How to Get Rid of Possums in Your Garden: 14 Methods That Work
Possums, also known as opossums, are small to medium-sized marsupials that are found all over the world. There are over 60 species of possums worldwide. They don’t usually live in large cities, but you can find them in suburban areas and even rural areas looking for food. They are nocturnal animals and are mostly active at night. Being omnivorous, their diet consists of fruits, vegetables, flowers, insects, small mammals, reptiles, and birds.
While these animals may be useful in controlling certain pests, such as cockroaches, rats, and snakes, they can also be a nuisance. Possums are known to dig up lawns in search of food, can cause damage to fruit trees and gardens, dig up flower beds, eat fruits and vegetables, and raid garbage cans. They also carry diseases like leptospirosis, which can be passed on to humans. They can also make loud noises at night, which can be disruptive.
If you have possums in your garden or yard and want to get rid of them, there are a number of methods that you can use including trapping, repelling, and using deterrents. Read on to find out more about how to get rid of possums.
The 14 Methods for Getting Rid of Possums in Your Garden
1. Discourage Them From Climbing
Possums are agile climbers. They have sharp claws they use to climb trees, fences, and even buildings. So, the best way to keep them out of your yard or garden is to make it challenging for them to ascend plants or structures.
One way of doing this is attaching chicken wire or metal screening around trees and other structures. You can also wrap aluminum foil around branches to create a smooth surface—possums cannot grip a smooth surface with their claws.
2. Prune Trees That Possums Eat
Possums like to climb trees with the help of lower branches as they ascend. These low branches give them access to higher ones where they can eat the fruits and the tips of branches or entire leaves off a tree before moving on to another one.
Possums cannot jump higher than 2 meters. Trimming the lower branches will make it hard to climb up into the tree’s canopy.
3. Install Netting on Fruits and Tree Bushes
If possums are climbing your fruit trees and bushes and eating the fruit, try netting around the trees and bushes.
Netting is lightweight, so it won’t weigh down your bushes, but if you live in an area where it snows heavily in the winter, ensure that your netting doesn’t get covered with snow or ice.
Possums are also attracted to fruit and sweet smells. Another way to prevent them from climbing into your yard is to pick up fallen fruit and keep the area around trees and bushes clean.
4. Install a Greased PVC Pipe at the Top of Your Fence
Possums are great climbers. So, it’s crucial that your fencing has enough height to stop them from climbing over it. One way of doing this is installing PVC pipe around your garden or yard. Ensure it runs horizontally around the top of your garden fence.
PVC pipe is greased with a lubricant that gets slippery when wet. To create an effective barrier, attach the ends of the pipe to several posts around the garden. Then, secure it in place with wire or string. As possums try to climb up the pipe, their feet will slide down.
5. Wrap Vegetables and Fruits
If you have fruit trees or vegetables in your yard, protect them by wrapping them using cloth bags when they start to ripen until harvest time. You can cover each fruit separately. Besides using cloth bags, you can use old plastic plant pots to cover your ripening fruits.
6. Enclose Your Garden Bed
Possums love to dig up gardens and eat crops such as corn, potatoes, and tomatoes. If you have a small garden bed, you can enclose it with chicken wire or another sturdy material, such as wire mesh. Create a complete enclosure (the sides and at the top). Ensure the chicken wire or wire mesh you’re using doesn’t have large holes that possums can enter through. Your plants will still enjoy plenty of sunlight. However, it may make tilling your yard challenging, but it helps keep possums away.
7. Obstruct Entry Points
Possums will try to find openings anywhere they think there might be food available for them. The best way to keep them out is by blocking all entry points. Use permanent covers to block openings where possums can pass through into your yard. You can use pieces of wood.
When covering, make sure that possums aren’t already in your garden. If you trap them inside, they’ll cause more destruction to the plants in your yard. If you don’t know where possible entry points are, inspect the garden at night when they are likely to come out of their dens to find food.
8. Use Commercial Possum Sprays
Commercial possum repellents contain chemicals that smell repulsive to possums. So, they will stay away from your garden permanently.
You can buy one from a garden store or make your homemade repellent using several natural ingredients, including peppermint oil, cloves, rue, garlic powder, or red pepper flakes mixed with water in a spray bottle.
9. Apply Quassia Chip Spray
Quassia chips are dried pieces of the bitter bark from the quassia tree. They are known for their strong scent. Also, they act as an effective repellent against possums and other pests like rats, mice, and squirrels. Although these chips smell bad, they’re safe for people and pets. Quassia chips are available at many garden centers or online stores.
Just put 100 grams of quassia chips in 2 liters of water. Then, heat them for about an hour. After that, mix in 1 tablespoon of detergent. Use this mixture to spray on the plants the possums eat.
10. Use Predator Urine
Possums are afraid of their natural predators, such as coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. The smell of predator urine will make the possum think there is a real threat nearby. So, it will avoid that area. Predator urine scares possums away without harming them.
You can get predator urine from a plant nursery or a hardware store nearby.
11. Install Noise-Creating Devices
Possums also have excellent hearing. You can use this to your advantage and erect noise-making devices around your garden to keep them away at night. You can use plastic bottles, wind chimes, or noisy bells. These items can make noise when the wind blows past them, scaring away possums.
12. Construct Scarecrows
Scarecrows are effective at keeping possums away from a yard. Possums have poor vision, so they rely on their sense of smell, hearing, and sight to detect prey and predators.
By putting up a scarecrow in your yard, possums will think there’s an intruder in the garden. So, they won’t come close to your yard during the night when searching for food.
13. Use Lighting Deterrents
You can scare away possums from your garden using lights that shine brightly at night, such as flood lights or spotlights. You can buy motion-activated lights if you don’t want bright lights shining in your windows all night. They’ll turn on automatically when they detect movement nearby.
The best thing about these lights is that they only come on when needed. So, they’ll save you money on electricity bills as they keep unwanted pests away from your garden during the night.
14. Trapping Techniques
Trapping is among the effective techniques for getting rid of possums. There’s one humane way of trapping possums, and that is using a cage and bait. Place the cage on the ground where there’s possum activity. You can bait the cage with peanut butter and other food items that possums like to eat.
The cage should be large enough for the possum, and the entrance should be built in a way that the possum cannot escape from it once it enters. Once the possum has entered this cage, you can call animal control to come and remove it.
Possums are clever animals, so you must be inventive when removing them. Try some of the more inexpensive or straightforward solutions in this handy guide. In the end, getting rid of possums is a tricky task, but it’s not an impossible one. The key is to approach the issue from every angle.
Don’t wait for the situation to get out of hand. If you find possums are attacking plants in your garden or yard, get rid of them before things go wrong. As long as you keep your yard clean and organized, it minimizes the chances of possums showing up in the first place. Should that happen, you now know how to deal with it.
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