Keeping possums off fruit

Patricia BoltBusselton Dunsborough Times
Western Ringtail Possum’s love fruit trees.
Camera IconWestern Ringtail Possum’s love fruit trees. Credit: Michael Wilson/WA News, Michael Wilson

Possums love fruit trees. In urban areas where much of the native forest has disappeared, fruit trees can be irresistible to Brushtail and Western Ringtail possums.

As much as possums love introduced fruit trees they are not beneficial to them. So what can we do to keep possums away from our fruit?

Transplant. Move the tree to an area that’s not part of a possum highway and away from a fence.

Pots. A great way to grow your fruit trees. There are some very good dwarf varieties available now. For small gardens they’re the way to go.

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Sprays. The most effective are homemade sprays such as garlic (1/2 cup of cut garlic to 2 litres of boiling water, soaked overnight) However, they are generally ineffectual during winter.

Covering. If you have a mature tree that can’t be transplanted this is the best option. Use poly pipe as a frame and tie over 70 per cent in light-duty shade cloth. Possums, birds and bats get trapped in traditional bird netting. The poly frame moves when jumped or climbed on and possums don’t like this.

Smelly zone — blood and bone is best here. Keep in mind you’re not the only one smelling this. If you have close neighbours it may not be the best option. Use a stocking and fill the bottom with blood and bone, then hang it in the tree. It will start to rot and the wildlife won’t like it.

Plant local native plant species on fence lines as a healthy alternative to European options.

If the fruit eating continues it may not be possums but rather rats at work. Use only traps or sonar for rats as baits kill more than rats.

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