Possums are destroying my trees!

Possums are destroying my trees!

Possums are Destroying My Trees! What Can Be Done?

Possums can be an adorable sight, but not when they are destroying your trees. These nocturnal marsupials have a taste for leaves, flowers, and bark, and can cause serious damage to your trees if left unchecked. As a consulting arborist with years of experience, I have dealt with numerous cases of possum-infested trees. In this article, we will explore effective ways to deter possums from destroying your trees.

Understanding Possums and Their Habits

Before we jump into the methods of possum control, it is important to understand possums and their habits. Possums are nocturnal animals, which means they are active at night and sleep during the day. They are omnivorous, feeding on a variety of foods such as fruit, insects, small mammals, and even bird eggs. However, they have a particular affinity for trees, as they provide both food and shelter.

Possums are climbers, using their sharp claws and prehensile tails to ascend trees. They typically feed on the leaves, flowers, and bark of trees, which can lead to significant damage. Their feeding habits can also attract other animals, such as insects, which can further damage the tree.

Effective Possum Control Methods

If you are experiencing possum damage to your trees, there are several effective methods of control. These methods range from natural deterrents to physical barriers, and each has its advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Natural Deterrents

One of the simplest and most natural ways to deter possums is to plant trees and shrubs that possums do not like. Possums have a particular dislike for strong-smelling plants, such as lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus. By planting these around your trees, you can create a barrier that possums are unlikely to cross.

Another natural deterrent is to use predator urine. Predators such as foxes and coyotes are natural enemies of possums, and the smell of their urine can be enough to keep possums away. You can purchase predator urine online or from hunting stores and apply it around the base of your trees.

  1. Physical Barriers

Physical barriers are another effective way to deter possums. One of the most popular barriers is a possum guard, which is a plastic collar that is placed around the trunk of the tree. The collar is coated in a slippery substance that makes it difficult for possums to climb the tree. Possum guards are easy to install and do not harm the tree.

Another physical barrier is a tree wrap, which is a mesh material that is wrapped around the trunk of the tree. The mesh is small enough to prevent possums from climbing the tree, but not so tight that it damages the tree. Tree wraps are more difficult to install than possum guards but can provide better protection for your trees.

  1. Trapping and Relocating

Trapping and relocating possums is another option, but it is important to note that possums are protected wildlife in most areas. Before trapping, make sure to check with your local wildlife authorities to ensure that it is legal to do so.

Traps can be purchased online or from gardening stores and are typically baited with fruit or honey. Once trapped, possums should be relocated at least five kilometers away from your property. However, trapping and relocating possums can be time-consuming and may not be a long-term solution.

Preventative Measures

Preventative measures can also be taken to reduce the risk of possum damage to your trees. These measures include:

Pruning trees to remove low-hanging branches that possums can use to climb. Possums are excellent climbers and can easily use low-hanging branches to access your trees. By pruning your trees, you remove these access points and make it more difficult for possums to climb your trees.

Installing motion-activated lights around your trees can also help deter possums. Possums are nocturnal animals and are often frightened by sudden bright lights. By installing motion-activated lights around your trees, you can startle possums and make them think twice about approaching your trees.

Regularly cleaning up fallen fruit, nuts, and seeds can also help reduce possum activity in your yard. Possums are attracted to food sources, and if you remove these sources, they will be less likely to visit your yard.

Conclusion

Possums can be a nuisance when they start damaging your trees, but with the right techniques and tools, you can control their activity and prevent future damage. Natural deterrents such as predator urine and planting strong-smelling plants can be effective, as well as physical barriers such as possum guards and tree wraps. Trapping and relocating possums is another option, but it is important to check with local wildlife authorities first. Preventative measures such as pruning trees, installing motion-activated lights, and cleaning up fallen fruit, nuts, and seeds can also help reduce possum activity in your yard.

Links for Further Reading
  1. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/pests/insects-diseases-weeds/protect-trees-from-possums/
  2. https://www.arborday.org/trees/treefacts/
  3. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-trees-secretly-talk-each-other-180962469/
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