Trees and shrubs: Rodent, deer and rabbit damage can be a big issue, especially in years with heavy snow cover. If the snow melts on and off over the winter and you did not protect particularly vulnerable species (young fruit trees, young thin-barked shade trees, burning bush, crabapples, blueberries, witch hazel and hazelnuts), you may want to do that if you can access the plants during a “melt.” It’s best to use ¼-inch mesh hardware cloth (a flexible metal fencing available at hardware, farm supply and home improvement stores).

The mesh is too small for pests such as voles and mice to get into, whereas chicken wire fencing mesh is large enough that they can easily get through. It is also best to put the fencing up in November before the snow falls and the ground freezes.

However, during a winter melt, you may still be able to secure the hardware cloth to the ground if it is not frozen using metal landscape staples. These are needed so the rodents don’t push in under the mesh. Do not place the mesh against the trunks and be sure to remove it promptly in spring.

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