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How to protect your plants from possums

Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member



Possums are endearing animals but can cause significant damage to a garden.


Fortunately, there are many ways you can discourage possums from damaging valued plants, deter them from your garden or live in harmony with the cute critters.  


Please note that while in New Zealand possums are introduced pests, in Australia they are protected native animals so how you manage them should be different. Native species are governed by wildlife conservation laws and trapping or harming possums could lead to prosecution. Seek further specific from local wildlife authorities or licensed pest control experts.


Understanding possum behaviour


Before delving into deterrents, it is important to understand possum behaviour. These arboreal marsupials are primarily nocturnal, venturing out under the cover of darkness to forage for food.


Possums have a keen sense of smell and taste, often targeting plants and fruits. Possums are skilled climbers, effortlessly navigating trees, fences, and structures to access desired delicacies. Understanding their behaviour can help develop effective deterrents.


Unpleasant tastes and smells


Odours and protective sprays can offer a versatile and effective solution to protect your garden.


You can harness odorous products or use homemade concoctions to deter possums from feeding on your plants. Possums dislike the smell of blood and bone, making it an effective deterrent when spread around the base of plants. It also nourishes the soil and promotes plant growth.


Yates possum repellent.png

A spray concocted from crushed garlic and hot chilli can provide an additional line of defence. Simply crush two tablespoons of garlic and chilli and add to one litre of hot water. After letting the mixture stand overnight, spray directly on plants the following day. The concoction creates a pungent scent that possums find repulsive, but you will need to repeat application regularly to maintain effectiveness.


Products like Yates Possum Repellent Spray and SCAT Animal Repellent contain formulations that repel possums. Suitable for use on both edible and ornamental plants, these sprays offer a convenient and effective means of safeguarding your garden. Always read and follow the instructions provided to ensure safe and proper application.


Disrupting nocturnal activities


Disrupting possum activity is crucial to help prevent garden damage. By creating an environment that possums find less appealing it can reduce the likelihood of them feasting on your plants.


Motion sensor lights can assist as nocturnal creatures are not fond of being exposed. By illuminating possum-frequented pathways and entry points, you create a less appealing environment. You can add further deters like a solar-powered owl statue, which hoots and flashes its eyes, mimicking a potential predator.


Ultrasonic repeller.pngModern ultrasonic devices such as the Sureguard Scarecrow Motion Activated Ultrasonic Animal Repellent or Jack Pest Control Outdoor Ultrasonic Repeller are another tactic. These gadgets emit high-frequency sound waves that are inaudible to humans but irritating to possums. Easy to install, ultrasonic deterrents provide continuous protection. Place them strategically throughout your garden.


Physical barriers


Possums often target tender young shoots, blossoming buds and the ripest fruit in your garden. But physical barriers can help thwart their nightly feasting.


Crop protection netting can serve as an effective shield. The fine mesh prevents access to delicate plants while still allowing sunlight and water to penetrate. However, netting can restrict growth over time, so remember to periodically adjust the height. You can also choose to cover susceptible areas with netting in the evening, ensuring a snug fit, and then remove it at dawn.


You can also construct sturdy enclosures using wire mesh and garden stakes to create an impenetrable barrier around vulnerable plants. Secure the mesh firmly in place with cable ties or wire, ensuring no gaps or openings for possums to exploit. Additionally, repurpose everyday items like laundry baskets or waste bins as makeshift barriers, anchoring them securely.


Restricting access to trees and fences (which are possum highways) is important. Consider wrapping tree trunks and overhanging limbs with galvanised sheeting to prevent possums climbing. Sheeting can also be attached to fence lines.


Raised garden with netting.pngRaised garden beds can also help to keep crops out of reach of possums. Choose beds with built-in netting or construct your own frames to support nets.


Harmonious coexistence


While possums may pose challenges to gardeners, fostering a harmonious relationship with these native creatures can be achievable and help preserve your local ecosystem’s delicate balance. One approach is to plant sacrificial plants specifically for possum consumption. By offering enticing alternatives to your prized crops, you can redirect their foraging instincts away from your garden beds. Choose plant varieties that are appealing to possums, such as native shrubs or fruit-bearing trees, and position them strategically throughout your garden.


Nesting boxes also offer possums a safe and secure shelter in urban environments where natural habitat can be scarce. A nesting box can provide refuge for resting, breeding and raising young. Choose designs specifically tailored to possum needs, with ample space and ventilation. Position in elevated locations such as tree branches or rooftops to mimic their natural habitat and minimise disturbance.


How to deter possums from your roof


Loss of habitat can cause possums to take shelter in a roof space and unfortunately, they can cause damage and noise. Get expert advice for How to deter possums from your roof from our comprehensive guide. 


Need further help with deterring possums? Don’t hesitate to ask the Bunnings Workshop community for assistance. 

2 Replies
Making a Splash

Great information!


As a wildlife carer/rescuer - its important to note (in case anyone is thinking of doing it) that relocation is not advisable. Possums are territorial.  If you have concerns, call your local wildlife group, they often will provide assistance/ support to help create a harmonious environment.


Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Hi @Caron,


Thank you for that information, it is great when experts in their areas are able to share and assist the other members of our wonderful community.



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