Possum control?

danielkempMarch 19, 2005

Hi folks,

In addition to going to work, I have spent the last few months trying to get these 2 1/2 acreas looking a little decent and developing a vege garden bed (like Peter Cundall's Patch from Scratch). Planted 1/2 dozen punnets last Wednesday (cabbage, broccoli, beetroot, celery, spring onions, lettuce). Each morning I have been saddened to see the seedlings are being devoured by nocturnal bandits. Have tried snail pellets but they too disappear. Last night, again with torch, I found two possums in my vege patch. I suspect they are the guilty ones. Is this reasonable? I am not game to re-begin my tomato growing trials. The critters devour the leaves of the tiny seedlings and initially leave the stalks. I have a 10M x 5M vege patch. If possums are the problem how can I "manage" them? Thanks all! Daniel

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Possums absolutely hate pelargoniums. If you opened your garden to possum heaven they would devour most things and leave the pelargoniums standing! I have had trouble with them eating my tomatoes so I will companion plant with them next year. This year I made a spray of a handful of pelargonium leaves, boiled in 500 ml water, cooled and strained with a drop of detergent for carrier. Sprayed it on the tomatoes as they ripen and the possums target them - they have ceased and are now going gang busters on the zukes and the last of the summer beans. Obviously you have to wash it off but you'd wash your veggies anyway. There's something in the volatile oil that they don't like. I just have the standard red flowering ones and that in itself is a useful insect deterrent. I also use pelargoniums for companion planting with my cabbages and broc and other greens, where slugs are a problem - slugs hate it too as do caterpillars. I try to live side by side with the wild critters and my solution is to plant more than I need. If I had 2 acres I'd give them their own plot! I heard quassia chips are a deterrent too, not sure if that's the name - a native tree of some sort. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

Hope this helps

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 9:01PM
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Hi Daniel,
Glad to hear things are moving along despite the wildlife intrusions. Short of caging in the veggie patch, you'll have to develop a live and let live attitude. Linda is right. Quassia chips are supposedly a good deterrent. I like the Pelargonium idea too, though caterpillars love mine!!!
Have a look at Green Harvest. They have a good section on deterrents/repellents for all sorts of creatures.
Good luck with it.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2005 at 10:27PM
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Hey Raymondo, it is interesting that caterpillars like your pelargoniums - do you think they are eating them instead of your veggies? I wonder what sort of caterpillars you have - cabbage moth or what? Perhaps they are drawn to them feed and then die? I'd be interested to know your thoughts. If the pelargoniums are acting like a bait it might be worth experimenting some more.


    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 12:27AM
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Thanks very much Linda and Ray. I purchased two pelargonium. Are they different to geranium? If not can I use either? Ray, I thought of building large cage (like shade house but with minimal shade), but wonder if I could get it possum proof. I love having wildlife, but want to be able to grow veges, ornamentals, and I want to grow a "native" border on my property. Hmmm, live and let live is a notion with which I concur, but achieving it is the challenge. Thanks for your help. Off to try my companion planting. Daniel

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 1:30AM
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Daniel, what most people (99.99%) call geraniums are in fact pelargoniums. True geraniums are a different beast altogether, and not common at all. They are not only different species, but belong to different genera! They do, however, belong to the same family, the Geraniaceae. And I agree, live and let live is a lovely sentiment, but I want my veggies, or most of them anyway!

Linda, I don't know if they prefer my "geraniums" to my veggies. They're actually planted in quite different parts of the garden. And I don't know what kind of caterpillar. I just assumed they were yet another heliothis grub. Worth looking into though!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 7:44AM
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Thank you once again folks! I planted my pelargonium next to my replacement cabbages. Alondside them I put some more spring onions...the surrounded them all with lucern biscuits and laid a piece of mesh on top. No problems with any vegetation eaten overnight. HOWEVER, my bird feeder with seed for small wild birds has been demolished...presumably the possums found this easier to devour.

So Linda, for your repellent, do you use the common plant that grows in most old gardens and we grew up calling geranium? Thanks again! Much appreciated both of you.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 4:49PM
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I have posted a recipe for a spray made from quassia chips in the pests and diseases page for anyone who is interested, Dee.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 5:13PM
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I have been looking up the internet for info on quassia chips. I can find little and will ask landscape place today. Are they readily available? Might they be know by alternate, common name? Thanks, Daniel

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 5:17PM
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Hi Daniel

I have caged my vegetable patches and fruit trees. I am not sure about Brissie, but I find the possums eat my garden when there is little for them to eat in the forest surrounding my block of land. They have left my vegetables this summer and have started on my fruit trees in the last two weeks...I now have half a sour cherry, half a quince and two out of three persimmons have been massacred. Other than my fruit trees they seem to like my lavender, onions and parsley and I am wondering if they eat these to get rid of intestinal worms. So I am planning some plantings outside the enclosures to see if that keeps them at bay...Jackie French also suggests copsing a couple of gum trees, because the possums love eating the new leaves...other suggest an electric fence

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 5:24PM
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Thanks Helen,

Do you have pictures of your "vege patch cages"? I have been thinking seriously about that. Trouble is, how many cages can one afford?


    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 6:03PM
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Green Harvest (see link above) have Quassia Chips. They're up Maleny way.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 8:05PM
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Hmmm. This is odd. Alongside the roses whose new growth has been fattening my furry nemesis all summer is a climbing pelargonium. It too gets all its new flower buds chewed.

I had some success with Poss-Off, in that the new growth would get a few days break, but I've also had mornings (immediately following spraying the evening before) where I've gone out to devastation.

I've also tried with no success home-made (intense!) chilli spray and hot English mustard, which burnt the new leaves first time, and was no deterrent plastered on the access fence.

Googling for Quassia Australia sent me round in a circle to here! Someone had good success with chilli powder.

For some reason I can't get this url in the link field:

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 8:16PM
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The cages are make of stakes and robust chicken wire...the cheap stuff they chew through...I am thinking also of added protection of a loose chicken wire overlap that attaches at the top of the fence, that slopes backward, so they cant climb over the top...think prisons, gulags etc...some people suggest a combination of chilli and fish sauce would turn them off...havent tried it yet...

The foresters here are trying to use alternatives to 1080 and they have been disappointed that fox urine didnt deter them...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 11:47PM
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It seems that many folk around here are having trouble with possums. If we find a wildlife friendly solution it could be well appreciated...especially if it is simply and low cost.

I have been thinking of a fairly robust structure like gal pipe and some reinforcing mesh...probably overlaid with chicken wire. Go those foresters!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 12:03AM
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They got me again last night. Even devoured close to the pelagoniums. Physical barrier seems to be the go because they only got the bits they could reach/nibble through the mesh. They have certainly moved the lucern biscuiys around.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 3:08PM
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Poss-Off worked on my geraniums (or pelagoniums, or whatever they are) in the tubs on the upstairs verandah. I sprayed every couple of days for a couple of weeks and they're now untouched. Maybe my possums are easily dissuaded.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2005 at 7:03PM
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Daniel, If you google in
buy quassia chips
and check Australian sites you will find some online suppliers.
Cheers, Dee.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 6:45PM
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Hi everyone,

I just wrote a a few paragraphs, hit preview message and i got lost, having to join this website, as i am new. I'm from Sydney, oz, so what did you guys put for your postcode? It wouldn't accept a NSW postcode so i had to give them the only american postcode i know.....you all know it! 90210!

Anyway, i too am very fond of but very upset with my nightly brushies and ring tails. They must be desperate because i'm on the 3rd floor of a unit complex and only have a humble balcony.

After making the choice to want to grow things rather than admire the possums, i meshed up my tomato pots - very cumbersome and ugly in a small area and as long as the plants stay in their cage, this is the best defence so far.

Then i got the adjoining branches lopped which was brilliant! For 3 weeks only!! :( After returning my exiled indoor plants to the balcony, this morning i awoke to devastation. After a vigil tonight, i caught Mickey (yes, silly me, i named them- ha ha) in the act and found that he has learnt how to climb up the brickwork!!! gggrrrr.

Now what? Help! All i can think of is plastic/metal sheeting on the bricks, so they can't grip but that will be ugly, difficult and probably frowned upon by the neighbours/strata.

I am yet to try the natural remedies and it seems that different remedies work in different areas and for different possums (they are sooo crafty!) Has anyone in sydney had any success?


    Bookmark   April 19, 2010 at 10:45AM
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I discovered (quite accidently, following a 'camp-out' by my young daughter and her friend) that possums are deterred by a kerosene lamp. It must be the smell, because they didn't seem bothered by lights left on.

I continued to hang a lamp in lowest branch of the apricot tree and the possums wouldn't go near the tree.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2010 at 7:59PM
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when you drive along most highways nowadays you see the chainwire fence with the flat tin along the top, that is the sort of fence you need around the garden no top needed so long as there are no overhanging branches.

a fence like that would be a once only build, the tin stop them climbing in from the utside so obviously the tin goes on the outside parameter. you could go the hog and place logs or cement parameter in the ground to attach the bottom of the fence wire to stop other criters like bandicoots, use logs to do same thing, or lay some mesh wire usually chain wire around on teeh round on the outside have it cover about 1 meter outward and up the fence a bit and attached then the digging critters can't get under.

also set up a feeding station away from the garden for the possums have heard this helps leave some old fruit there nightly not a lot.


Here is a link that might be useful: lens garden page

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 3:07PM
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certain dogs work wonders...

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 3:02AM
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Yes, my neighbours have two labradors and NO problems with possums...but then they have no garden to speak of either. :)


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 5:30AM
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Are there possum traps so that they could be relocated to natural bush a few kms away?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 5:55AM
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last year we had possum problems with out beautiful tomatoes we didnt get to eat many of.we got rid of that possum.this year i put lettuce and plenty of all kinds of pepper plants and eggplants onions mellons potatoes cumcumbers. every day for the last 2 weeks a plant or two has been gone fron the bottom to the top. Our tomato plants, eggplants and green pepper plants and basil plants. we got a cheap fence well we waited up that night all night to see how it was getting in and wow, it was a fast procedure. he went groping for a spto to get in around the fence, then he found a spot and bit through the fence and went in to my eggplant , pushed it over with his fat body and cut it with his teeth at the very bottom of the pland and started to drag it away. we were watching and was to stunned to move right away. it got away through another hole he had made as i guess a get away hole. it did take the one with the largest eggplant on it. i was sooo very and still upset over this. we worked so hard to keep this garden good and productive. it hasnt touched my cumcumbers or onions. we have tried to spray plants with store brought animal controls. and home remedys we got off here, and nothing works.i am about to give up. today i tried somthing else. i found some old panels outside and formed a square around the edibles the possum likes to eat , he cant bit through it but unless he can jump 3-4 ft high my garden should be safe. i will let u no if this works or not. signed../frustrated

    Bookmark   June 20, 2011 at 12:04AM
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The same thing just happened to me reaaly upset. Probably gonna go to bunnings and get a fence around it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:46AM
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I have found Possums in my garden many nights when I go out to get some fresh air and when I set up a havahart trap for a Ground Hog I have caught a number of Possums. They just walk into it without any bait (:

I wondered if I should be terminating them because they are bad for my garden but have discovered that they are eating the things that do more damage to my garden. Possums eat slugs, snails, roaches and more. They will even eat a rattlesnake being resistant to the venom.

I have decided to let them live in my yard but have a low electric fence set up for the ground hog that I think I will leave just to keep the Possum honest.

They are coming to my compost so maybe they fill up there and don't need the fresh veggies. I know that the Ground Hog is the one I reserve lead for.

Happy Gardening

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 8:58AM
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Hi folks, I am a newbie residing in South Australia Adelaide Hills. I have been having problems with possums for years & in my search for a solution think I have stumbled onto something.
I read that Possums (being nocturnal) do not like bright light. I was checking out electronic deterrents which some claim to be quite successful, but they are quite expensive ($250 or thereabouts) & were out of my price range, they have motion sensors,noise emitters & strobe lights.
I have a 4000 gall rain water tank beside my house that is framed by trellis & I grow Passion fruit all over it, but every year the possums come in nightly and steal any fruit that is about to change to purple. I have only managed to collect 1/2 doz fruit every year from crops exceeding 250.
I discovered whilst doing guard duty at night with a torch that has a stroboscopic setting that the possums hated being dazzled by it & would vacate fairly quickly but seemed to be very unsure of their footing as the departed through the trees, so I am guessing that the stroboscopic light causes them problems focusing.
I happened to have a battery powered party strobe sitting in a drawer which cost only about $20 to buy.
I set it up on the tank top which is level with my roof & pointed it in the direction of the fruit on the vine.
I can hear when the possums approach because the are very heavy footed on my tin roof. Well sure enough they came to raid the fruit but left abruptly as the strobe was flashing on the targeted fruit, (I also set up an infra red wireless door bell which chimed inside the house when they got within range so I was able to tell when they were there). They were very persistent & kept coming back every 1/2 hour or so but seemed unable to settle down to eat.
I only have one strobe at present and have only been doing this for 3 days (nights) so far but pleased to say that no fruit have been taken since I set it up. The strobe is silent, so no noise pollution & I live on a 3/4 acre block full of trees so the flashing strobe is not visible to my neighbors.
Which may not be the case for others.
I have now ordered a couple more units which are more powerful & will cover all the approach paths (inexpensive strobe units are plentiful on eBay.) I am going to try a "High powered strobe warning light".$37 delivered with full 360 degree coverage designed as a roof mount for cars, which I hope will be even more effective.
They come in many different colors, red,blue,green,amber & white. My opinion is that the white light is probably the most dazzling, & placed above the center of the area to be protected will hopefully deter the possums from coming within at least 10 meters.
I don't believe that it is harmful & it wont drive them out of the surrounding area.
But I might be wrong too!
Any one else tried this before?

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 8:18PM
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