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CSI Food Forest--The Case of the Disappearing Paw Paw Leaves

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 510
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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--Who ate my paw paw leaves?

--Well clearly the perp was large enough to drag a 2-litre cardboard container to the back corner of the yard and had an interest in chocolate soy milk from Trader Joe's. They made they getaway over the chain link fence. Only one of the paw paws was devoured, the other was untouched; that means they operated alone and reinforces the certainty that it was not an insect or a microbe. There have been reports recently of a lone masked marauder, have you seen this face?

--That's him! that's the masked marauder that ate some of our cat food one time. He--or she--literally came in through the cat door and made off with poor Snowbie's wet food. They got away before we could call the police.

Oh, do you ever think I'll see my poor paw paw leaves again?

--Unlikely. They've likely been chewed to a pulp and undergone gastric processing. Then they've been broken down by enzymes and acids and intestinal bacteria--

--OK, I get the idea, you can stop now.

--and their chemical bonds are being severed by chemical processes, while the unassimilables are being excreted.

--Stop.

--But it's also likely that your paw paw will put out another set of leaves. They've been co-existing with raccoons for thousands of years. They have some resilient capabilities.

--But what if the maurader strikes again? what can I do to protect my poor paw paw?

--That's not my job. I'm just a detective. For the future, you'll have to ask the good people on permies. Here's their card. Have a good night, ma'am.

--Uh, I'm a dude. Not to be overly gender normative, but...

--Like i said, I'm just a detective. Permies.com. And a word to the wise--keep those containers of dumpstered soy milk off your back porch. They're like a billboard advertising to every maurader in the neighborhood.
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 189
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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Until you said "yard" I expected the answer to be a moose! I bought my pawpaw seedlings from David at Elmore Roots who'd had a moose come eat his pawpaw tree!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 510
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Nope, no meese around here that I'm aware of. There'd be news reports. Has anyone had pawpaw leaves grow back after an eating? what scents do raccoons not like?
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 510
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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from homeguide.sfgate.com :

Plants That are Prickly Scrunched up newspaper placed in garden beds also deters raccoons.
Raccoons have very sensitive feet. Because of this, they avoid walking on prickly plants. They will avoid squashes like pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima, U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 3 to 9). They will also avoid cucumbers (Cucumis sativus, USDA zones 4 to 11), oriental poppies (Papaver orientale, USDA zones 3a to 9a), globe thistle (Echinops ritro, USDA zones 3a to 10a), and "Kentucky Wonder" pole beans ( Phaseolus vulgaris, USDA zones 3 to 10).
Plants That Taste Bad Tomatoes are highly acidic, which may be why raccoons don't like them.
Raccoons have delicate palates and avoid spicy food, so planting Habanero chilies (Capsicum chinense, USDA zones 10 to 11) among the other garden plants will give raccoons a few hot surprises. They are also not fond of tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum, USDA zones 2 to 10) or anything else in the Nightshade family, and will leave these plants alone.
Plants That Smell Bad
There are some plants that raccoons just don't like the smell of. Several members of the mint family fall into this category, especially peppermint (Mentha x piperita "Citrata," USDA zones 3a to 9a). The stronger the smell, the better the deterrent, and peppermint essential oil added to the plants will make them smell stronger. They also don't like garlic (Allium sativum, USDA zones 3 to so planting garlic bulbs around garden beds and spraying garlic juice around should keep them away.
Protective Plant Pairings Combining smells, tastes and textures will give raccoons extra reason to leave.
Sweet corn (Zea mays, USDA zones 4 to is a major target for raccoons, probably because corn provides a high-calorie meal. Planting corn in the traditional Native American style, with prickly pole beans climbing the stalk and prickly pumpkin vines surrounding the corn will make them think twice. Grapes (Vitis spp., USDA zones 2 to 10) are also a big target, so spraying them with pepper spray will keep them on the vine.


I think we might start with some mint essential oil for the moment, and transplant some garlics around the trees (there had been onions but they didn't come back much this year)
 
Rebecca Norman
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food preservation greening the desert solar trees
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Back in Massachusetts, I always thought the only thing that would really keep raccoons out of the garbage was combination locks, since they could probably pick a regular lock, but their literacy skills are fairly low.

I have no suggestions for your free-standing pawpaw, I'm sorry. From the above, it sounds like maybe various strong smelling sprays might deter them, but knowing how persistent and clever they are, I wouldn't trust a pepper or garlic or mint spray to keep raccoons out of something really very delicious.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 510
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Thanks. So far so good. I think the chocolate milk was the main event, the paw paw was just something to wash it down with. They're not vegetarians anyway.
 
Ghislaine de Lessines
Posts: 189
Location: Vermont, annual average precipitation is 39.87 Inches
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I do believe that new leaves will grow. They certainly expected their tree to grow back at Elmore Roots.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
pollinator
Posts: 510
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Yay! I thought the same thing when I was deleafing an oak that was a weed in client's lawn--the f--cker will probably grow a new set in a few weeks. Well, if it can do that, why not a paw paw? I only need one of them to be really in good shape anyway, the other can just pollinate, then at least there will be some kind of a harvest.
 
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