Chewing On Bamboo Part 3

Tips of bamboos stakes chewed on.With the tips of the bamboo stakes being chewed on, my mind starts working on solutions to our elk teething problem. I had to first break it down into easy points.

  • The deer and elk, but mostly elk, seem to be drawn to the stakes, it may just be a new game for them or a new smell/sensation for them to investigate by chewing.
  • Once they have a good grip on the tip of the bamboo it is easy to pull it out of the ground.
  • Since the bamboo is woven through the fabric of the cage, pulling out the bamboo also pulls the protective cage off the tender seedling leaving the baby tree exposed to the creatures.
  • Our attempts at noise and movement several times of the day does nothing to deter the critters from moving into the area between our laps or during the night.

My same group of think-tank people that had given me wonderful opinions about different noisemakers threw out suggestions that I could use to harass the unwanted guests and came up with ideas for me.

  • One offered using cayenne pepper. Now, I thought, she may be on to something, I use cayenne pepper in the garden to keep pests from my vegetables but would have to mix with flour or cornstarch so it would stick to the seedlings seemed like it would be prohibitive over the patchwork sections totaling 5 acres and the forest creatures may be more attracted to the flour or cornstarch than be repulsed by the pepper.
  • I had a suggestion to sprinkle coyote urine around the forest. I see a couple of problems with that, the biggest one being collecting the stuff and then being the one to distribute it. Enough said about that.
  • Camping in the woods was thrown out because it will take several years for the seedlings to get established and I don’t have that much desire to give up the pleasures of civilized living or have tough enough friends to do it for me.

Something about the pepper idea kept bouncing around in my head. Bamboo stakes and plastic cages infused with pepper seemed downright plausible but that would need to take place in the manufacturing process, I am needing a solution now.

Solution, I thought, that is what I need. A liquid something (not urine) that would not harm the plant but disgust the animals that wandered close.

dish detergent and TapatioI had a bottle of dish detergent with only about a half cup left in the container and a quarter bottle of hot sauce sitting in the fridge.

My thought was to mix the two and use the squirt bottle to distribute the concoction on the bamboo stakes. I was afraid that if I just used the hot sauce, the little drops would not shake directly onto the bamboo and I would end up spicy-er than before I went into the woods, the detergent would make the hot sauce thick and adhere to the stake.

My hair-brained idea is now in its first live trial period. I have spiced all the bamboo stakes in a test plot, and in the rest of the patches throughout our replanting spots I have spiced each of the stakes that had been disturbed by critters over the last couple of weeks. Stay tuned for upcoming results.

This post is linked to Chewing On Bamboo Part 1 and Chewing On Bamboo Part 2 for the whole story.


One thought on “Chewing On Bamboo Part 3

  1. You may be on to something. Tabasco on thumb-sucking toddlers is an old (but probably not approved) method of stopping this habit. Hot sauce on bamboo makes sense. Have you thought about oil instead of dish soap in case the dish soap washes off too easily. If you have basal spray oil or dormant spray oil hanging around the farm, that might do the trick. I wonder what stories the elk are telling around their bedding places at night about the crazy humans. I also wonder if your bamboo stakes came from near the ocean, making them salty and tastier than most. Good luck.

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