How can I keep the raccoons away from my apple tree?

oceanna(7 WWA)May 5, 2013

I live in the Seattle general area. I have a tiny mini-dwarf Fuji apple tree. It's almost like a big bush. It can't be more than about 4.5' tall and some of the branches are almost to the ground. A few feet away is a chain link fence at the back of my property, and beyond that is a greenbelt and raccoons live out there. Last year they climbed over the fence when I was sleeping late at night and stole every single apple off my tree the exact night before I was going to pick them all.

If I fenced the tree in, it would need to have a lid on the fence and that is prohibitively expensive, not to mention it would spoil the looks of my yard. They could chew right through any netting. Metal or wire around the trunk wouldn't work as they can reach the branches from the ground.

Right now it's loaded with blossoms and it looks like it's going to be a bumper crop this fall. That tree can put out an amazing amount of fruit, I mean bags and bags.

Is there anything I can do to discourage those darn raccoons?

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krnuttle

Let me answer your question with a short story of my neighbor.

They hired a pest control service to get rid of the raccoons. The little ones were easy and after a couple weeks, Only the old male was left. After he trip their traps many times, by changing the bait, they finally caught him. The man came out and picked up the raccoon. On the way to the truck, he put the trap down and went on to the patio to talk to our neighbor. As he talked, the raccoon put his paw through the cage mesh, worked a few seconds on the latch and then walked away. (I thought I heard him laughing,) The pest control man taught us a whole new vocabulary.

Good luck in you project.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 7:44AM
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oceanna(7 WWA)

LOL. Oh dear. I really don't want to harm them or even cause them to move because other than that they're no trouble.

I went snooping on the computer last night.

Have any of you tried the water scarecrow? I went to bed laughing after watching the video, seeing the funny pictures, and reading some of the hilarious stories here, and I highly advise a visit to this page if you want some good laughs:

http://www.amazon.com/Contech-CRO101-Scarecrow-Activated-Sprinkler/dp/B000071NUS/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

Would that work on raccoons?

This post was edited by oceanna on Sun, May 5, 13 at 16:01

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 3:35PM
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drrich2(6)

Read a story once about one of those motion-detector sprayers being used on a momma coon. The first time it sprayed her, she fled. The 2'nd time, she destroyed it. You mileage may vary.

Richard.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:50PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I use wire fencing to keep critters away from certain plants. I collect throwaway rolls of wire fencing with a 2 x 4 inch grid. I like it a little rusty, because it's nearly invisible in the garden. I cut pieces, usually about 2 feet high, and encircle the plants to keep out critters like woodchucks. Woodchucks can dig under and climb over a fence that high, except that I cut the fencing so that pokey wire ends stick out of the top and bottom. They are very sharp, so nothing has tried to climb over it. I have to watch out not to skewer myself in the garden, and it's probably not the best method to use if you have little children running around.

Maybe something like that would work around your apple tree?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:50PM
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oceanna(7 WWA)

Terrene, that sounds interesting. No little kids here but dogs. I might try building a chicken wire cage, a suggestion I got on the fruit forum. But I'm sure thinking about the water scarecrow.

Richard, thanks, good to know. I read a lot of the reviews over there and haven't run across anything like that yet, but 'coons are very smart and wiley. Mostly I read it works on them (I did a search) but a few folks said it worked for a while and then the critters got used to it and it didn't work any more. I'm thinking of just putting it out near apple harvest time when I'm almost ready to pick them. I'm not inclined to sit up for several nights with a shotgun across my lap - lol.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 12:34AM
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hogmanay

down south you have three choices to keep racoons away

1- shoot them
2- plan way more than you need leaving enough for racoons and other critters
3- find a dog or three bad enough to whip a wild coon on a regular basis in order to keep them in check

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:45AM
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cearbhaill

I was gonna say, leave the dog/s outside overnight.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 11:55AM
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krnuttle

I believe the most effective way of handling them is to sit back and enjoy their antics. Maybe make puzzled to keep it interesting for them and you.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 4:47PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

A chain-link dog kennel (with chain-link roof) will keep everything out. I have a neighbor who grows blueberries in one with a bird netting over the chain link. She gets every last berry that way. If you really want the fruit...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 6:36PM
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