The Q&A Archives: Dappled Willow -

Question: Does this shrub need to be wrapped for winter protection? Do deer and rabbits find this shrub attractive? Trying to protect it for harsh winter in upstate NY. Had a lot of animals much on plants last year. We just planted the dappled willow in the spring and need to know how to protect it. Thank you.

Answer: This shrub is very cold tolerant and should not need special winter protection in terms of cold, although you would probably want to apply a natural mulch over the root area just as you would other plants. It is sometimes bothered by deer and rabbits, so you may want to protect it from them, yes. You can try to fence it to protect it from the deer. In my experience a cylinder of wire mesh about four feet tall and at least three feet out from the branch tips encircling the individual plant usually works to keep deer from nibbling too awfully much. Rabbits can be deterred by encircling the base of the trunk in a fine wire mesh about two feet above the expected snow line, also extend the fence material outward along the ground and cover it with gravel to deter digging. Some gardeners also report success using the spray on repellents for deer and rodents, these are sold at garden centers. Be sure to read and follow the label instructions. If you have consistent deer trouble you may want to consider a tall fence as this is really the only long term reliable way to protect your landscaping. Keep in mind also that this shrub rapidly grows quite large overall, so most gardeners trim it back very hard in late winter or early spring to keep it at a manageable size. Good luck with your plants this winter!

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