If you are observant you can take action as soon as you see animal damage in your landscape before it is too late!

Every year I am amazed at the number of people who say they don’t have deer problems where they live in central Wisconsin. Yet, they have noticed that mysteriously their plants are not growing and even seem to be getting smaller!┬áThis is because they are failing to notice the signs of animal damage in their landscape.

If your landscape plants are getting smaller or not doing well here are some of the things that you can look for:

  • Ends of branches appear that they are torn off-deer feeding
  • Stems of trees have bark stripped off-antler rubbing by deer
  • Sharp, pointy cuts on shrubs stems 2 feet off the ground or less-rabbit feeding
  • Bark missing and gnaw marks close to ground level, especially on fruit trees-mice/voles feeding

The most severe animal damage in northern climates occurs during the winter. For information on preventing animal damage to your plants, check out our article Preventing Winter Animal Damage To Plants.



The little round balls are not a breakfast cereal. They are rabbit poop. As an experiment, I put apple tree branches on the ground and the rabbits nibbled all the bark off them!


The protective collar for this tree did not fit tight to the ground in our nursery. Mice moved in and completely girdled this tree. Make sure mouse protection is thorough!


Rabbit damage is easy to spot. Rabbits cut off stems at a sharp angle as shown in this picture. Deer teeth tear branches leaving a very rough looking cut.