Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pretecting Trees from Possum Damage

I posted a cropped version of this photo a couple of weeks ago showing the reflections in the ponds down in the Water Garden.  What I did not show was the ugly tree guards on the trees next to the ponds.  They are hideous but necessary because of the bloody possums which strip every leaf off many trees in spring.  They have killed a number of trees on the property and seem to be in ever-increasing plague proportions.  Until someone figures out a humane way of keeping their numbers under control and developing a possum fur industry or gourmet possum meat products or something we have no choice but to try keeping them out of vulnerable and valuable trees.

These tree guards, which were quickly and cheaply made from old sheets of corrugated iron, seem to be effective.  But it is not a good look, so we are working on better solutions.  The important factors seem to be
  • a guard must be made of something that possums can't climb.
  • a guard must reach high enough so that possums cant jump up from the ground.
  • a guard must be long enough so that possums cant reach from the bottom to the top
  • vulnerable trees must be isolated so that possums can't clamber through the canopy .
We are now making less obtrusive possum guards, which are only 30 cms tall, positioned approximately one metre above ground level.  We are are also exploring other materials such as clear acrylic to further reduce the visual impact.  To see more on The Water Gardens click here

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