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Sepp Holzer's recipe to keep animals off of trees

Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Stainless steel pans often have inserts near the bottom to help distriubte heat, of mild steel, aluminum, etc.

If one of the inserts is Al/Si alloy, it might melt.

HTH


"the qualities of these bacteria, like the heat of the sun, electricity, or the qualities of metals, are part of the storehouse of knowledge of all men.  They are manifestations of the laws of nature, free to all men and reserved exclusively to none." SCOTUS, Funk Bros. Seed Co. v. Kale Inoculant Co.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
I just found out what this stuff is called! Dippel's Oil or Renardine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dippel%27s_oil

Dippel's Oil (sometimes known as Bone Oil) is a nitrogenous by-product of the destructive distillation manufacture of bone char [1]. This liquid is dark colored and highly viscous with an unpleasant smell. It is named after its inventor, Johann Conrad Dippel, the oil contains the organic base pyrrol.

Dippel's oil had a number of uses which are now mostly obsolete. These included medicinal uses [2], use as an alcohol denaturant, as an ingredient in sheep dips, as an animal repellent (tradenamed as "Renardine" and as an insecticide.


It played a role in the discovery of Prussian blue pigment, and its inventor (and the co-inventor of Prussian blue) did lots of controversial science, registered at the University of Giessen under the name "Franckensteina", and is rumored to have partly inspired Mary Shelley.

Update: It seems there isn't good data on the toxicity of this stuff:

http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33750

which means it's probably not as bad as I had feared.

On a related note, a little more research suggests that the recipe Sepp uses is a lot older than Dippel, Dippel just found a way to purify it without much changing its effects.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
I understand that this method is probably used to keep deer from browsing trees.... but do you think it will repel monkeys? They browse my fruit!

And does anyone know if the stink is strong when on the tree... so best not used near a house?

Chelle
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
I would like to use this... if anyone makes any...

I would use it on trees furthermost from the house and see how bad it smells and how well it works against my local pests.

It is said to repel bugs as well as animals (wonder why not people) so am not sure about monkeys.
Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
Thanks Jennifer. Sounds like the best plan.... furtherest trees first.

I don't have 2 iron kettles that fit together like that... so would have to buy... and not cheap. But might still be worth the investment. I have had porcupine decimate hibiscus and avocado while young. Bet it would work with that.

But my real battle is with local Vervet Monkeys. I now have plastic snakes on my grape vines and by my kitchen window...etc. Seems to be discouraging them from coming as often... peobably nervous with the babies..... but the damage they do in just half an hour if they do come is awful.

One day will have electric fencing but trying everything else till can afford to do that properly.

Chelle
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15102
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
What are monkey predators?  Maybe you need to encourage monkey predators.


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Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia

TIGER POO would keep monkey's at bay, problem is where to source tiger poo from


Anyone who has never made a mistake
has never tried anything new
    -ALBERT EINSTEIN-
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15102
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
I would think that keeping tigers would be a less than optimal approach. 

What about a dozen housecats?

                          


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
house cats wouldnt do it, i dont think keeping tigers would be all that easy either, but if you could source some poo from a zoo or circus im sure it would work on monkeys, i did it once for a ferral cat problem, passing circus in town, asked the animal keeper tounge in cheek, and he gave me a 20ltr bucket of it stank to high heaven, but did the job just scattered it and never saw another ferral cat the whole time i lived there, took about 4 months for the smell to go
paul wheaton
steward

Joined: Apr 01, 2005
Posts: 15102
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
    ∞
Hmmmm ....  I wanna say LGD, but dogs don't do so well in trees.

I wonder if you had an electric fence with a super high pop - and then you baited some of the lines with something they thought was yummy - just to make sure they got a really nasty pop.

                          


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia
i think, but not certain, that the electric fence thing has been tried in africa, didn't work to well apes were smart enough to get through remember watching a program about it on ABC or SBS, in fact i think thats where i got the idea of useing carnavore poo, except in the program they were useing lion, i'm glad monkey/apes are not here, bloody kangaroos are enough of a challenge
                          


Joined: Oct 31, 2009
Posts: 250
Location: Marrakai Northern Territory Australia

i must correct myself the show was about baboons not monkeys, they some how worked out how to short out the fence?
Kathleen Sanderson


Joined: Feb 28, 2009
Posts: 969
Location: Near Klamath Falls, Oregon
    
    1
I wonder if there's a way to do this with a pressure canner, maybe by putting a screened platform in there to keep the bones up off the bottom?  But the canners are aluminum or stainless steel, not cast iron, and I don't think we want to try this in our good cast iron pans!

I'd love to have some way to keep the deer off things, though.

Kathleen
rose macaskie


Joined: May 09, 2009
Posts: 2134
There is a method of keeping deer off trees i have read of and keep forgetting to mention. put pointed stones paving around them in the picture it looked like they where encircled in a aaaaacircular area of cobbles. they don't like it i donl't like walking on cobbles bare foot so its understandable .
  i put a lot of long thin branches round there feet it seems possible they would not like steppng through a knot of branches. i also put chicken wire round the trunks to put them off. agri rose macaskie.
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
I think cheap wrought iron (aka mild steel) would work like cast iron, it just would wear out after a few uses. The chemistry of wrought iron vs. cast iron is very nearly the same as far as surface chemistry; exactly so, in the case of high-temperature reducing environments like the pyrolysis still Sepp describes.

A steel drum would work great AFAIK. Aluminum, as I mentioned earlier, might melt and/or burn; I would avoid that. Enameled mild steel would also work OK; if you think the surface chemistry is important, you might put some scraps of steel, or a pinch of steel wool, in the top and/or bottom of the still.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3095
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
[quote author=Joel Hollingsworth]The bone char from the top half of this contraption strikes me as some of the best stuff imaginable for making terra preta: pre-charged with minerals, pre-structured at several length scales, and pyrolyzed at moderate temperature.

did a google for "bone char" and "Bone Charcoal in Soil Enhancement Applications" showed up near the top of the results.


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Chelle Lewis


Joined: Dec 10, 2009
Posts: 417
Location: Hartbeespoort, South Africa
    
    1
paul wheaton wrote:
What are monkey predators?  Maybe you need to encourage monkey predators.
Baboons and leopards. We have them in the area.... but they move on when they are around. Don't want baboons either... worse than monkeys... more dangerous... they are huge with vicious teeth and think nothing of jumping you. And enjoy meat as well as all the monkey food too. So livestock also vulnerable. I hear the baboons but never seen any on my farm yet... although my neighbour up on the hill has. She was quite intimidated by the size of him.

I have found out what works... dogs. Just need to get fencing in that keeps the dogs from wandering far and wide. They will keep the monkeys out. My neighbour has electric fencing and dogs. Never had monkey troubles. Now the dogs are with him up north during his contract.... and with the fencing still electrified the monkeys are getting in and raiding corn...etc. same as anywhere else. The monkeys just jump the fence... swing from tree to tree. They can jump very far and high.

Chelle

Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
maybe a fake leopard?  some leopard scat?
                        


Joined: Feb 11, 2010
Posts: 1
So, upon discovering this method I immediately had to try it. Deer eat everything here in Colorado, and I either have to individually fence trees or install 12 foot deer fence around the whole property.... very pricey!

Here's what I did:

Unfortunately didn't have handy two cast iron kettles. I figured it was worth a try anyway so used two large coffee cans. I did everything else according to instructions, except I added old horseshoes into each can, one at the very bottom and one at the very top. I used old deer bones from one that died on my property two years ago.

I burned the fire for about 2 hours, and the top can got red hot at some moments.

I opened it up and the bones had indeed turned to charcoal. I expected the liquid in the bottom to be more thick and viscous, however it was still quite watery, though a deep brown color.

To those worried about attracting carnivores with this substance I can assure you that it will not attract any living creature! It is a very intense smell, that is not organic at all, much more resembling a chemical compound.

I chose a sacrificial guinea pig, one of my seedling choke cherry trees, and took the fence off of it.  I put drops of the liquid on all the growing tips and around the trunk in a couple places. I know the deer love the budding tips of this tree, as they have pushed into the fences on other trees and nipped off all the buds they could get to. They do not appear to eat the bark so far.

Probably 50 deer pass by this tree each night as it is on a major deer path that heads to the river.

Ill have to get back to you on its survival.

Some questions I have are:
What size kettles?
What age of bones?
The bones I used were really old and dry and maybe did't have much 'oil' left in them.

PS: I did put some of the liquid on a stick and gave it to my cat for a sniff. The cat had no positive or negative reaction, it was completely uninterested.



Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Yay!

Aaronj wrote:Some questions I have are:
What size kettles?
What age of bones?
The bones I used were really old and dry and maybe did't have much 'oil' left in them.


I expect it can be done right with any size kettle. I don't know how important the age of the bones might be. If they dried out before much decomposition occurred, that probably improved your chances. A lot of the carbon in bones is actually collagen fibers that are intimately bound to the bone's minerals: if the carbon & phosphorus are the most important parts of the recipe, dry bones should be OK.

Or the marrow might be important. I'm curious to hear how it goes for you!
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
Aaronj wrote:
So, upon discovering this method I immediately had to try it.

This is great news!  I have been waiting for someone to make some, I bet several of us have.  I want to try it too but it is way down the list of things I need to do fist.
Seth Pogue


Joined: Feb 12, 2010
Posts: 81
I feel in my bones that this will provide a skeletal framework for something that could gel into a workable solution. 
                                        


Joined: Jun 02, 2010
Posts: 2
My wife and I recently made a batch of bone sauce according to the recipe outline here.

We used a pair of 9qt cast iron pots ($230), 10 lbs of fresh beef femur bones (cut to 4-5 inches) and hardware cloth as a screen between the two pots.  We dug a hole on our farm to procure the clay to seal the pots.  We then filled the hole a little deeper than the depth of one of the pots.  The clay was a bit dry, so we mixed it with water in a plastic bag.

We put 10 lbs of bones into the top pot, covered it with hardware cloth cut to fit, we added one cup of water to the bottom pot, and then inverted the bone filled, screen covered pot onto the one in the ground with the water. We then sealed the pots with the clay. Finished burying the pots to the depth of the clay seal.

We then started the fire on top of it with twigs and dead fallen wood.  We also incorporated about 15 lbs of hardwood charcoal into the fire. We kept an intense fire burning over the kettle for two hours and then let it cool.

We checked the sauce about 18 hrs after we finished, the pots were still warm and the sauce was very thin, bones completely charred and the whole thing was certainly repulsive smelling.

We discarded the bones and then let the sauce sit covered with the second cast iron pot for an additional 24 hrs.  At this point it was much thicker, as it had cooled completely. It would be a spreadable paste if refrigerated.

We had a yield of about one quart of the sauce.

We poured the sauce liberally on and around a bunch of new seedlings we planted over memorial day weekend 2010.

I will let you know if it has the desired effects.
                                        


Joined: Jun 02, 2010
Posts: 2
The Bone Sauce has worked so far. We visited our farm in late July, many trees had been browsed, but the trees that were given a dose of bone sauce had not been touched at all.

We planted maples and elderberries, all the maples in the area showed signs of being eaten, but not the ones that had been sauced.


I highly recommend the method and will continue to use it on more extensive plantings.
Jennifer Smith


Joined: Jul 14, 2009
Posts: 669
Location: Zone 5
This is so cool!  Would you be interstd in selling any?  I don't have the number of trees to warrant buying the pots or digging the pit.  But how great is it??
                            


Joined: Aug 07, 2010
Posts: 271
Having just lost a bunch of young (1 to 15 years old  :cry trees to my goats  I am totally thrilled with this. I also have dogs... and bear, lion and coyotes. I won't have bones to test it yet for a few more weeks... hopefully I won't lose too many more trees in the meantime. Because of the diversity of critters (the dogs and goats are tame, obviously), I should be able to give it a really fair trial!

Thank you so much.
Eva Koeniger


Joined: Sep 02, 2010
Posts: 1
I would love to hear from someone who has tried the recipe.  I need to protect numerous fruit trees in an area that is otherwise ideal for goats.  The area is also fairly close to the house.  Does the stuff keep smelling bad?  And what quantity of bones yields what quantity of goo?  And does one have to paint the entire trunk?
Joel Hollingsworth
volunteer

Joined: Jul 01, 2009
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
Eva Koeniger wrote:Does the stuff keep smelling bad?  And what quantity of bones yields what quantity of goo?  And does one have to paint the entire trunk?


Farther up on the thread, most of these are answered:


  • [li]Decades;[/li]
    [li]10 lbs fresh bones yields 1 quart;[/li]
    [li]just daub a little around, it definitely doesn't need to be covered.[/li]


  • Nicholas Covey wrote:Do they have raccoons in Austria?


    Yes, since WWII, AFAIK. I believe they came across the Atlantic with US war materiel, and were given a German name that translates as "wash bear," because they resemble little bears who wash their food.
    Elena Parmiggiani


    Joined: Jul 14, 2010
    Posts: 2
    Hi all,
    we are trying it in our farm, I have made it on a cast iron pan with lid, following exactly the recipe, and the result is marrowfat wich is charred a bit. The smell for me is not so bad when it has cooled down. I am treating a dozen trees in an area with deer, fallow deer, roe deer, hare and wild boar.

    It is almost two months that the plants are outside and there is no sign of biting or scratching or browsing. I

    will be sure only after the spring, as it will snow a lot so we will test the hunger of these critter. If they don't touch these plants during winter and the famine months, I am pretty sure it will last for a long time.

    The bone fat is well, smelly and oily and I have applied it mixed with a bit of water with a paintbrush. Nothing fancy. Very easy and simple to make and apply. Paul's instructions are very clear and sufficient.

    We will use this method to protect all our fruit trees which are apples, pears, almonds, amelanchier, persimmons, cherries, and you name it...
    Have a good try.
    Regards
    Elena Parmiggiani
    Italy
                            


    Joined: Jun 06, 2010
    Posts: 57
    Location: Northern Rockies
    Does anyone have results yet?  Has anyone tried it in grizzly country?  Grizzlies are our largest permaculture complication. 


    Rick Freeman

    Interface Forestry, l.l.c.      http://interfaceforestry.com

    Forest and Stand Inventory and Assessment
    Wildfire Fuels Management
    Watershed Planning and Stand Planning
    Wildlife Habitat Improvement
    Recreation and Natural Interpretation Planning
    Eco-Wise Residential Planning and Wildland-Urban Interface Forestry
    Non-Timber Forest Products

    rick@interfaceforestry.com
                            


    Joined: May 26, 2010
    Posts: 278
    Location: Iowa, border of regions 5 and 6
    Dippel's Oil (sometimes known as Bone Oil) is a nitrogenous by-product of the destructive distillation manufacture of bone char [1]. This liquid is dark colored and highly viscous with an unpleasant smell. It is named after its inventor, Johann Conrad Dippel, the oil contains the organic base pyrrol.


    That last part is the key to why this works.  "Pyrrols" are a class of organic chemicals that form very stinky substances.  The stink that a skunk sprays is made from pyrrols.  Pyrrols also form the basis of what humans would call "the scent of death": decomposing meat.

    By painting this material on your trees, you're telling all the herbivores that something died here, stay away.  The carrion eaters will stay away because although it may smell like something died here, there obviously isn't any meat worth eating.  Carrion eaters are smart enough tell the difference between vegetation that smells like something dead and actual dead meat.  If they weren't, they'd be joining us at the supper club, eating their brussels sprouts with their aged dead steer.

    My guess is that this stuff is very concentrated.  By painting it on the trunk of a young tree, it gets incorporated into the wood of the tree as the tree grows.  This means it will still be detectable to passing herbivores long after we're able to stop smelling it.  You'd be able to burn the wood with no extra worries, you'd be able to work the wood so that it still has that fresh woody smell, and you can eat the fruit because the process of growing an apple involves chemical changes that would break down the organic portion of the pyrrol in order to make the materials that make up an apple.

    (BTW, do you know why airlines don't allow vultures as passengers?  They always have too much carrion luggage.)
    Mekka Pakanohida


    Joined: Aug 16, 2010
    Posts: 383
    Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
    Leah Sattler wrote:
    boiling bones makes stock. hmmm. then carnivores would probably eat the trees!!! I suppose herbivores might find it detestable. interesting.


    Yeah!  And this is actually part of the recipe for the olden oil paint Prussian Blue as well!  I guess the rendering of the bones, ligaments, cartilage and what not would be enough to keep most people away. 
                            


    Joined: Jan 04, 2011
    Posts: 13
    Location: North East Scotland
    I would certainly give anything Sepp suggests a try providing it was appropriate to the conditions in the area I lived in, you only have to see the films of the Krameterhof to know he has proved his credentials.
    There is something else that might be worth a try though if you're not too squeamish. I graze my sheep around the house at intervals to save having to mow. I do my best to pick up the mess from our three terriers but there's always some I miss. I find it after the sheep have finished amongst the tufts of grass they wouldn't touch. Perhaps smearing dog mess on your trees would work too.
    It is a bit gross, I haven't tried it (yet), but it certainly won't attract any carnivores.............I assume
    Kay Bee


    Joined: Oct 10, 2009
    Posts: 471
    Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
    any updates from people who have tried the recipe?


    "Limitation is the mother of good management", Michael Evanari

    Location: Southwestern Oregon (Jackson County), Zone 7
                                                  


    Joined: Mar 30, 2011
    Posts: 500
    Does anyone know if it HAS to be cast iron? Id like to try this, but dont have cast iron. its pretty expensive just for a test.
                              


    Joined: Mar 27, 2011
    Posts: 56
    Location: Bremerton, Washington
    Silverseeds, this guy did a test using coffee cans instead of iron pots.  I didn't see a follow-up but initially it looks like it worked.

    Aaronj wrote:
    Unfortunately didn't have handy two cast iron kettles. I figured it was worth a try anyway so used two large coffee cans. I did everything else according to instructions, except I added old horseshoes into each can, one at the very bottom and one at the very top. I used old deer bones from one that died on my property two years ago.

    I burned the fire for about 2 hours, and the top can got red hot at some moments.

    I opened it up and the bones had indeed turned to charcoal. I expected the liquid in the bottom to be more thick and viscous, however it was still quite watery, though a deep brown color.

    To those worried about attracting carnivores with this substance I can assure you that it will not attract any living creature! It is a very intense smell, that is not organic at all, much more resembling a chemical compound.

    I chose a sacrificial guinea pig, one of my seedling choke cherry trees, and took the fence off of it.  I put drops of the liquid on all the growing tips and around the trunk in a couple places. I know the deer love the budding tips of this tree, as they have pushed into the fences on other trees and nipped off all the buds they could get to. They do not appear to eat the bark so far.

    Probably 50 deer pass by this tree each night as it is on a major deer path that heads to the river.

    Ill have to get back to you on its survival.
                                


    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 42
    Location: Central Missouri
    I've got four new fruit trees planted, this spring, and five more on the way.  Figured I would have to fence each of them.  If I can find some bones, I'll give this a try on a few. 

    The more of us who experiment, the better our breadth of results to compare.
    Miles Flansburg
    steward

    Joined: Feb 03, 2011
    Posts: 2244
    Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
        
      57
    I am currently enjoying Sepp's new book on Permaculture and he talks about this in two different chapters. In one chapter he is talking about medicinal salves. He uses a graphic similar to the picture Paul used above. He says they collect the bones from smoked meats all year long in a special box and then a man called the "burning man" comes to town and creates this bone "tar". Sep says it is used as a salve on wounded animals and to keep biting fly’s off of them. He says in another chapter that he uses this bone salve mixed with linseed oil, slaked lime, fine quartz sand and fresh cow dung, to put on the trees.  He says you could also use naphtha or Beachwood tar instead of bone salve. These do not smell as bad so he will add some singed animal hair.  He says it is the smell that repels the browsing animals and if they do take a bite the quartz sand drives them crazy as it grinds their teeth.

    He also plants "distracting plants' which are plants that the animals will eat before they even look at trees and he also plants hedges of thorny shrubs to keep them out of the orchards.
    Mekka Pakanohida


    Joined: Aug 16, 2010
    Posts: 383
    Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
    Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
    I just found out what this stuff is called! Dippel's Oil or Renardine.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dippel%27s_oil

    It played a role in the discovery of Prussian blue pigment, and its inventor (and the co-inventor of Prussian blue) did lots of controversial science, registered at the University of Giessen under the name "Franckensteina", and is rumored to have partly inspired Mary Shelley.

    Update: It seems there isn't good data on the toxicity of this stuff:

    http://www.pesticideinfo.org/Detail_Chemical.jsp?Rec_Id=PC33750

    which means it's probably not as bad as I had feared.

    On a related note, a little more research suggests that the recipe Sepp uses is a lot older than Dippel, Dippel just found a way to purify it without much changing its effects.




    Joel, thank you... here I am literally holding an ancient tube of Prussian Blue paint.  It's no longer made.. you gave the artist in me something to be happy and research!  Thank you so much!
                                


    Joined: Jan 24, 2011
    Posts: 42
    Location: Central Missouri
    I recently checked out Deer Proofing Your Garden from the library.  I could have been a pamphlet; they really had to pad it to make it a book.

    But anyway, the author confirmed Sepp's use of distracting plants and hedges to keep deer out of the orchard.  That is another of the multiple uses for the fedge I am planting around my property.

    Another interesting tidbit was that deer don't jump over hedges because they can not see their 'landing zone', as they can with a normal fence.
     
     
    subject: Sepp Holzer's recipe to keep animals off of trees
     
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