Deer & rabbits denuded my poor Allegheny viburnums


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In October, I planted 20 Allegheny viburnums near our house here in SW Virginia. These were husky plants in 4" pots, V. xrhytidophylloides. The ones not right against the house, the deer and rabbits have eaten all their leaves and done some pruning. So many beautiful evergreens are now mostly bare twigs.

Bad on me—I had myself convinced leatherleaf types are deer resistant. Last season, they left some big leatherleafs I planted in early spring alone, though those are close to the house. Anyway, I am learning here that there are so many deer and rabbits that if they hang around where plants are, each critter needs only to sample for a plant to be denuded. And they seem to like young plants of whatever type.

Last week, I spent a couple days belatedly putting chicken wire around the bare twigs. I'm hoping they will leaf out in spring.

1. Do you think it is possible they will have enough energy reserves to re-leaf?
2. If so, would a handful of Osmocote slow release around each plant help?
I have Osmocote is why I ask. I also like Holly Tone. But the point is whether I can give them a little boost in March or April without burning them. Or even now?
 
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