Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's just a little beaver, how many cherry trees can it eat?

Likely it's the parents that are doing most of the damage to the cherries in the cherry nursery by Hickey Run. Over the last couple of weeks everyone had noticed the classic beaver damage to the trees closest to the stream. Still....I was a bit surprised to come in Thursday morning and find the Sue Greeley, Floral and Nursery Plants Technician, Wildlife specialist, Arborist, and more, was parked behind the Headhouse with this young beaver. She wanted the parents but got this gullible youngster instead. After much discussion, Sue decided to return this guy/girl to its parents.

She/He showed a remarkable indifference to the group that slowly assembled around the trap. Just kept debarking the 'Dreamcatcher' (USNA cherry introduction) branches. I guess that means that the cyanide in the branches isn't hurting him/her. Cows can poison themselves by eating cherry leaves; it happens during dry summers when the browse disappears but they can reach cherry foliage. Farmers actually have to attend to this situation. I can remember cutting cherry trees with my uncle during summers on my Grandmother's farm. Curiously sorghum and Johnsongrass also produce dangerous amounts of prussic acid.

Years ago I remember there was a problem with the Tidal Basin Cherries; a beaver was cutting them. As I recall this beaver took down a good number of trees before he was trapped and relocated.

No comments: