[NAFEX] decoy crops

Alan Haigh alandhaigh at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 11:02:05 EST 2007

The boards a little slow right now so I thought I'd return to the subject of
decoy crops and share my experience.  I have planted Illinois Everbearing
mulberries in several sites over the years as much for the fruit as for a
wildlife distraction.  It hasn't been much help for cherries, it couldn't
be, because the cherry varieties I manage fruit earlier.  I definately want
to try that brilliant fake cherry scheme mentioned earlier.

Anecdotally, the mulberries do seem to be helpful in distracting squirrels
and I have begun promoting them from my nursery for this purpose although
the fruit of this variety sells them fast enough- most people love them.
Even if you want to shoot your squirrels the  mulberry will bring them out
early before they have begun stripping your green peaches and pears.  On bad
years it's hard to shoot them fast enough.

On my site I also have several large unprotected blueberries to keep the
birds and smaller mammals occupied.  Next year I'll add a couple of Elliots
to this mix to extend my handouts past the season of acorn ripeness.  While
the birds love my blueberries it is impossible for me to evaluate their
affect on bird damage to my other fruit, however most years the damage isn't
too bad (except for unnetted cherries).  The blueberries were amongst the
first things I planted here so I have no before and after comparison.

I watch the birds feeding on the blueberries from my living room window- the
bushes pulsate with their frenzied feeding. This brings me and my family
great pleasure even though I can't be sure these plants aren't luring more
fruit lovers to my site.
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