Even the longest ladder didn’t reach high enough to pick fruit off of some trees in Rossland and Trail.
Apples and pears are like candy to bears, so don’t forget to prune your trees, advises Desiree Profili, local community coordinator for WildsafeBC.
“As fall turns to winter it’s time to think about pruning and taking care of our fruit trees,” she said. “The biggest complaint we’ve had this year is people just not being able to get to their fruit to pick it.”
After a bumper crop season of plums, apples and pears, Profili responded to a number of calls for help with harvesting.
“The trees were just so big and so overgrown that bears were breaking the trees and causing damage,” she explained. “And it’s also way harder for the homeowner to get access to that fruit and actually maintain the tree.”
Profili recalled, “Some of them, we couldn’t even get to the top with a ladder so we just ended up shaking the tree, which then just wrecks the fruit, and it’s kind of a waste.”
For those who just like their trees, she says there are methods of pruning that minimize fruit growth.
“It helps with pick and ease of access,” Profili said. “So that attractants are more easily removed from trees to help decrease bears in yards destroying trees.”
Once trees are dormant for the winter, WildsafeBC suggests a three-step plan.
First, Profili advises a clean up with removal of dead or diseased branches.
Then, she says to remove any branches that overlap, or clutter the middle of the tree. The final step is to cut back, or remove the vertical growth that makes trees difficult to harvest in the fall.
“Just remember if trees are overgrown, it may take a few years to remove all the issues,” she continued.
“And this fall saw lots of requests for help in picking and using or donating excess fruit, which was amazing … so a huge thank you to all the volunteers and organizers of great events like the pick and press weekends.”
Anyone with questions about how or when to prune, is encouraged to contact Profili by phoning 250.231.7996 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She emphasized, “Let’s all do our part to keep our wildlife wild and our communities safe.”
Less general sightings have been reported this season, but there has been a few significant interactions between bears and people.
“There’s been big issues like bears in houses,” Profili confirmed. “We’ve had three bears destroyed because they were in homes (two in Rossland and one in Fruitvale) but it’s been a fairly quiet fall and not a lot of bear sightings posted online.”