Author Topic: Protecting Avocados  (Read 406 times)

voyager

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Protecting Avocados
« on: October 09, 2021, 09:19:02 PM »
In the past we've had rats climb our avo trees to reach the fruit.
Then, they would gnaw small areas on the fruit hanging from the tree, looking for ripe fruit, damaging a very high percentage of them.
I lost a lot of avos to rats gnawing the fruit.

I tried several things to control them, almost all were very ineffectual.
Curling and placing 12" bands of sheet metal around the tree trunks and cutting weeds back so they can't be climbed to reach the canopy seem to be doing the job.
It only needs to be done as the fruit nears ripening and becomes edible.
Plus, cutting their food availability has cut the rats' numbers drastically.

So question: 
The bands are 12" aluminum sheet roof flashing, cut to length and manually curled to snugly fit around the tree's trunk.
They are not nailed so that they can expand to accommodate growth of the trunk, and not strangle it.
I put them on 3 grafted, double trunk trees 1-1/2  years ago. 
So far, my only concern is the bands being on the tree trunks for long periods and any potential damage they might cause the tree.

Is there any need for concern?



 

spaugh

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2021, 12:24:22 AM »
its not a problem long term to keep  thr metal on.  but to reduce the rats you should try snap traps and use several every night and keep killing the rats until the numbers drop to zero.  Usually it only takes a week or 2 to get all of the local rats and get them back in check.  use peanuts in the traps.  the plastic traps work the best and last the longest. 
Brad Spaugh

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2021, 01:32:27 AM »
As Brad said, the plastic ones last longer and are much easier to set... it must hurt a finger a ton more than a mousetrap!

Mousetrap Monday on YouTube convinced me to try these rat traps.

Big Snap E Rat Trap 6 Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0007QKECG/ref=cm_sw_r_apanp_CYsMFm15wMB9B

I set 6 of these out with peanut butter and got 7 in 5 traps. Two in one trap.   I'm near an large open field,  two rows of houses over, and they were having a feast in everyone's backyard.  Peaches,  avocados,  oranges,  you name it.
 
Found a dead rat once, probably poisoned, in the backyard before an owl, cat, or my chickens found it. Poison is not so great.

Be sure to secure the traps or they might walk away... one "disappeared " from the yard and I found another trap near the fence 10 yards away. 

Pat

voyager

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2021, 03:56:01 AM »
I have been battling rats in our avos for  almost 8 years now.
I've used traps, poisons, cats, and so on.
All will work somewhat for a while.
Then, the rats smarten up and they stop working because they avoid them, except the cats.
M'lady feeds them too much.
They only hunt for pleasure, not for food.
They are family not simply working pets.
They need to be hungry to be effective rat deterrents, even though they do get a few.

We live on a clearing in a jungle.
The rats cannot be cleared out.
They move around constantly coming from the jungle and neighbor's lots.
The only way to  temporarily get rid of them is to remove all sources of food.
As soon as they find food available they immediately begin moving back in.
No fruit that falls from the trees  can be left on the ground.
I pickup fallen fruit every  morning and evening.
Since getting this under control they aren't even getting to the fallen fruit.
I'm now even saving the fallen fruit, as I'm beating the rats to them.

Nothing has worked as well as banding the trees and keeping the weeds cut low.
As long as the banding does not harm the trees,  I've found a system that works better than any other I've tried.


 
 
« Last Edit: October 10, 2021, 04:02:06 AM by voyager »

Jack, Nipomo

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2021, 08:58:51 AM »
Have been fighting rats for years, avocado and macadamia mainly.  No poisons due to secondary poisoning of other animals.  I use a 6 ft pole, with a good quality rat trap (metal galvanized or SS, wood deteriorates) and a hook at the top to hang it in the tree.  Baited with a shelled macadamia nut, it is very successful.  However, birds were often caught so the rap is surrounded by hardware cloth with holes to give rats access.  Rats have learned over the years requiring refreshing the bait (mac nuts, nothing else works reliably).  Then they developed the ability to remove the nut from the trap without setting it off.  Now I use a thin wire to wire the nut to the trap.  Now they have figured out how to gently eat the nut leaving the wire intact.  Lots of avocados and macadamias, but they also can enter your attic and/or other structures.  Interesting how they eat citrus (sweet fruit, peel of lemons).  Also have had them girdle a small tree.  Nocturnal habits preclude shooting them, but each morning is trap checking time.  I have about 15 traps in trees (and barn) and can get 3-4 a night at times.  Used to bury dead bodies (rats) but now leave them in single place for other animals to remove nightly.  Game camera shows raccoons and possums, sometime a cat taking them away.  Crow will take one during the day.  Goal is to greatly reduce numbers, they'll win eventually by sheer numbers of reproduction.

voyager

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2021, 03:04:59 PM »
@Jack Nipomo,

At last, a post from someone that has real world experience in dealing with rats in fruit trees.
From your post it sounds as if you are trying to protect at least a small orchard.
We have an acre lot with over 10 fruit trees scattered around it, mostly citrus and avos.
Our citrus are safe unless fruit falls to the ground.
Then, they're ripe enough and  will draw the rats.
They do not climb the citrus trees and damage fruit, not sweet enough for them.

If your avos have smooth straight trunk sections, where the banding can be applied in 12" or more widths.
It'll give unclimbable sections.
That will keep them out, if they can't find another way into the tree.
That's why the weeds have to be kept down.
I may have to take a native Ohia tree out.
It looks as if they may be climbing it to jump into one of the avos to get to the fruit, yet to be determined.

Surprisingly enough, we have no problem with rats on our roof or in the attic area.
We have a rooftop PV installation, so get a frequent check on it.
The rat problems in the house are caused by the cats.
They're so well  fed, they rarely kill the rats, or birds for that matter.
They're toys to be taken home to play with.
We do keep a rat trap behind the fridge for the ones that get away.

I have a tree with knots on the trunk from old branch locations that interfere with installing the bands.
I've considered grinding them off to smooth the trunk, but am worried about possible harm to the tree from the amount of material removed.
If you can make banding the trees work, it could cut your efforts to control the rats to simply picking up newly fallen fruit and cutting weeds.

Jack, Nipomo

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2021, 08:45:28 AM »
Thanks for the suggestions RE: banding tree trunks.  We are on 1 1/2 acres and so heavily planted with fruit and nut trees that the trees touch branches.  Rats simply move from tree to tree.  They don't need to ever touch the ground.  I can identify their favorites (and infestations) by the "chippings" at the foot of the tree.  The orchard is full of mature trees, some about 45 years old.  I have no problem outsmarting the creatures and keeping the population down given enough effort.  However my neighbors readily contribute more tree rats to our property.

voyager

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2021, 04:36:52 PM »
Not sure as to how many trees you have, or the lay of your land.
But, from the sounds of it and my view point, I'd giver serious consideration to thinning the trees.

But then, I only grow for my personal use.
It sounds as if you may be marketing your excess.
All I do is eat a lot of Tangerine and Longan fruit, drink a lot of OJ, snack on a variety of other fruit, and eat a lot of avos, all in season.

I'll freeze excess orange and tangerine juice, excess Longan fruit, then make up and freeze large batches of guacamole for use out of season.
Generally, I gobble Tangerines and Longans from the trees until they're gone.

Best of luck with the rats.

Jack, Nipomo

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Re: Protecting Avocados
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2021, 07:18:54 PM »
As an example, we have over 50 macadamia trees in my variety collection, around 45 avocados varieties in the collection, Number of white, yellow, green sapotes, jaboticabas, not counting rarer fruiting trees all happy on the 1 1/2 acres.  Been collecting over many years and most are mature trees. Started with CRFG when we had around 100 members, Dense plantings are intentional for watering and potential frost protection.  No fruits are for marketing, just a shared collection with others for propagation.  Thinning would make the trees unhappy, and me too.  The rats are a problem, a challenge, but no great loss of fruit nor nuts since the products are not to be marketed.  Our herd of raccoons seem to enjoy the fallen fruits, possums too.  If the rats damaged the trees it would be a serious issue, but they do not.

Again, if they have access to your house or attic (called attic rats, palm rats, tree rats...Rattus rattus) you have a problem.  Our neighbor had them in the attic, heard them at night, put poison up there, smelled the dead bodies for months.  Traps work, are laborious, but make for decent disposal.  Amazon has some fine metal rat traps that will last.

 

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