Post by prairiegardens on May 1, 2020 17:57:58 GMT -5
I've been reading books and books and nowhere can I find anything useful regarding ways to cope with creatures that make life difficult. Gophers, ground squirrels and now a bloody porcupine....I assume, haven't actually seen it, in spite of my best efforts.
One pine tree survived being dug up by something, replanted, smothered in webworms which got knocked out by canola oil and dish soap. It had finally got going, reached about 5 feet and last week all the bark on the top 2 feet was stripped off.
While trying to find out info on what if anything I could do to help, the unspeakable creature came back and not only cut off all the smaller branches but took the bark down another foot or so. I looked for the thing with a tire iron in my fist and murder in my heart but couldn't find it. And I've no idea how or even if I can save the tree.
It's the only evergreen within a mile, the only pine in many miles. I am feeling persecuted by the wildlife, between the gophers and this thing...don't want to use poisons as I have hawks and don't wish to kill them as collateral damage but life is getting a bit discouraging. And I have not found even a single chapter anywhere on how people cope with these creatures.
OK. sweet new springtime pine growth in the U.S of A. right now? Tasty top too tall for jackrabbits, perfect height for goats, feral white-tail or other venison sources. Feral Sheep? Use the buckshot 12 guage. Eat what is not a pulped hole. Whatever new growth from needle buds will just be a target for the next passing crittur. Sometimes a weekly coating of whole-egg beaten with "thiram" plus sharp sand can slow the chompers down. May be worth coating the main trunk up to horse-teeth-height as well. Then again; more eating on a horse. Has anyone tried wrapping the growing shoot (loosely )in wire mesh with one-inch hole size or less, may need two or three layers to get between teeth and bark. ? Sure, and pull it off before it gets ingrown and is found by a chainsaw or sawmill.
Post by prairiegardens on May 4, 2020 16:54:21 GMT -5
Have whitetail and elk in area but no goats or feral sheep. Or loose horses. I'll have to try to track down thiram. I don't own a gun, we don't gravitate to them so much in Canada I've seen deer in the yard in other years, they've never touched it before, but of course that means nothing. Is there anything I can do to stop the top 4 feet from dying and should I just lop it off? Whatever it was didn't eat the buds at the very top but without bark or some way to get nutrients they wont survive.
Post by 12540dumont on May 4, 2020 17:46:20 GMT -5
If they girded the trunk all the way around it's hopeless. We make tree cages for our trees in Oregon. Here in California, we make reverse cages for gophers. Anything a gopher will eat, must be put in a basket. Things I have tried:
'65 ford, hose attached to the exhaust pipe. Carbon dioxide stuffed down the hole. (Okay killed a few of them). Smoke Bombs...stuff them down a hole, cover the hole. Watch where the smoke comes out, stuff another smoke bomb there, cover hole. (Okay, killed a few of them). Traps....nah, never got one.
The cat flung one out of a hole and I stomped it. Cat is pissed at me, gopher is dead, husband looks at me funny.
The problem is that each gopher makes 4 gophers, and their runs can be up to 2000'.
I stand here watching them take out a row of garlic.
Peppers in the holes...works for awhile.
My son made me a frog gigging fork and I tried to stab one, but I got the irrigation instead. Husband now looking at me cross eyed.
Holly 5 Gophers 47 garlics, 30 tomatoes, 24 peppers, 9 eggplant, 2 rows of carrots, 7 rose bushes, 2 citrus, 3 lilacs, all the cabbage.
Hence the baskets. So far only one watermelon was eaten by gopher above ground. Cat got that gopher....
2 years ago we me an above ground strawberry bed. Wired the whole darn thing with rabbit wire! 25' long, what a pain to fill and build. 6 months later, the gopher climbed up the side, moved into the berry bed and lived there till every darn berry was gone. Truly, they are insufferable, much like deer which are just gophers on 4 legs. The gophers ate the agapanthus below ground, and the dear ate it from above. A pox on varmints.
That's redundant; varmints ARE a pox. Seriously, dry ice asphyxiates the little bastards with no other ill effects; a lit road flare down the hole and sealed is also very effective (even in an extensive burrow), but toxic (strontium, ick!)
A girdled tree is not always hopeless; it may be possible to bridge-graft it over the ring-barking. When I had a plague of voles, they had ring-barked some of my trees 8" up, so I thought I could bridge-graft them; wrong! They were also barked eight inches down. Anything that eats these rodents is my friend; Sir Isaac Newton was fond of mouse on toast. I'm not inclined to follow him in that, but I'm also not as good at Physics. This is one reason I'm a friend of snakes, even rattlesnakes, which are potentially dangerous, but not aggressive; they just want to go about their mission, which is to eat rodents and make rattlesnakes; I appreciate their focus. Again, I admit to greater sympathy for predators, rather than prey species.
Post by prairiegardens on May 7, 2020 14:46:17 GMT -5
Got two with rat traps....actually got three but one must have been kittywampus when the trap snapped as it kicked for a while and managed to get out. Not sure if it was the same one that the same trap got properly or not. Dry ice...I can only get it in pellets from the city 3 hours away so not sure what would be left to use by the time I got it here, very frustrating. If ever I get to town I could probably pick up a 50 pound block, which might be over kill, I'd have to learn how to dismantle it.
Had voles do the "get into the raised bed" trick and girdle a dozen Saskatoon seedlings.
I may need to get a Jack Russell.... saw a jack rabbit yesterday, first one ever in this area. Wont get a cat, can't keep them from using the veggie beds as a latrine.
I was thinking about how vegans burble on about cruelty to animals...they should have watched that ground squirrel kicking in what I thought were automatic death reflexes. I must admit when it disappeared I had to wonder how it will manage, it flipped the trap upside down so the trap had to have had a decent hold, if not a killing one. But I put a chunk of fresh plum in it and that certainly got instant interest. Now for the other 8 or so that I've seen near the house.....no idea how many elsewhere around the property.
I've been wondering about a long run of wire, edges turned up, to protect the potatoes...last time they nibbled a little on almost every potato of any size.
good fencing is really the best approach i've ever found for managing critters. we have groundhogs but not gophers. chipmunks are smaller and tough to completely control, but i do have a very accurate air rifle with a good scope on it. the habits of chipmunks to freeze and perch on items makes them pretty easy with a little patience. no, i do not enjoy hunting at all, but whatever i do hunt ends up as garden fertilizer so it is not wasted or unappreciated. i figure in due time i will be compost too for some other creatures...
deer, rabbits, groundhogs, chipmunks, moles (not for their feeding but their tunnels), voles, raccoons, skunks, possums, minks, foxes, coyotes, hawks, etc. all can be pests, but most of them are not here. we don't plant items that most like. by far the deer, rabbits and groundhogs do most of the damage to the gardens (vegetable and flower gardens) or eat the trees/shrubs. chipmunks come in 4th. raccoons in 5th and they do so little that bothers us we don't even try to control them. it just isn't worth the effort - besides they clean up some of the hornet/wasps/etc. nests from under and behind the rocks.
if i ever want to grow sweet corn we'd need a very good electric fence - neither of us is a huge eater of corn so it isn't much of a loss to us. i may in the future try to grow some corn for corn meal but that is years away. i'd need to own this place instead of just live here and help out and then i'd need to finish up an enclosing fence (which would be worth doing as it wouldn't run that much $ - it is just that Mom doesn't like the idea of fencing all around where she'd have to see it. me, i wouldn't care as i'm tired of losing a lot of productive space that i can't really use reliably due to animal predations. an extra 20,000 sq ft of usable garden space would mean a heck of a lot more production. i used to have larger strawberry patches until the deer discovered them and have taken them back out. i'd like to get back to that as it is really nice to have more strawberries growing than i can eat or use so i can give them away to friends. but more than that i'd also like to have better production of beans and have more space to grow pole beans on some rows of fencing.