Grape vine rabbit damage

Asked April 12, 2017, 9:48 PM EDT

This winter a rabbit chewed on the bottom of a 7 year old grape vine all the way around the woody part near the base. The chewed on part is weeping, but further down the vine I see the buds starting to emerge. Should I cut the vine back below where it is severely damaged or let the vine try to heal its wounds. Thanks for your advice.

Hennepin County Minnesota

1 Response

Thank you for the question. If the grapevine has been deeply girdled all the way around the grape vine wood, it will most likely die above that point. Sometimes you will see what looks like new healthy growth above the girdled area but this is growth using stored energy from last season and will soon fizzle out. Your best bet is to treat the vine like a newly planted one by removing the vine above the girdling and train the new shoots below it into a new vine. Read more about growing grapes for home use in our publication linked here:
Next winter, protect the part of the vine with chicken wire or some other suitable barrier.

Thank you for contacting Extension.