Q. As the snow in my garden melts, there appears to be something wrong with my evergreen shrubs. They look broken and trampled. Is this snow damage and what can I do about it?
A. As the snow begins to melt at this time of the year, plants in our gardens are exposed to browsing animals. This winter’s excessive snowfall completely covered many woody and evergreen shrubs, which reduced feeding choices for hungry deer and rabbits. Unfortunately, many evergreens, especially yews and arborvitae, are favored by deer. Arborvitae grazed by foraging deer will most likely survive, but may be permanently damaged. Yews generally will survive this type of “natural pruning,” but their size may be greatly reduced. To differentiate between snow-damaged shrubs and plants foraged by deer, check for scat and hoof prints. Although not entirely reliable, repellents may be a helpful deterrent. If this is a common occurrence in your garden, you may want to consider installing plants less favored by deer.