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Rich Z's Blatherings Since Connie and I have retired the SerpenCo business, topics here will focus on topics of a more personal and general nature.

Bamboo shoots - 2018
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Old 03-12-2018, 05:29 PM   #1
Rich Z
Bamboo shoots - 2018

I think the shoots for the Phyllostachys vivax bamboo is coming up early this year. Connie first spotted a few a couple of days ago when she was running down compost to dump among the big bamboo grove. Now I'm seeing at least a dozen poking out of the ground already. I had planned on putting the hunting blind out before the shoots came up in order to try to wipe out as many squirrels in the area as I could before they could get a chance to destroy those new shoots. But so much for that! I thought I had another month to go before we would be seeing new shoots.

I guess I'll be putting out the blind this week, even though I haven't seen any squirrel damage yet. Maybe they weren't expecting the shoots this early neither. But I seriously doubt they won't be showing up sooner or later. Last year I had to kill around 15 (confirmed kills) of them, and there were still more chewing up the bamboo when I had to take down the blind because Connie and I were going away for a bit. In previous years it was only one or two problem squirrels, and once I killed them the problem stopped. But last year was REALLY bad for the bamboo, as the squirrel population seemed to have exploded over the Winter months.

I had to get a new squirrel rifle as my Remington 597 in 17HMR exploded on me. Come to find out that Remington has had a recall out on the gun for years, but I never heard of it. In any event, I sent the gun back to them, and while waiting for them to send me a bolt action (ugh) Marlin as a replacement, I bought a semi-auto Savage model A17 in the meantime. Sighted in the gun yesterday after mounting a scope on it, and I think it will do the job nicely.

Honestly, I don't really like killing squirrels, but the declared war when they started tearing up my bamboo. You just don't mess with my bamboo. If they would just leave it alone, they would be welcome to stay, but they made that choice, and there have been consequences to pay.

Anyway, took some pics of the new shoots coming up. Still trying to get the hang of getting the most out of that 15mm to 30mm lens I got recently.













 
Old 03-14-2018, 05:17 PM   #2
Rich Z
Got more bamboo shoots coming up in this particular grove, but so far not seeing any damage from squirrels. Maybe the big hawk we've had hanging around here lately has chased the squirrels off.

I'm going to be putting out the hunting blind tomorrow anyway, just in case, however.

If the squirrels start in on those bamboo shoots, I want to be able to get out there on guard duty against them as quickly as I can.
 
Old 03-14-2018, 07:23 PM   #3
Twolunger
Have you ever tried using hawk or owl decoys in the bamboo grove? Wonder if that would deter the squirrels?
 
Old 03-14-2018, 08:26 PM   #4
Rich Z
No, haven't tried that method. Probably worth a try, but the problem could be just the extent of the bamboo grove I'm trying to protect. I would probably need a half dozen or more of them, and from what I have read, I would have to relocate them every few days to keep the squirrels from getting used to their being there. Honestly though, squirrels are pretty smart, and I would think that this wouldn't work for very long before they figured out they weren't going to get hurt by the fake birds.

I tried a couple different types of liquid repellents that I sprayed right on the shoots themselves as well as all around them. One was specific to squirrels, and the other was a general animal "Repels-ALL". Neither of them worked at all. I tried a pepper spray one year, but unfortunately I got downwind of it, and even with just barely a whiff it about took ME out. My windpipe just literally snapped shut. That is some nasty stuff!

Years ago I spoke to a biologist I worked with at FWCC and asked her about how to deal with the squirrels. She told me that nothing works short of killing them. They learn very quickly to stay away from traps in very short order, which I also found out via personal experience. I was only able to catch only one squirrel, and all the rest knew then to stay away from it.

It's a shame, as I actually enjoyed having the squirrels around up to the time they decided that my biggest bamboo was really good eatin'. I have lots of smaller types of "fishing pole" bamboo that they could eat their fill of, but no, they want my Phyllostachys vivax. So war it is.
 
Old 03-14-2018, 10:32 PM   #5
Twolunger
My son gave me a Dragon Fruit cactus, which is supposedly a fast grower. Every time it sends up a vine the rabbits chew it off. I have my own war going on here. LOL. I gave him a couple starts off mine to plant in his yard and the rabbits got to his also. I was over there yesterday and he has a mass of chicken wire protecting his cactus. Rather unsightly, but it is protective.
 
Old 03-15-2018, 04:10 AM   #6
Rich Z
Yeah, nature and the great outdoors is all just a seemingly wonderful thing until you find it in your underwear or into things and places you really don't want it to be. Seems I'm always fighting something around here. Whether it is squirrels into the bamboo, raccoon and possums into the bird feeders and then into the fruit trees when the fruit is ripe, bears in the bird feeders, or just darn fire any mounds popping up underfoot (sometimes literally), nature up close and personal isn't as warm and fuzzy as it seems from afar. And that isn't even considering the mosquitoes and yellow flies that can make all the difference between a pleasant walk on our paths, and an arm flapping run back to the house as quick as we can muster. But would I REALLY want to live in some place like downtown Baltimore or New York?
 
Old 03-15-2018, 04:18 AM   #7
Shiari
something I used to stop my dog chewing on stuff to great effect was wasabi paste. Dilute it with a little water and brush it on. Don't know if it will work, but it might be worth a try.
 
Old 03-15-2018, 10:23 AM   #8
Twolunger
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiari View Post
something I used to stop my dog chewing on stuff to great effect was wasabi paste. Dilute it with a little water and brush it on. Don't know if it will work, but it might be worth a try.
I'll have to research that product. My little dog recently had stitches and I didn't want her licking the stitches out. The vet gave me an inflatable collar, which the dog hated, thinks she was being punished. The vet sprayed something called bitter apples on the wound, stating that dogs don't like the taste. Nobody told my little dog, she loved the taste.
 
Old 03-15-2018, 10:27 AM   #9
Shiari
I wouldn't put wasabi around a wound. It's the super hot green stuff you get with sushi. My dog also liked bitter apple, but the wasabi made him nauseous. He'd run from me if I brought sushi home.
Regarding your dog, Just keep the collar on. She'll get over it after a few days.
 
Old 03-15-2018, 01:19 PM   #10
Rich Z
The problem with something of that nature is that the bamboo shoots grow so quickly that new, untreated, areas of the shoot would be quickly exposed, which would mean I would have to be out there in the grove at least every other day to re-apply the repellent. Spraying the shoots was bad enough, but I fear having to brush something on would be extremely labor intensive. The squirrels seem to prefer the actual tips of the bamboo shoots, but are not at all opposed to chewing in through the sides as well. Which, of course, will normally kill the shoot. I've seen them leap over from a nearby pine tree to get at the tip of a shoot 20+ ft tall and 5 inches in diameter, chew on it, and have that shoot die back as a result.

Truth be known, as is the case in most instances of a problem, eliminating the actual causative agent is usually the best solution.

Which reminds me, I want to put out the hunting blind today.
 

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