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Fruit trees for wildlife as decoys

 
Ardilla Esch
Posts: 198
Location: Northern New Mexico, Zone 5b
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We are putting in a wastewater treatment and reuse system for our new cabin.  Apparently, the water generated by two fairly conserving people can water about a dozen fruit trees in our climate.

We are thinking about planting several fruiting trees that feed wildlife (and maybe humans occaisionally) so that the wildlife don't go after the apple, apricot, peach, etc. trees so aggressively.

What sorts of trees do you recommend for this purpose?  I'm thinking maybe chokecherry and mullberry, but would like to hear other suggestions.  I'm in zone 5b...
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Some kind of native wild plum? 

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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Location: zone 7
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dont forget nuts, deer and other wild animals love nuts.
 
                        
Posts: 40
Location: Berkeley,CA
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You have some really great ideas for a good place to start with the chokecherry and mulberry and the other two examples are excellent choices too, but there are thousands of things that would be great wildlife food plants.  elderberry comes to mind, buckthorns or many of the Elaeagnaceae species, flowering currants, buffalo berry, and maybe some self seeding plants that produce seed for smaller birds like amaranth or sorghum.  since they would be fed from grey water any annuals would probably not be for human food though
 
                          
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Putting out more wildlife food will just attract more wildlife. 
 
duane hennon
gardener
Posts: 644
Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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I agree with Tinknal

the mulberries i plant to keep birds away from my blueberries just gave the birds a place to perch while they watched the blueberries ripen. they also ate the mulberries. they apparently didn't read the ads for mulberries. but i also like mulberries and have enough to share both with are feathered friends

plant a bunch of stuff you might like and get a cat
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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I have pretty light deer pressure and have LOTS of plants growing around, I am surrounded by deer browse native and otherwise.  They love the apples.  I string deer fence from four pieces of rebar to keep them off choice trees.  It only takes one night and they'll thrash a young tree -- I suspect your decoys + your small orchard may be just an appetizer before the head out for a hard nights chewing.  I am growing a hedge dense and thorny, and trying out other strategies.  I have not heard of any 'decoy' strategy working... particularly as everything else dries out and our cultivated plants stay green and succulent.

I like the bone thread but haven't gone that route yet.
 
            
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Use the african karral system, and build a living thorny hedge around your fruit trees.  Blackberry vines would be good for that, and give you a lot of extra fruit, too.  Let them grow at the same time the fruit trees are growing.
 
Mike Dayton
Posts: 149
Location: sw pa zone 5
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Deer love apples,  you cant change that.  Fence the small trees with a wire fence 4' high and at least 5' diamiter around the trees.  Keep the fence up until the tree is at least 6' tall.  At that point the deer can no longer Top the tree by eating it.  Since you can water several more trees,  why not plant several more of what YOU like.  The Deer will eat some,  and since you have alot more GOOD Fruit,  you can have some too.  Seems like haveing pleanty just makes sense in a Permie world. 
 
Kay Bee
Posts: 471
Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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sweet cherries and crabapples would be other good distraction trees in addition to the mulberry and chokecherry.  elderberries are also attractive to some species of birds.

the biggest thing is timing.  if you are looking for a distraction plant for birds, try and find a variety with the same ripening time.  In general, you'll probably have more trouble with early summer fruit than fall varieties.

If you have bushes like blueberries, netting is the only way to save them unless you have a LOT of bushes.

Deer are a different challenge.  They will eat everything you have if there are enough deer around.  Hard to imagine satisfying them on a small lot.  I would go for more legumes over fruit as the distraction.  Especially clover.  Better yet, put in a fence with clover around it.  Then you can watch the deer (or eat them)
 
maikeru sumi-e
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I've heard that deer will avoid some plants like wormwood and thyme.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/yardandgarden/ygbriefs/h462deer-coping.html
 
Gary Park
Posts: 146
Location: St. Louis, MO
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I just took out two huge mulberry trees.  In the past 2 years I have gotten to eat pretty much all of my tomatoes, blackberries, and strawberries that are all nearby.  This year I won't be so lucky I imagine.  I do kill rodents, but not birds.  The mulberries produced so much for so long that the birds didn't seem to bother the other fruits.
 
Emerson White
Posts: 1206
Location: Alaska
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I'm not going to compare raccoons to Hitler, but I will compare someone who tries to appease them with an offering of fruit to Nevil Chamberlain.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 294
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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Deer will eat about anything if they're hungry. They have their favorites though. They'll eat all of what they like best then move on to the next thing on their list. In my garden, they'll eat all the sweet potatoe vines then all the cantaloupe leaves. If you plant something they like better than what you are trying to protect, you might end up attracting even more deer to your garden. It could work great, but I think it could go either way. I think I'd go with what Mike D said and just plant more of what you like. I'd plant standard sized trees so the deer can't reach the highest fruit. Maybe with the water being an issue that's not a good idea? It doesn't usually stay dry long enough to kill trees here.

Has anyone tried those red lights that are supposed to look like predator eyes? Always wondered if they work. I mostly plant sweet potatoes and cantaloupe inside my privacy fence now
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 614
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Ken W Wilson wrote:Has anyone tried those red lights that are supposed to look like predator eyes? Always wondered if they work. I mostly plant sweet potatoes and cantaloupe inside my privacy fence now

I've never used them, but my guess is that like most deer repellents they would work for about a week and then become ineffective as the deer simply got used to them. Deer are pretty good at just ignoring things they consider routine in their environments. On year, a pair of deer got so used to seeing me in my orchard that I could stand 30 feet away belting out Broadway show tunes without it bothering them a bit. If my god-awful singing can become ineffective at scaring off deer, I wouldn't have too high of hopes for some red lights.
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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