We’ve had an influx recently of people asking ‘How do I stop the local possum from eating all my plants’ and ‘How do I keep possums out of my garden?’ To this, we say ‘Lucky you!’ Believe us, the Nursery has its own fair share of pesky possums trying to eat up the herbs and veggies in the night – in fact, you’ve probably seen the nets and covers we place over the plants to protect them – and we’ve always considered ourselves extremely lucky to have wildlife in a highly suburban-industrial area. Just because we’re all lucky, doesn’t mean we can’t protect our plants!
The ’why’ is the first thing to consider when dealing with pests like possums: acknowledge that we live in a society that idealises suburbs filled with fence-to-fence grass backyards. This often forces wildlife like possums to get creative with where they live and what they scavenge. Thus, if you notice possums sleeping in your gutters and eating your lemon trees, then they probably have nowhere to go and are very desperate. Of course, we want our lemon trees to survive too! In these situations, instead of trying to get rid of them, think of the permaculture principles and remember that it is easier to work with the environment than against it. For enviro-friendly possum prevention methods, try out some of the following – and remember: everyone’s garden is a little different, so you may need to mix and match a couple of different options.
Make a homemade mix of chilli, garlic, tea, or lemon to spray onto the affected plants– there are plenty of quality online recipes.
Fence off specific areas or cover plants in mesh (ensure you use bird and bat safe netting!)
Grow citronella or garlic plants amongst the affected plants–garlic chives, leeks, and citronella geraniums are all good choices.
Offer them alternative options
Provide a tray of fruit and salad scraps – like putting out bird seed.
Select a plant that will act as a gift (or sacrifice) and place it near the possum’s trail and allow them to eat it.
Gift them a nesting box! Place it in the garden away from the plants they eat and/or near the area they are currently sleeping in.