Gardentalk – Porcupine protection

Much of the area around the bear viewing platform was under at least two feet of water this evening. This porcupine headed up a tree across from the platforms. (Photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Porcupine climbs up a tree near the bear-viewing platforms at the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center in 2014. (File photo by Heather Bryant/KTOO)

Master Gardener Ed Buyarski calls them giant, spiny tree rats, otherwise known as porcupines.

They usually don’t go after berries and garden vegetables, but their ability to feed and deleaf entire plants and trees could cripple them for years to come.

Buyarski recommends wrapping stove pipe or wide, metal flashing at least 4 feet high around the trunk to prevent a porcupine from climbing up a tree.

Lightweight chicken wire or loosely-hung netting like old gillnet or seine webbing positioned around berry plants should frustrate a porcupine. If you create a light wire fence, then bend the top of the fence outward, away from the plant then a porcupine cannot climb up and over.

Don’t forget to harvest your cherries. Buyarski recommends doing it now before it rains and the cherries split.

Buyarski also reminds us that the second Saturday market is coming up at the Airport Mall.

Listen to the August 10 edition of Gardentalk about porcupine mitigation measures and getting the most out of a dead porcupine, including some marinating and bar-be-cuing tips:

Gardentalk is a weekly feature that airs every Thursday morning on KTOO’s Morning Edition program during the spring and summer. You can sign up for the podcast or ask your own question for gardening help by going to the Gardentalk archive page.

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