No Time to Waste

A couple of days ago I wrote a post about the possums stripping bark from my citrus trees. I defended against their assault by placing plastic pots around some of the main branches of the kumquat tree, the tastiest of my trees. This has worked a treat – no more bark chewing…. above the pots.

Below the pots is another matter. The poor tree is still under attack. I’m very worried about its survival. It wasn’t healthy before this onslaught. In late 2010 it really faded after a bountiful harvest. We pruned it way back thinking that would help. To be honest, it initially had a fantastic growth spurt, but that was eaten by… something (caterpillars, possums, aliens??? – never saw anything eating the leaves but 90 % were gone) and the tree has never looked healthy since.

Check out what the bloody possum is doing now! He’s chowing down on the bark at the base of the tree. Not much hope in me putting a pot under that :-{

Africanaussie gave me a suggestion she’d found online from Heyne’s Garden Centre. The tip is to soak rags in a seaweed solution and hang them in a tree. If you’re lucky (I pray I am) the possums will avoid the smell and move elsewhere (hopefully not to another fruit tree in my garden).

I filled 4 stockings with old rags (towelling) and soaked them in a strong seaweed solution (the chickens were a big help in this stage). This evening I’ll throw the stinky things around the kumquat tree. I’ll water the rags every afternoon to keep the smell strong through the night. Every morning I’ll assess my poor kumquat tree – and the other vulnerable trees in the garden. And I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

I sure wish the possum would eat the native trees like they must have done before we humans imported citrus.

Update 3 August: I hung up the soaked rags 2 days ago in the late afternoon. To help with the deterrent I also dumped a watering can full of seaweed solution at the base of the tree and around the general area of the kumquat. Yesterday morning the very bottom of the tree – below the soaked rags – had new chew marks. Not as huge as earlier patches but it seems to me my possum doesn’t have a problem with ocean smells. This morning I didn’t find any new chewings (yet) but maybe he was too busy decimating my sunflower crop. I despair. *sigh*

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About Laura Rittenhouse

I'm an American-Australian author, gardener and traveller. Go to my writing website: www.laurarittenhouse.com for more. If you're trying to find my gardening blog, it's here.
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2 Responses to No Time to Waste

  1. Oh I hope it works, you are certainly doing everything you can think of.

    • I’m afraid it won’t / isn’t working. They are still chewing the same tree – just a bit lower. A spot I drenched in seaweed solution. I’m down to the final option… prayer. I just hope the tree survives and we can all eat from it.

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