Bear-proof your fruit trees

Fruit trees will attract bears into town once the berries run out

Carelessly stored garbage and apple trees are the root causes of bear human conflict in Fernie.

What is the problem with bears eating apples?   Apples are a fine food source for bears.  They are very similar to many natural foods that bears normally eat.  The problem is that most apple trees are located in people’s yards.

Bears are natural scavengers, have great memories, a keen sense of smell and will remember an easy food source.  Carelessly stored garbage, birdfeeders, dirty barbecues and fruit trees are open invitations to bears.

Fernie apples will start to ripen soon and once the berries run out bears will start passing through town in search for easy food sources.

Owning a fruit tree in bear country is a big responsibility.  Pick fruit daily as it ripens or pick it before it ripens if you don’t intend on using it and don’t allow fruit to accumulate on the ground.

Pruning your fruit trees will result in a better and more manageable quality of fruit.  Consult your local arborist.

Do you have excess Fernie apples and want to put them to good use?

The Bear Aware/Community Ecogarden Apple Exchange connects people who want or have apples.

Check out the apple exchange board at the Cottonwood Tree or online at to list your tree or find trees that need to be picked.

If you have Fernie apples and want to press them into juice join us at our Apple Press Days at the Fernie Community Ecogarden on September 21st and 28th between 3 and 7 pm.  Bring your Fernie apples and containers for the juice.  this event is by advance registration only.  The cost is $10 for a 40 minute time slot.  Come by the Wildsight Office, 891 2nd Avenue to register. Let’s work together to feed families, not bears.

Unsecured garbage and apple trees are the root causes of bear human conflict in Fernie.  When attractants are removed, bears will move on resulting in a safer community and preventing the needless destruction of bears.

Apple Tree Pruning Tips

1. Remove all dead, diseased and damaged wood from the tree.

2.  Try to eliminate crossing and rubbing branches. Leave the one best suited for growth. Doing this allows more room for single branch growth and gives better air flow through the tree which will help with keeping the leaves and fruit from getting mold and fungus problems.

3.  When pruning new growth in the spring, prune the shoots down to 3 or 4 buds.  This keeps the tree at a managable size for care and picking.

4.  When cutting branches do not leave stubs or make flush cuts which is pruning too deep into the tree.  Making proper pruning cuts keeps the tree healthy.

5.  Prune every spring before leaves and flowers appear.

6.  If you have clusters of apples you can thin them out in the summer and this may produce better tasting fruit in the fall.

7.  The best is to keep your fruit trees at a size which is easy to prune and pick.  Too big of trees may produce too much fruit that may not be very good to eat and become hard to maintain as they grow.

8.  Last but not least, make sure you pick up those apples that have fallen on the ground and pick your fruit if you are not going to use it.


Keeping Safe Around Bears, a course designed to prepare people working, recreating or travelling in bear country. By Jacques Drisdelle

These guidelines are based on the best known current research but do not guarantee the safe outcome of an encounter with a bear.