Plant Diseases/apple


Hi.mam.Rats are creating very alarming situation for my apple orchards as they have constructed holes beneath trees and thereby cutting and damaging root system some of trees are to be dying. I have tried to treat the rat holes with zinc phosphide by mixing in flour,but surprizingly the rats have not eaten the poiso,even they have thrown the flour balls out of holes.I was very sure that the treatment I am applying will work.Now help me how to kill rats.

Dear Vivek, I know you have a terrible rat problem and it will be very difficult to get rid of them.  I did think of some ideas that might help.  Be sure that none of the tree branches is close to the ground to prevent the rats from climbing up.  Make sure that you keep any fallen fruit picked up.  One idea I saw was to run sheet metal around each tree next to the ground to further prevent them from climbing up and possibly suffocating a bit some of the ones underneath the collar, but for a lot of trees that would be exhausting and will mostly only prevent them from climbing.  Be sure that you have removed any brush piles or trash that the rats might nest in.  But honestly, I think to get rid of these rats, you may have to attack the nests individually.  I don't know if you can flush some of them out with water, but if you can destroy the nests especially those with young, you may see some progress.  You could go by the holes and pour boiling water into them and shovel dirt into them, packing it down hard to kill some of the rats.  You can also set out traps with food in them near the nests.  Any rats you capture, be sure to kill.  Don't release them because they will only return.  If you had a few dogs that enjoyed killing rats that would be good.  The best predator would be rat snakes, but I'm not sure where you could get those at.  Cats might also kill some, but for large rats, cats won't be effective at all.  These rats are night feeders, so you may want to go out with flashlights and clubs at night to kill what you can.  I know these are all very labor intensive methods, but unfortunately that is about all you have left to try.  I am hoping that you will get some relief from the rats, but your best bet might be to spend some nights, at least for a few hours, killing what rats you can find, and getting rid of the dead ones.  I hope this helps you some.  Good luck, Melissa

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Melissa Johnston


Plant diseases, landscaping, tropical plants, roses, herbs, plant care, grafting, horticulture, plant identification, anything about plants I can likely answer.


35 years experience in various plant businesses, 1984 Certified Texas Master Gardener.

Master Gardener Association of Texas charter member

none as of yet, but I have a plant q&a book I am in process of submitting.

Magna cum laude graduate of Texas A&M, 1978

Awards and Honors
Plant growing awards, highest grade for Texas Master Gardener graduates.

Past/Present Clients
Past member of and was very highly rated. Owned landscape company in the past, Almost Paradise, and was very successful despite little equipment, no help, and no advertising. Lived well for two years until 9/11.

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