How can I protect my sweet corn and melons from raccoons?

Damage to sweet corn or watermelons can be stopped most effectively by excluding raccoons by using a single or double hot-wire electric fence. The fence should be turned on in the evening before dusk and turned off after daybreak. Electric fences should be used with care, and appropriate caution signs must be installed. Alternative methods include wrapping filament tape around ripening ears of corn or placing plastic bags over the ears, which has been an effective method of reducing raccoon damage to sweet corn. In general, tape or electric fencing is more effective than bagging. When using tape, it is important to apply the type with glass-yarn filaments embedded within so that the raccoons cannot tear through the tape. Taping is more labor-intensive than electric fencing but may be more practical and acceptable for small backyard gardens or where children are present.

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