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Possum Deterrent – Quassia Chips

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brushtail possum


I quite like possums, they a so cute, I know they can create havoc in the garden and make an awful noise in your roof, but if we can find ways to keep them away from the herb garden and vege patch and out of the roof, it is nice to see them around.

In the bush Possums usually spend their days sleeping in tree hollows, and the nights finding food. As we humans clear and build we destroy their native habitat and their homes. Possums are very territorial, it is hard for them to move to new areas as other possums could already be living in that area and possums will aggressively protect their territory.

Possums need shelter and would make their home in a hollow tree but as there are few trees to take advantage of, possums will reside in your roof space where it is dark and dry, just what possums like.

Quassia Chips
Picrasma excelsa

Quassia Chips

What are Quassia Chips

Quassia chips come from the white bark of Picrasma excelsa a tree that is indigenous to Jamaica and many other islands of the West Indies. The tall elegant trees are not troubled by insects or pests as the entire tree in particular the timber, contains quassin an astringent resin which is a bitter and very effective insecticide, and a safe possum deterrent.

You can buy Quassia Chips from our Online store.


Using Quassia Chips as a possum deterrent

Possums in the roof

If you have possums in your roof you can use quassia chips to repel them. You can simply spread the chips around the area where they are entering the roof as well as sprinkle some throughout the roof cavity.

Homemade Quassia spray is easily made and can also be sprayed around the roof cavity and entry points.

It is also advisable to provide new living arrangements in the form of a possum box so that the possums can have a safe, dry dark alternative place to move to. Possum boxes are quite easy to make at home with simple instructions. or ready made possum nest boxes can be purchased online.

Possum in a box

As a Possum deterrent in the garden

Depending on whether the possums are eating herbs and vegetables that you want to eat or are eating ornamental plants will determine if you spray the actual plant or spray the ground around the plant.

If the possums are eating your ornamental plants you can spray on the leaves, stems and trunk of the plants, you can also do this on fruit trees avoiding any soft skinned fruit that is ready to be picked.

If you are trying to protect your edible herbs and vegetables from being the main course on your local possums menu you would be best to spray to saturate the ground around the plants, if the quassia is sprayed on the foliage of your herbs and vegetables they will not only taste bitter to the possums but also to you!

Apply quassia spray for 5 days in a row. This should be long enough for the possum to realize that this is not the tasty treat that he thought it was. Re apply the quassia spray after rain or watering. If the possum comes back for more repeat the spray for another 5 days.

Supply your possums with an alternate food source, a feeding tray attached to the fork of a tree with a selection of fruit and vegetables on offer a few times a week, this may be enough to keep them away from your herbs, vegetables and flowers.


Possum Deterrent Quassia Spray Recipes

Add 25g quassia chips to 500ml water in a saucepan bring to the boil, turn heat down, cover with a lid and simmer for 30 minutes, strain and add 25ml liquid soap.

This is then diluted 1 part to 3 parts of water before use.

Put in a spray bottle to apply to affected area.

You can also make a spray by soaking the chips in a bucket of tap water, use around 200g of quassia chips to a 9-10 litre bucket of water let them soak for 24 hours before straining off the bitter liquid. This can then be sprayed on the affected area.

Adding 5g of pure soap flakes per litre of spray is an effective wetting agent for the above spray.

Don’t spray it on food crops less than a week before you consume it

There is some good information on this RSPCA website, on other ways to remove possums from your roof and garden.

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posted on August 24th, 2010