blueberries in bear country, x-post

pieheart(6)May 30, 2007

I originally posted this in the "pests" forum but had no replies, so I'll try here since it's really a regional question.

I am planning on putting blueberries in my garden (already bought the bushes, just not planted yet). It suddenly occurred to me that I live in NWNJ, bear country. After I bought the bushes I think of this.

Do I need to worry about bears and my blueberries, or are they as much of an attraction as anything else in my garden?

On my part of the street the bears aren't in your face, but they are around as evidenced by their scat and pawprints. They are more active about .25 mile down the road where there are farms with livestock. Will the berries be an extra draw to my garden? Or am I worrying for nothing (other than the usual bear worries?)

I realize no one can give me 100% accurate info as to what would happen in my garden, but any anecdotal info would be welcome.

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njtea(NJ Z6)

Piehart, I have blueberries and bears on occasion, but the bears have never got into the blueberries.

The have got into my birdfeeders but never my garbage, recycling or the cans of bird food. I can tell from the damage done to the fence, that they have often just gone right through my property ignoring all the pleasures available to them here.

Now that I have jinxed myself, I'm sure I'll wake up tomorrow a.m. and the garbage will be spread all over creation.

I do have to admit, however, that I don't see bear evidence as you seem to see it, i.e., scat and footprints.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 7:48PM
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njtea, thanks for the reassurance! If you live in my part of the state you know that there are a lot of bears per square mile. I forget the figure, but it was high. We haven't had bear damage in our yard yet(in this house 18 months) but neighbors have had birdfeeders destroyed---and they were twenty feet off the ground. I'm not sure how the bears did it, probably shook the rope at the cleat until the feeders fell. We do live near the deer trails that go to the stream. Lots of wildlife traffic!

I'm going to cross my fingers, but I'm a natural worrier when it comes to dealing with bears. I crossed paths with a mamma and her cubs one time when hiking alone, out of cell phone range. Nothing happened, but you don't realize just how big they are until you are just a few feet away!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 8:43PM
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birdgardner(NJ/ 6b)

For what it's worth, my uncle keeps bees in bear country - with a high voltage, low amp fence around the hives. It's only about three feet high and it works. They can tell it's worked when there is a fresh pile of scat right outside the fence in the morning.

So if you do have a problem and are determined to have blueberries this might work for you.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2007 at 9:49PM
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Loretta NJ Z6

That might keep the deer out as well.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 2:01PM
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becca318(z6 NJ)

Hmm, I'd never thought about it till I read this post. I may have a similar problem. I live in Hewitt NJ, big time bear country. I've watched them waddle across my patio up to my sliding glass doors more that a few times, (and it still scares the bajesus out of me). I also planted blueberry bushes, 2 of them, this spring. I am not so much worried about the bushes attracting bears (since they're already frequent visitors) but wondering if I'll get any blueberries out of them. I guess only time will tell.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:02AM
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