Grapes - protecting them from forest creatures

We live in a forest, so perhaps growing grapes was not a well thought out plan. Nevertheless, we planted 4 vines about 4 yrs ago, and built an arbor to support them. Last year we lost a bit of our harvest and read up that we could protect our clusters by putting them in bags. We had a combo of brown lunch sacks and organza mesh which was purchased later. The brown bags were a bust. They got soggy in the rain, they were hard to close and attach… The mesh bags seems to work ok. So this year, we bought more. It was a bumper crop. I believe we used 125+ bags over these 4 vines. Well. The critters - don’t know if they are squirrels, raccoons, or rats, figured it out. They ran up and over the arbor, loosened the bags, ate the grapes. What they couldn’t loosen, the gnawed the stem till the cluster dropped to the ground where they chewed through the bags and left an unusable mess for us. Grapes don’t ripen when cut off the vine, and the critters were willing to eat them green or mostly green. We lost 1/2 of our crop or more. Yesterday, we cut everything down, separated the gnawed from the ungnawed, the ripe from the green, etc. What remained was precious little edible grape considering how abundantly the vines fruited. It was very disheartening. So I implore you - if you’ve grown grapes in forested settings with these type of creatures rampant, is there a better way? TY.

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My deepest condolences. Your forest critters appear a notch smarter than average, and very determined. I bagged my figs too, but the tiny ants managed to get in there anyway.
I don’t suppose there’s a chance you can build a metal greenhouse-like structure around them, is there? Like the big enclosed porches people in Florida have a round their pools, only with hardware cloth instead of screening.

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In my experience it was/ are raccoons, foxes, and skunks. A bear or two.

Can you see poop?

You are providing a food source…is the.cost of prevention worth it?

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No can’t do that. With the forest all around, it’s hard for them to get enough sun now all exposed. It’s also in a corner of our yard that has a small footprint.

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There’s no bears in this area. It could be the rest. Yes, sometimes poop on the ground under. Looks closer to raccoon poop then anything. IME, everyone who grows any food for their own use, and has any animals/pests/fungus makes some effort to prevent attrition and increase their crop. So yes, it’s worth it to a point. Looking for ideas for what I can do better within reason. I’m obviously not going to have a custom made glass capsule built around it…

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Where are you, and why are grapes important? I can purchase many fruits and vegetables for less than the cost of growing them.

Do you grow vegetables?

My grandparents grew vegetables from “home”, I ate those vegetables and grew them, but today in California, those vegetables are available in markets. I do not have the space and climate to grow most vegetables.

Try doing a search for this- “scarecrow water spray deterrent” - I loaned mine to a friend that had a bobcat try to move into her back yard- it worked. Maybe couple it with a motion detecting floodlight, and get a slingshot to shoot little clay balls at the critters on a stay-up-late night.

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I used a motion activated water sprinkler at the cabin. I tried two, problem was the sprinklers had leaking connectors. I tried two……

Please post your experiences.

I have a “Guardian” with a variety of settings for different varmints.

I also did organza bags. I can’t say for sure what is or is not working, but I got “my share” of grapes and figs.

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Hmmm grapes . Word gets out in the animal world . The deer got the best of me . Oh that looks good,I’ll be back in two days They do big circles . I’m on their route.

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I haven’t used it, we had three dogs we didn’t want to traumatize and hoped they chased off the thrashers that were digging up my succulents and cactus, which they didn’t. Aside from a bobcat that hung out one summer when it was wicked hot out, and a few cats, it’s been pretty mellow since the Abert’s towhee, my patrol bird, moved in a couple of years ago. But it sure worked for my friend, and there were no leaks at all. Try replacing all the rubber washers if you haven’t already, or get your money back, the good ones have gotten pricey, but it was only about $30 when I got mine. Check leevalley.com, they have quality products

You’re probably their favorite, as well

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With me, it’s a pride thing. Not sure about OP but it sounds like they put a lot of work into it.

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Of course. I have 3 Michelin stars .

We put a deer fence in years ago to address this problem. But ain’t no fence gonna keep out the rodents :slight_smile:

Re posters who suggested a “water scarecrow,” I like that idea in principle, but in practice, most of the grapes are off the ground - some are 8’ up or higher. Not sure whether this water source could be raised, or whether it would cover a large area as our grape arbor is (fairly large). But I googled yesterday and realized we might use the same peppermint oil spray that we’ve been using for a few winters now after the same animal kingdom chewed through the piping of all 3 of our cars. I suspect that, plus the mesh bags, will be next years attempt.

Meanwhile, I didn’t mention one other tidbit about how smart-not smart these varmints are. The arbor had a hanging camping hammock, the one that comes with its own stuff sack attached to one of the long sides. Somewhat earlier in this thievery, they also attacked and tore off the stuff sack and left it on the ground. It’s not the same color, not the same fabric as the mesh bags. And obv no fruit in there, so there would’ve been no smell either. I guess they figured - hey it’s a bag. Let’s tear that off too just for fun.

Visual aids - to show the arbor (post-harvest) - and locate it in space. And one messy bag left behind (post-animal).




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And this is when it was loaded right before we bagged. So yes it is a pride thing. Pride and disappointment. Also grocery grapes taste absolutely rubbish when compared to orchard grapes.



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I’m feeling for you Sasha. I know how much work it takes to bring a grape vine to that level of production, and how good those grapes are when it all works out.

I wish I had some advice for you, but I don’t. Sending good Karma your way.

Are those Himrods?

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Thanks munchkin. Are you asking about the variety? The variety is Canadice. It’s a purple grape that ripens and harvests rather late. Especially this year, with the weather we’ve had.

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Your arbor is attractive.

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