[NAFEX] Scab & Raccoons (was covering cherries, fruit bags, questions)

Hélène Dessureault interverbis at videotron.ca
Thu May 8 07:46:26 EDT 2008


Raccoons equal troubles. They are extremely clever at outsmarting the usual obstacles in their path and have nothing better to do. Their front feet are used like hands and I swear they could learn to write if you took the time....

However, they cannot resist food, such as sardines or peanut butter, and don't seem to be able to figure out the mechanism of a humane cage.
You can catch them easily this way and release them far enough so they don't come back (farther than you think). A golf course facility may be another option if you feel so inclined, so that they can forget about your orchard.

A dog that hunt raccoon is also a very good choice, as it will hunt at nigth while raccoons are up about and you are blissfully sleeping.

Hélène, zone 3-4, where the populationn of raccoons is impressive due to the proximity of a federal park with picknick grounds. 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Judi Stewart 
  To: nafex at lists.ibiblio.org 
  Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 1:30 AM
  Subject: [NAFEX] Scab & Raccoons (was covering cherries, fruit bags, questions)


  Mark, 

  If you have scab fungal spores out and about when you bag apples, whichever cover you use, you'll get scab on your fruit.  One of our apple growers here swears by his solution for scab. 

  He says the rain-loving scab spores pop up in the spring during wet weather from any fall litter left on the ground. They just drift up into the air. If you don't control it, the scab gets to be more scab which begets more infections, which turns into a scab epidemic. 

  He says his solution is to simply let his grass grow in the orchard. He lets it get as high as can be.  Only mows when the rainy season is over.  He says the fungal spores are trapped in the tall grasses and don't get near his fruit trees.  When the weather turns drier and warmer, he'll mow the orchard down completely.  I've seen his apples - no scab.

  Found the following info which might help your raccoon situation.

  Raccoons and Skunks

  NOTE: Skunks have been known to go after sweet corn just like raccoons! To add to that not much will stop raccoons.

  Raccoons usually have litters of between two to seven babies. They travel what we call "runs" and will use the same runs generation after generation for decades. They can easily scale high wooden fences. They are nocturnal and do their scavenging at night.

  1. Plant anything with prickly foliage to deter them such as squash plants, oriental poppies, globe thistle, pumpkins, Kentucky Wonder pole beans etc. Raccoons have incredibly sensitive toes.

  2. To trap raccoons: use baits like sardines, marshmallows, or honey soaked bread.

  3. Surround the area with a horizontal border that coons and skunks don't like to walk over-crumpled up black plastic, newspaper, or aluminum foil. Hold these in place with some rocks, landscape pins, or soil.

  4. Use mesh fencing or chicken wire as a horizontal barrier. Raise these slightly above the ground with some bricks to make it even more of a hassle to cross.

  5. Spread naphthalene flakes or balls around, raccoons hate the taste of this in their paws and they are said to also aid in repelling skunks. 

  6. Use any kind of old netting: fish netting, tennis net, whatever as a barrier. Stake loosely to hold in place.

  7. Use rose bush trimmings as a barrier, or anything with stickers.

  8. Sprinkle a barrier of lime around the perimeter to be protected.

  9. To keep raccoons from getting the fruit in your trees: wrap a barrier of aluminum or sheet metal 2 feet in height around the trunk of the tree. Be sure not to make it tight you want to let your tree trunk breathe.

  10. Soak old corn cobs in vinegar. Place them around the plant to be protected. Supposedly once they chew on these they will not come back. We found that last season this worked on both skunks and raccoons for about 2 months. Apparently after that they got wise and were up to their old tricks.

  11. Sprinkle flour around suspected nesting or sleeping areas.

  Judi Stewart

  zone 8

  North Olympic Peninsula







  Date: Wed, 7 May 2008 16:29:22 -0400

  From: "Mark Dorogi" <mddorogi at comcast.net>

  Subject: Re: [NAFEX] covering cherries, fruit bags questions



  Maybe I should try those Maggot Barriers this year.  They cost 6 times as much as ziplock bags, but still they are only about $.07 per footie.  The advantage of the footies would be that they ?breathe? but I wonder if fungal infections like scab can find their way through the nylon and still get to the apples.  Scab is heavy around here, although I try to keep the trees sprayed well until bagging time.



   I had the same issue with bird netting a few years back.  Some branches got bent, particularly on the Montmorency sour cherry, which seems to have weak branches.  You are right, a PVC support structure should be relatively cheap and effective.  



   If you securely tie the netting right to the trunk, will that keep raccoons out?  Or do they just rip it apart and proceed with their feasting?  Apart from eating the fruit, they wreck the trees by climbing out to the end of branches and breaking them.  They just about destroyed that sour cherry one year.  I didn?t realize why the tree was falling apart I caught a raccoon in the act.



   Mark





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