This past winter of 2022 and 2023 was one the snowiest season we have seen in a while.  While it was pretty to look at through your window on a Sunday morning (lol), the animals (mainly bunnies and deer) had a harder time foraging for food all winter long.  So, instead of being able to waltz right up to the plant and eat parts of it they typically do, they would either climb the big snowpile in front of it or burrow a hole right to the base and start chipping and eating away at most plant material.  Yes, even if that variety is typically “deer or bunny resistant”.  It’s been quite a spring to see the massive amounts of damage they have caused.

Arborvitae-winter-2022-damage-by-heavy-snowfall in edina minnesota

Result of Heavy Snowfall

We were getting a several inches at a time and when you don’t help the trees and shrubs by removing the heavy snow, they often break a limb or bend open.  This Arborvitae was a result of that.  Also the snow sat heavily on the shrub it browned out the underneath and split down the middle with the weight.

Quick Facts and Some Steps to Take:

Minnesota’s harsh climate can cause severe damage to landscape plants.

  • Winter sun, wind and cold temperatures can
    • bleach and dry out evergreen foliage,
    • damage bark, and
    • injure or kill branches, flower buds, and roots.
  • Snow and ice can break branches and topple entire trees.
  • Salt used for deicing streets, sidewalks and parking lots is harmful to landscape plants.
  • Winter food shortages force rodents and deer to feed on bark, twigs, flower buds and leaves, injuring and sometimes killing trees and shrubs.



I love this saying I found on this blog post: “Bunnies are cute. Rabbits using your garden as an all-you-can-eat-buffet are not!”  It’s so true!


Please remember that no plant is totally deer and rabbit proof, but here’s a short list of ones that they are resistant to (Typically plants that are hairy, fuzzy, spiky and silver leaves are not a fan favorite of theirs)

Trees & Shrubs:
  • Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)
  • Yucca
  • Achillea
  • Allium
  • Artemesia
  • Astilbe
  • Cerastium
  • Cimicfuga
  • Delphinium
  • Digitalis
  • Epimedium
  • Euphorbia
  • Ferns
  • Geranium
  • Helianthus
  • Hellebore
  • Lavendula
  • Nepeta
  • Perovskia
  • Pulmonaria
  • Salvia
  • Siberian Iris
  • Stachys
  • Vinca
  • Ageratum
  • Alyssum
  • Cleome
  • Dahlia
  • Marigold
  • Snapdragon
  • Wax Begonia
  • Mint
  • Daffodils


The picture above is a Hydrangea Tree and an animal nawed on the the trunk of the tree and shredded the bark (most likely the snow was piled up that high around the tree).

Climates are changing and so we have to change with it.  We may continue to have winters similar to the snowy one we had the last winter of 2022 and 2023 and hot dry summers like this this summer.  So, when deciding on new plant material to install talk to your designer about drought resistant varieties and varieties that may not be as desirable to deer and rabbits.  Always, reach out to us with any questions!

Share this post with your friends


2024 Landscape Design Trends

2024 Landscape Design Trends

With the temperatures finally dropping after an unseasonably warm start to the winter, landscaping might be the last...

Homes by Architects Tour 2023

Homes by Architects Tour 2023

For the second year in a row we were honored to work with another talented architect (Swan Architecture) for a...

View All Posts