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Thread: Tree rats

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    anramitaco's Avatar
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    Tree rats

    As usual, I moved a lot of plants onto the porch for the summer, where I also grow a lot of vegetables and herbs. The neighborhood squirrels have dug up seedlings, overturned pots, chewed the pitchers off Nepenthes, and this morning I witnessed one munching on the bullate leaf of a Dischidia vidalii.

    Does anyone have any good methods for deterring these destructive beasts? Blood meal works reasonably on the vegetables. Capsaicin spray works well, too, but has to be reapplied frequently and in great quantities to do any good. Our cats are indoor-only, so they're pretty much useless.

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    Oddly enough, plastic bird netting has been working for me. I can't imagine it would deter a really persistant and determined squirrel but so far it's proven to be more trouble than it's worth for them. Aside from that, all I can recommend is a good pellet gun.

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    BS Bulldozer SubRosa's Avatar
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    My dog did the job for me. When I moved in there was a squirrel nest in the tree right outside my back door. Two years later when I got the dog the squirrels started avoiding the ground in the yard, accessing the nest via the canopy. That continued a couple years, but last year they abandoned the nest.
    Judge not lest ye be judged creates a cesspool. Judge others and prepare to be judged by them.
    Just know when to keep the verdict to yourself.

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    A friend had squirrels jumping into hanging baskets, and poked toothpicks into the soil at various angles. That stopped them for a while.

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    Subsurface Lurker gnathaniel's Avatar
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    I've also used bird netting for several years with near-100% success against squirrels; the couple I've seen trying to push through it got tangled up and subsequently decided whatever was behind the net wasn't worth the risk. Before I put up the netting, I lost several large Bulbophyllums to the rapacious little ********. They ripped every last pseudobulb off its rhizome, chewed giant holes in each without really eating much, and scattered the remains all over the yard. In my initial rage I briefly considered using a .22 rifle with subsonic hollowpoints, before the voice of reason in my head reminded me of the myriad reasons why that was a terrible idea...

    For best effect with bird netting, put up a few vertical posts or hangers over which to tent it so it doesn't sit right on your plants. I like the 'shepherd's crook' basket-hanging posts for this purpose, along with a few large binder clips to close the tent and clip it to the uprights. Also works well with as-needed addition or substitution of shadecloth or a finer mesh screen to keep out small bugs.
    --Nat--

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    Cthulhu138's Avatar
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    Not sure how well you can see it in these pics but, the entire bog area is draped in bird netting. I initially put it up to stop marauding grackles, bluejays and (especially) robins but, it also unexpectedly keeps the tree rats at bay.




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    anramitaco's Avatar
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    In my initial rage I briefly considered using a .22 rifle
    I had the same thought when I saw one munching away at my Dischidia this morning.

    I'm going to give the bird netting a shot--thanks everyone!

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    You could convince the local kids that there is profit to be made selling items such as these:

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/1264385...FQmDfgodmy8ARQ

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