Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

There is something wrong in the neighborhood, that is with raccoons in the sweet corn.

Nothing could be finer than sinking your teeth into a nice freshly picked ear of peaches and cream, ambrosia, silver queen, cotton candy or any other hybrid sweet corn.  Unfortunately, this time of year, the raccoons seem to know about 2 days before you do when the corn is ripe and ready to be harvested.  So, what you gonna do?  Be frustrated?  Probably.  Be angry? Probably. Thinking of getting even?  Most likely.  Resolve to solve the problem?  Most definitely.  And so you begin the process of figuring out exactly what to do.  Your neighbor tells you this, the farm store tells you that, and every one gives you advice, and in the end, nothing works from the store of home remedies. There are really only two solutions, well three if you just give up and give in, to solving this dilemna.  First, the only repellent you can use on a human edible crop is Hinder.  It comes most often in a quart size for about $24.95 and many outlets on the web sell it.  You need to begin to apply this a few days before you see any activity by the offending animals and it must be reapplied after a heavy dew, rainfall, or watering.  You must keep applying it as long as the animals are coming into the garden. It will not stop all the damage, but it will stop enough, and for a sufficient period of time that you can harvest the crop.  Now the most effective, and long term solution is to use electric fencing, which will work for raccoons, rabbits, ground hogs or woodchucks, cats, dogs or any other type of small vermin.

This is an elaborate set up shown above was designed to keep beaver in the pond and away from ornamental trees.  However, the idea is the same for protecting your garden.  You only need one high tensile wire but two often works better.  The type of wire you see above is the New Zealand type polywire but you can use simple high tensile electric wire. The first wire should be a couple of inches off the ground and the second wire should be about 8" off the ground.  This stops animals from going under, through, or over the wires without getting a good dose of electricity.  The key to being successful is to have a powerful, and I mean powerful, charger, preferably a solar charged type that will put out enough current to give the little critters a good shot when they touch it.  It is essential that the wires to not touch vegetation anywhere, thus shorting out the system.  Do not get some cheap, whimpy charger designed to keep family pets around the yard.  Get a good, high quality, powerful charger designed to keep predators away from livestock because raccoons and other wildlife have lots of hair/fur and a tough skin.  The charger will be the most expensive piece of equipment but it will last for years and years and over time, will pay for itself.  Once the corn has been harvested, simply take down the fence and store until next year. In all the years I have recommended this set-up I have never had one complaint except for the farmer who did not have a powerful enough charger.  Trust me, it works and is the most cost effective method of protecting your garden so you can enjoy that tasty sweet corn, dang I can almost visualize that sweet, buttery taste in my mouth now.

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