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porcupine damage ?

Posted by Peter Drevniok 
porcupine damage ?
October 02, 2018 05:00PM
Hi,
I believe I have a porcupine problem on some of my 5 year-old trees.
I have started trapping but have only caught racoons so far. The damage is severe ie the bark has been stripped quite extensively
for about 12 inches in places but never compelety around the the whole circumference of the tree.
I am wondering what I need to do for the trees - other than catching the culprit(s).
Thanks.

Peter Drevniok, Wakefield, Qc, zone 4
ps: I will try to attach a photo but no: I have no idea how to attach from picasa
Re: porcupine damage ?
October 02, 2018 05:28PM
The "gospel" is that if the damage exceeds one-third, (or one-half) of the circumference, you should place several bridge grafts across the damaged area.. Slit the bark above and below, cut lengths of green wood, (and it really doesn't matter what the actual source is, (as long as it is apple wood)). Cut oblique slices off each end, making the graft slightly longer than the distance to be bridged, so that the graft jams in place. Drive a little brad in top and bottom, and slother something on to stop it drying out, (tree wound dressing, Doc Farwells, beeswax, roofing tar).
Now, my success with this personally is about 50%. It is normally done in spring - I have no idea what happens if one attempts it in the fall, (might be best just to leave it until next spring, maybe slother some Doc Farwell's on the exposed bark edges for now...)

What say wiser minds?

Broomholm Orchard
Zone 5b in Nova Scotia
Re: porcupine damage ?
October 02, 2018 06:46PM
Porcupines are most active after dark. Take a good light and a shotgun and kill every one you see !

Brampton Lake Orchards

Zone 4a Upper Michigan
Re: porcupine damage ?
October 02, 2018 08:36PM
Yes, they are quite bad.
And the worst is that they are more interested by the wood than by the fruits - which means they destroy branches, and this is more serious damage than simply fruit loss (as racoons or squirrels cause for example).
I have noticed they mostly go for wood of bittersweet varieties. This is quite interesting as it means the wood from those varieties would have a different taste!
I have often seen them in trees during daytime - but mostly by end of afternoon, so they are not exclusively nocturnal.
I can't see any other option than killing them, unfortunately.
Next year, I might try to wrap around the truncks of their favorite trees something that would prevent them from climbing - like some sheet metal for example, or maybe a crazy carpet. I need to look into that.
Claude

Jolicoeur Orchard
Zone 4 in Quebec
Re: porcupine damage ?
October 08, 2018 03:40PM
Hi everyone,

I caught the (or one of the) culprits yesterday. I hope that will stop the damage for this year but I'm sure they may be more.
I will continue trapping but also invest in a powerful flashlight. The damage was on the biggest of the trees (avg 6-7 years old not 5) and
they were mainly russets (Pomme Gris, Golden and Roxbury Russets - all my favourites of course. I will put some tree paste
on and will investigate bridge grafting. Thanks all for the info.

Peter Drevniok
Wakefield, Qc
Re: porcupine damage ?
October 11, 2018 02:17PM
Porcupines do eat apples. They prefer some varieties over others. In my orchard, they really went after water sprouts in late summer/early autumn, on apples and Asian pears.
Re: porcupine damage ?
October 11, 2018 03:39PM
We have had a horrible porcupine year here. They not only destroyed this year's pear crop but next year's as well. We tried all the humane methods first but in the end, a rifle is what helped. Good luck! And yes, they are now eating apples too which is painful in such a low yielding year.

5 Star Nursery and Orchard
Zone 5, Brooklin, ME



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/11/2018 03:49PM by Molly DellaRoman.
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