrangea provides. Spreading to 6 feet in width and the same in height, the shrub's large leaves and drooping branches create the dappled shade that rabbits like. Rabbits eat the tender suckers produced among the roots of the shrub, as well as the bark of its branches. They cause serious damage to the shrub by removing the bark around the diameter of a limb, in a process called "girdling."
A shrub called Burning Bush, or winged euonymus, has a dense canopy of thin leaves that provides rabbits with protective foliage and a plentiful supply of food. The height and spread of a Burning Bush can exceed 10 feet, providing a natural habitat for rabbits. They also enjoy eating the shrub's tender stems that grow close to the ground; when those are gone, they'll switch to the shrub's other tender twigs and branches.
Shrub roses are very alluring to rabbits. They grow up to 6 feet in height and the same in width and they provide plenty of foliage in which a rabbit can hide. Shrub roses also provide a bounty of food items for rabbits. Rose hips and stems, as well as the bark of older limbs, are all a potential meal for rabbits. They're not bothered by the shrub's thorns and maneuver quite well among the branches without hurting themselves.
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