September is fast approaching. The berries are almost finished for the year and bears begin to look for other food sources. Apples and other fruit bearing trees begin to ripen, and can potentially become a food choice for hungry bears if not managed correctly. Such fruit can attract bears to our backyards which can increase the potential for bear habituation and human-bear conflicts. Attracting bears to your yard can also result in bears obtaining other human foods such as garbage, pet food, compost, or bird seed.
The responsibility to manage fruit trees and wildlife sustainably falls to us. We plant fruit trees primarily for the beauty of the blossoms in the spring and to eat the sweet fruit in the fall, but we need to manage these trees responsibly. Phone calls to the Conservation Officer Service regarding conflicts with bears are on the rise in B.C. Taking a proactive approach to attractant management is a critical step to sharing our landscapes with wildlife safely and sustainably.
So what can we do?
– Pick fruit and allow it to ripen indoors or pick daily as it ripens. Do not allow windfall to accumulate on the ground.
– If you do not want the fruit, prune the tree vigorously to prevent blossoms or spray spring blossoms with a garden hose to knock them off.
– If you would like to make the fruit available to others, contact a local fruit exchange program, consider calling Sooke Food Chi or a fruit tree gleaning group to pick unwanted fruit, or donate to the food bank.
– Consider using electric fencing to protect your fruit trees.
– If you no longer want to manage your tree, consider replacement with a native, non-fruit bearing variety.
– Berries should be picked as they ripen.
– Consider replacing your berry bushes with native, non-fruiting varieties if you do not want the fruit.
WildSafeBC Coordinator CRD Region
WildSafeBC is an educational program that encourages efforts by all to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.