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Pesky Porcupines

Posted by Ben Applegate 
Pesky Porcupines
February 18, 2013 03:37PM
When I first saw the damage to our young trees, my heart sank. Scaffold limbs pendantly hanging from the trunk, attached by a fraction of the former wood fiber. Other branches cliped clean and prostrate on the ground. At first it was the leaves they were after but obviously the fruit would succumb as well. Interestingly they had their favorites, honeycrisp and empire at the top of their list. After a sporting neighbor took care of a few I thought things might improve. This past August, it started again with the leaves and interestingly on the very same mutilated honeycrisp trees from the year before. Our empires which had set a small crop the year before were without fruit (spring frost damaged flower buds) and did not see much browsing, but our Liberties did. Our fencing system (polyproplyene mesh) designed to keep out deer, which it has done well is now riddled with holes from porcupine. I decided to put out traps at the various openings and caught eleven this fall. It seems that we are rich in porcupines or maybe there is some kind of fisher deficiency. I have investigated putting in a metal livestock fence in combination with some electric but am put off by the cost. If you have any deterrent strategies for porcupine please let me know.

Eden Orchards
Zone 3 in Vermont

Eden Orchards
Zone 3 in Vermont



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2013 03:40PM by Ben Applegate.
Re: Pesky Porcupines
March 26, 2013 12:41PM
Porcupines found some of our trees also, this past fall. Interestingly, only Liberty was eaten, surrounded by a large varieties of others which were untouched. They returned on several occasions, but only to these trees. I tried a large havahart trap, which of course didn't work. Capsaicin may work, which I am going to try on the Liberties. The University of Nebraska did a serious test :

PORCUPINE DAMAGE AND REPELLENT RESEARCH IN THE INTERIOR PACIFIC NORTHWEST University of Nebraska - Lincoln
DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Raising fishers might work.
Re: Pesky Porcupines
March 26, 2013 09:26PM
rodents hate caster oil , especially on their feet that they have to lick clean.... same family?? Give it a try ..? Tell me how it goes ..
Re: Pesky Porcupines
September 09, 2015 02:09PM
We've put sheet metal cones around pear trees that they love... namely Southworth and Patten... and a few others.
then a full three foot horizontal disc around them for the trees that have branches low enough for a big porcupine reach and climb. yes they were going up, chewing off a branch and then coming down to eat the unripe fruit.
What kind a trap did you use Ben?

Morninglory Farm
Zone 3b* in Ontario
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