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Electrifying a Tree

by Freakendorf
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Freakendorf
#1
Jul25-14, 01:43 PM
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In my search for an effective way to protect my fruit trees from animal predators and birds, I looked at the electric fence option. But these require that the tree be insulated from the hot wires, otherwise it will be grounded and become useless. In my case, there's no way to totally insulate the tree and prevent that from happening. But I'm persisting and hoping to find a way to have a tree "defend itself" by either pulsating or steady, AC or DC current, and have it produce electrical shock at the touch - without shorting out. A twist or a trick, or through the employing of a special device or an elaborate scheme, anything that can make that possible.

The challenge is to be able to electrify a mesh wire that's wrapped around the tree, and be able to keep the mesh wire "hot" despite it being touched by all the branches.

We have to remember, these are small fruit trees and everything is in a very tight space and there's no room or possibility for insulation.

Is that possible?

This is a question for someone with deep understanding of electrical circuitry to answer and come up with a possible creative solution. I'm still hoping for one!

Your comments and insight would be greatly appreciated!
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sophiecentaur
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Jul25-14, 03:41 PM
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Hi
This could be difficult. The only thing I could suggest would be an enormous electrified tent made of conducting mesh with interwoven pairs of conductors with several hundred volts (high source resistance, for safety) across them. I believe the standard way to protect fruit trees is netting and electrification could be 'more fun' but would it be worth all that extra effort? An electric fence around the base of the tree would be good as protection against Walking Theives, though.
MrSparkle
#3
Jul26-14, 12:59 PM
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i'm with sophie. you can't electrify the tree, so you'd need a wire mesh on the outside, which is much more expensive and complex than just some netting for no added benefit.

An alternative is to use drones or automated BB guns, but that is even more sophisticated.

NascentOxygen
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Jul26-14, 11:08 PM
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Electrifying a Tree

Netting can protect against day and night flying marauders, and if of fine mesh, also against the larger moths and hail. Gardening experts report success with very high power ultrasound against climbing fruit thieves (in particular, the Australian opossum). Even if you could safely electrify a tree, that wouldn't protect against birds or bats.
jim hardy
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Jul27-14, 08:15 AM
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For deer one can put a 4 ft fence of diameter slightly outside of the branches.
They'll stand on their hind legs to reach the outside fruit but seldom jump inside for it's too constrained. That'll keep them from eating the bark in early spring. A single insulated wire at the top of that fence ought to help.
Rabbits will also eat the bark - a smaller circle of chicken wire works for them.

My neighbors all eat more deer than beef. But the doggone things seem to know i'm a soft touch , cleaned out my apple crop and trimmed my peach trees back to nubs..

If you find a humane way to discourage raccoons and possums, please tell me.
Baluncore
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Jul27-14, 10:58 AM
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Electrification is rarely a good solution. It may constitute a fire hazard, or not work in wet weather. It is better to drop a strong net over the tree for the critical season only. Animal management will depend on the species of the fruit and of the animal. For better advice on electrification you will need to specify the type of the fruit and the species of the problem animal. Hippopotamus can be a real problem with tomatoes.

The Australian brush tailed possum is primitive and too tough to care about electrification. It fears floppy fences, branches or nets, and will only climb on the stronger branches. Each time a possum climbs a tree it will reapply scent marks to indicate the tree is safe. By spraying a band around the trunk or forks of a tree with dilute phenol disinfectant you will render the possum unable to verify the tree is safe, it will then go elsewhere. Male dogs will scent mark trees in their territory, which will also keep possums away. Sheet metal guards are used to protect power poles from climbing possums. Some people use the same technique to protect larger trees, but trees grow and the guards fall off. I have seen a possum run for the protection of a nearby tree, then climb only as far as the recently lost guard, it then stopped, assuming the tree must be unsafe since there was no scent marking. Being at my shoulder height was quite convenient for me, but not for that possum.
jim hardy
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Jul27-14, 12:18 PM
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yes i took to scent marking my apple tree
but i live in an isolated place where you can get away with it.

farm supply stores sell fence electrifiers that apply modest voltage pulses to defer critters, not much energy but an uncomfortable shock.

http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/stor...trollers_facet
AlephZero
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Jul27-14, 01:26 PM
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Quote Quote by jim hardy View Post
Rabbits will also eat the bark - a smaller circle of chicken wire works for them.
I wouldn't expect chicken wire to work against rabbits unless you bury it deep enough so they can't dig underneath it, as well as jump over it. On sandy soil, you might need two or three feet below ground level.
NascentOxygen
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Jul27-14, 06:20 PM
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Quote Quote by AlephZero View Post
I wouldn't expect chicken wire to work against rabbits unless you bury it deep enough so they can't dig underneath it, as well as jump over it. On sandy soil, you might need two or three feet below ground level.
For bark nibblers, you can wrap the chicken wire netting around the trunk a couple of times, and going higher (and lower) than they can reach. Loosen and rewrap every Spring, I imagine.
Baluncore
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Jul27-14, 07:18 PM
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Rabbits are terrible forward planners and have a poor sense of underground direction. So run the chicken mesh down the fence or trunk, then fold it out along the ground towards the rabbits for about 6”=150mm. Over time the wire skirt will become buried just below the surface. Rabbits will try to dig under the fence, they will start at the fence and hit the wire, then give up and go elsewhere.


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