In this article, we will answer the question “How to protect your watermelon farm?”, and how to keep rodents away from your melons?
This article also includes a brief guide on how to care for your watermelon farm and protect it against rodents and pests.
How to protect your watermelon farm?
Watermelon farm needs special care because it is a fruit farm and many different kinds of rodents, insects, bacteria and other microbes can attack it easily.
How to keep rodents away from your watermelon farm?
Rodents are the most serious threat to watermelons in the field. When the watermelons are fully mature, there could be a massive attack of rodents.
The rodents leave the watermelons partially eaten and bruised. There may also be signs of small incisor teeth on the skin of a watermelon.
Different types of rodents could be a threat to the watermelons. These include squirrels, voles, chipmunks, and groundhogs including many varieties of birds.
Many experiments were performed to find out how one can stop these rodents from coming into the watermelon field. Following are the experiments that were performed to stop the rodents.
In the trellis system, melons are trellised many feet up the ground. This helps in keeping the insects, mold, and other soil-dwelling organisms away from the melons.
This method didn’t do well in the case of rodents because they can easily climb and reach the melons, thus, deteriorating the fruits.
Bird nets are installed very carefully hidden in the field in a way that if a bird is stuck, it does not hurt itself and could easily be removed from the net with hands.
The bird net could be effective in the field because it could help in preventing rodents like squirrels. It is also useful against snakes like rat snakes and huge king snakes
The best way to prevent rodents from attacking is to use the watermelon cages. The use of wired melon cages have the following benefits:
- It provides the required sunlight
- Never corrodes or wash away by rain or any other pigment
- Cant be chewed by the teeth of any animal or rodents
- Can be used multiple times with low maintenance
This method proved very effective and not a single case was reported in fields where this method was adopted.
Why do holes appear in watermelons?
Sometimes when you go check the watermelons on your farm you notice that there are holes in the watermelon. These holes are the perfect passage for microbes and other insects and pests.
This is mainly caused by the large animals and wildlife. Many of the insects are unable to dig the thick skin of watermelon but some insects like cabbage root maggot fly can dig holes into the watermelon.
The most notorious animals in this are squirrels, chipmunks, deer, and woodchucks who enjoy puncturing and eating melon crops.
Coyotes and domesticated dogs also enjoy biting into sweet melons. Raccoons and birds make holes in the tops of melons and scoop or suck juices from the fruit’s inside.
If you are unsure about the animal and never caught any animals in this act then the best way is to track their footprints.
Sprinkle limestone around the watermelons in the day and check the next day if any footprints are present.
Remove the punctured fruit
When the watermelon gets punctured, a sweet odor comes out of it that can attract other animals and birds as well. This leads to more destruction in the field.
Other than this, many pathogenic fungus and mold can penetrate and grow in the watermelon making it totally unfit for use.
Do not eat the watermelon that is punctured by any insect or ants even. They start eating the watermelon and transmit many diseases.
When there is a puncture in the watermelon, it will start to rot and dry up so harvest this melon and discard it as soon as possible.
The best option is to discard the watermelon no matter what is the cause of holes in your watermelons.
General care tips for watermelons
If you mulch black or yellow straws around the watermelons in the field, it will help you in several ways. It will keep the soil warm, would not allow any sort of weed growth, and will also keep the fruit away from direct contact with soil.
Pruning generally isn’t necessary for watermelon plants, but vine productivity may be improved if you do not allow lateral (side) vines to grow and stick to the main vine.
In this article, we answered the question “How to protect your watermelon farm?”, and how to keep rodents away from your melons?