Often, growers think that just because it's wintertime that agricultural damage from deer and small critters won't happen; but we forget that all types of wildlife need to eat, too. For white-tailed deer, they will eat tree bark or fallen leaves and wait for the 'good stuff' in the spring (gardeners' freshly planted vegetables, flowers, fruits); but for rabbits, they aren't so patient.
Because sprouts aren't available just yet, wild rabbits resort to eating woody plant parts including the twigs,bark and buds of trees and bushes. This is why fruit growers (espiecially blueberry growers) and tree farmers need to protect trees from rodent damage.
Deer and rabbit management can be achieved with the use of a metal fence around tree farms. It's recommended to use a metal deer fence to stop both deer and rabbits from chewing around a fence perimeter. Trenching the fence at the bottom is a good idea to stop burrowing rabbits from digging their way to the inside of the garden.
Another idea for rabbit control on landscapes is to use tree guards. Tree wraps are easy to use and require zero maintenance after installation. Tree guards protect the bark from young trees and reduce the chance for deer to rub antlers against bark. These tree wrap guards will stop bunnies from eating bark and causing further damage that deer left behind.
If you are wondering how to repel rabbits, the best solution is the use of a metal deer fence, such as the Steel Hex Web construction with a PVC-coating. Rabbits repellents can be applied around the perimeter of the fence; but should not be used to replace one.