When Trees Transport Rodents: How Tall Trees Leave Your Fruit Trees Exposed to Rodents
Like humans, animals love to feast on fruit. Some; however, are more destructive than others. If you awaken each morning to find that your fruit trees have been stripped of fruit, leaves, and flowers overnight, there might be a nearby rodent infestation. You can take steps to deter rodents, such as removing falling fruit from under trees, placing netting around the trunks, and placing traps in the vicinity but pests can get around these obstacles.
One such way that rodents can bypass your security measures is to use surrounding buildings, fences, and trees. Trees that tower over your fruit trees provide rodents and marsupials with a safe shortcut to the bounty of your fruit trees. If, despite your best efforts, your fruit trees are being constantly attacked by rodents, and there is a tall tree or two in the vicinity, the attacks may be coming from above.
Roof Rats Nest in Trees
Rats love to feast on fruit. They are especially partial to citrus fruits like limes, lemons and grapefruit as although rats produce their own vitamin C, they have been known to seek other sources.
Because roof rats (Norway rats, black rats) can leap 4 feet horizontally, and double that when leaping from above, tall trees in the vicinity of your fruit trees provide them with a safe and convenient shortcut.
Mice Traverse Trees
Although they don't tend to live in trees, mice are extremely accomplished climbers and jumpers. They use the branches of mature trees to access fruit trees and the roofs of nearby houses.
Possums are Also a Threat to Fruit
Although they are technically marsupials, possums are just as adept, if not more so, at traversing trees to reach fruit and roofs, as rats. Although both brushtail and ringtail possums are abundant in Australia, they are protected under the Wildlife Act. This makes dealing with them even more difficult than rats as they can neither be trapped nor poisoned.
Prune or Remove Tall Trees to Save Your Fruit
If your fruit continues to be decimated by rodents and possums each year, you may have to sacrifice at least some of your tree to ensure your fruit is safe from gnawing teeth. If you choose to prune your tree, an arborist can help you to strategically and safely manage the pruning of your tree for best results.
One final method of keeping your fruit trees safe from agile pests is to completely cover your trees with knitted mesh netting. Ensure that such netting has a smaller mesh size to deal with both rats and mice, and that the netting is taut to prevent animals from getting trapped in the material. With the use of netting and carefully selective pruning, you may be able to enjoy the benefits of your trees and fruit trees without worrying about fruit pests.