We have six-foot tall hemlocks along the back of our property.
The lower branches, two to five inches off the ground, have had some
of the bark chewed off, leaving an exposed area. I bought some
Spectracide pruning seal (aerosol) and sprayed it on the chewed
areas. No further damage was noted where I sprayed but other
branches were chewed. We have a number of rabbits that roam through
our lawn area and leave many droppings and possibly eat flowers in
the summer. Deer also live in our area. Is there a humane way to
control rabbits? Is the pruning seal the best product I can use to
help the trees recover? Can you recommend a good deer repellent?
From your description, rabbits, rather than deer, have caused
the damage to your hemlocks. Rabbits often strip the bark from lower
branches of trees and shrubs in search of specific nutrients. Deer
more often browse the tips of branches, removing them completely,
rather than striping the bark. The pruning sealer probably
discouraged further nibbling because the taste and/or smell was
unappealing to the rabbits.
However, we rarely recommend pruning sealer because it
interferes with trees innate ability to heal damage from pruning
cuts and animal damage. Despite the startling appearance of the
damage, your hemlocks are able heal themselves from rabbit