Squirrels can be really adorable, except when they are decimating your fruit trees. Stopping the squirrels from eating the fruit on your trees will help ensure a good harvest. This is a guide about keeping squirrels out if fruit trees.
Does anyone know how to keep squirrels from eating the fruit off the peach and plum trees?
Squirrels ate every pear from my tree a few years ago. They start early in the season, well before the fruit ripens. The next year as soon as I noticed the fruit being eaten, I wrapped the tree with enormous sheets of clear plastic that I bought in the paint department sold as dropcloths. I bought 3 of the cheapest, biggest ones, spent less than $10. Then with the help of my son and a ladder, I wrapped the tree with the plastic, pinning it to branches and to itself with clothespins. My tree is about 10 years old and about 15 feet high.
The wrap job is nowhere near perfect but it works nevertheless. I concentrate on covering the branches with the most fruit. Some branches are too high so I don't get those covered. I loosely closepin the gaps between the sheets and I pin the plastic to the lower branches and close to the trunk.
In my yard, the squirrels jump from other trees onto the pear tree as well as approach from below. Even though the plastic is rather thin, the wrap job stays intact for the season. Windy days pop a clothepin or two off so I repair it, if necessary. The fruit seem to ripen just fine. Hooray! I save the plastic for next year. I have done this 3 years in a row with very good results.
I have an apricot tree that generally yields well. This year, there are dozens due to mild winter weather in northest Ohio. The tree is one of those varietals with an alleged, edible pit. In the past five years, we have yet to taste a ripe apricot. The problem, fox and gray squirels during the day and a mystery critter during the night, probably raccoons or flying squirrels. I have tried hot pepper spray, netting and don't think they would be afraid of an owl decoy after a couple of days. The one I placed to scare away the English sparrows has become a perch.
Short of ordinance which is certainly an option and perhaps a diabolical treat for me at this point, does anyone have any suggestions to: 1) Allow a reasonabie harvest of fresh apricots on my part and 2) allow another/ other species to share a few of these tasty fruits?
By Grumpy gardener
I don't know if it would work for all the critters but it would cut down on some of them (especially the birds).
Add bells to your branches. Don't hang them from the limbs on strings tie them directly to the branch. This way when a critter goes on the branch (shaking it) the bells clatter. It may scare them away. Find bells that are very senstive. Smaller bells tend to be more sensitive than larger ones because their clacker isn't as heavy.
Another trick (that my father does) is to find a Model T coil and hook it up with a wire around the bottom of the tree. This gives any critter trying to cross and climb a shock. We had raccoons eating peaches off our tree before they developed enough to be picked. This trick stopped the little guys.
I was told or read that you can also put something sticky around the base of the trunk of the tree and it will deter climbing critters. They don't like how their paws stick. Not sure off hand what would be wide enough that the critters wouldn't step over it easily. Something like a fly strip but much wider. Maybe there is a substance they sell at a yard and garden place for insects (like ants) that you can spray on the trunk.
This was my solution after every single apple disappeared last year. I go out several times a day and eyeball a count of ALL of the apples and they ALL seem to still be there.
I bought a fine mesh roll of deer cloth in July, about 36 inches x 50 feet and wrapped it around my Honeycrisp apple tree. I am going to have apple pie IN A MONTH! (8/8/13)
The plastic pipes could be joined in the center of each to form a disc to extend and support net somewhat away from the branches.
I just landscaped my backyard and added about 5 fruit trees. First I noticed all the pomegranate blossoms and one small fruit on the ground one morning. Then I was admiring the Asian pear on my tree and the next day it was gone. There was a slight hole under the tree like it was dug away. Lots of gardenia blossoms were also on the ground, but those may be from overwatering.
I do have squirrels visiting my yard cause I feed the birds and they try to get at that food. Any good ways to keep my fruit away from them? I spent a lot of time and money on the yard and was looking forward to the fruit.
The only thing I have found that works to keep my fruit for myself from the squirrels is to grow hot peppers. Make hot pepper sauce with water from them and spray that on the trees. The pepper burns their mouth and they leave it alone but have to add it every couple of weeks. Sometimes I add a little Murphy's oil soap to the mix and that helps too. This was the first year I actually got all my peaches.
I will be trying this in about a month. My friends in MA had very good luck last year with a small vegetable patch in their back yard. It took a few tweaks to the volts to not kill the birds. But they had an excellent harvest.
I planted my 3 dwarf apple trees 6 years ago and still have not enjoyed a single apple! I had such high hopes last year as I had been prepared with the bird netting wrapped over my trees. The fruit lasted long enough for me to realize I could get enough to make several pies and put up some sauce for the winter, until one afternoon I returned home from work to find the hairy little bugger inside the netting picking the apples and dropping them down to the bottom of the netting.
I scared him and he got out by an opening he had created in the closing seam of the netting. I went inside to get some fasteners to close it up some more and by the time I came out, he was bouncing his harvested apples over to the opening and dropping them to the ground to run off with. If I wasn't so mad, I would be impressed with his ingenuity.
I'll take some photos of the install and instructions in another posting as soon as my friend can get up here and set this plan up.
How do you keep squirrels out of nut and fruit trees?
Hardiness Zone: 8a
By Sarah from MS
We have birds and squirrels visit our cherry tree. In order to have any cherries ourselves, I take old CDs, tie one end of a string through the center hole, and tie the other end on the tip of a tree branch.
Can I use hot sauce to protect a peach tree from squirrels?
By Victor from Long Island, NY
I use hot pepper sauce around our fruit trees and garden to keep critters away, good luck. (04/24/2010)
They sell a plastic owl with moving heads and these scare the squirrels. Also, they sell motion activated sprinklers too! Here's several options and there are many more too:
Here's a Wonderful Sugar Free Option: $50
It's a motion-activated burst of ultrasonic sound that humans can't hear, it sound startles animals and teaches them to stay away
Scare-crow Sprinkler: $75
A motion-activated sprinkler teaches them to avoid the area in future.
You'll have to Google to find the bobble-head owl.
* I'd stay away from the hot pepper or hot-sauce because it's can be very cruel. This is because when animals and neighborhood pets get it in their eyes, the pain can cause them to dig their eyes out! I used to use it and recommend it until many ThriftyFun people wrote and warned me! Plus, the hot sauce has to be re-applied each time it rains. (04/24/2010)
I saw an infomercial on TV yesterday. They said use peppermint oil, that rodents are allergic to it. Be sure it is oil from a health food store and not extract from the grocery store which is mostly alcohol. (04/25/2010)
We had issues with squirrels eating our strawberries, "all" our strawberries. I read somewhere that they do not like the scent of coffee grounds. We tried it and it worked wonderfully! Plus unlike cayenne pepper, it seems to still be effective after regular waterings or rain showers. I scatter coffee grounds about every 2-3 weeks and have not had any issues since. Plus it's a non-chemical solution that is safe for our family and our puppy, too. I definitely recommend to give it a try. (06/09/2010)
Finally, after 4 years of trying oils, owls, moth balls, coffee grounds, rubber snakes, sonic noise makers, etc. I finally have not had one squirrel in my apple trees. I may get my first crop on my 7 year old trees. I put 40 inch wide, rather thin gauge sheet metal around the trunks of my trees. The squirrels try to jump up over the tin, but can not jump that high. This solution was so simple, I should have thought of it sooner. Haven't harmed a single squirrel and they are still in my neighborhood.
I have tried owls, snakes, moth balls and spray. None worked for more than a day. Tried the plastic cone around the trunk and they jumped to the top edge and crawled up anyway.
This year I put "tangle foot", a product that is very sticky and used to keep pigeons off areas. Worked great. As soon as they jumped to the cone edge and got the adhesive on the front feet, they dropped off the cone and did not come back. They were not hurt in any way, but did not like the adhesive.
By rn4005 from Omaha, NE
Keeping squirrels from harvesting your apples and pears. Puncture a hole in a few aluminum pie plates, tie them singly with twine to the lower branches of your fruit trees. The clanging will scare them away.
Here is a recipe called Squirrel Beaters Tonic
This year, we are over-run with squirrels. They are even picking green apples off my tree, taking a bite out of them, then tossing them to the ground. A late freeze killed most fruits, so I'd like to keep the few apples I have left. If anyone has ideas on what to do to deter these pests, I'd appreciate all the help I can get.
Susan from Arkansas
Let them eat, squirrels are not a pest, they are an essential part of nature. Enjoy them in their habitat, leave them alone.
Solution: Squrrels can't go to the shops and buy apples, you can, so why not do that. (06/17/2007)
By A Drachmann
I guess that I did not make myself clear in my first post. The problem is not whether or not I get apples, but with the sheer number of squirrels we are bombarded with this summer. We have a pecan tree that was planted when our house was built in 1902 that is huge. We also have an oak tree. Neighbors have numerous trees, so there is always plenty of food for them, yet they are not happy.
They have destroyed my garden (this summer I've planted it 4 times), have raided my berry patches (strawberry, raspberry, gooseberry, and blueberry), dug up and killed several plants in my flower beds, made their way through my flower boxes, and dug up most of my potted plants on my porch --who knew squirrels liked avacado pits that had already grown into trees? They go into my German shepherd's pen when he is asleep, to eat his food and squeeze into my cat's pen when he is in the house to eat his cat food. I've put out squirrel feeders that you place corn cobs on hoping that they'd leave other things alone, but that idea failed. They've destroyed a bird feeder I paid over $150 for that was supposed to be squirrel-proof (metal is only a minor deterrent to them). They have eaten through our phone and cable TV lines, dug into our home's eaves trying to nest in our attic (we have a 3-story house, so it's no small matter to repair the damage), got caught in our electric lines where they've gotten fried so badly that we've lost our electricity at times, and dug out the cement between the bricks of our chimney to nest in it. Did I mention that they've destroyed our roof to the point that it had to be replaced? Do you know how hard it is to find someone to reroof a home as tall as ours with a pitch this steep in a small town? The reroof cost us $20,000, we are not rich people.
Living in town, these animals are able to jump from tree to tree to fence to house to garage, to get around. Now I love animals. I take ones in that others have thrown out and find homes for them. I volunteer at our local shelter. I'm the person who carries dog food in the car to put out for starving dogs I cannot catch. But these squirrels are a destructive nuisance. There are far too many to catch and I simply am bewildered on how to handle them.
Suggestions would be appreciated. (06/17/2007)
My friend used pepper spray. Spray it as close to the nests as possible. Spray them if you can. They hate it! Guess what? Every squirrel left their yard. No more at all! Neighbors might be upset because the move elsewhere but they can buy spray too! : ) (06/18/2007)
By Debbie Columbia, SC
Jerry Baker, garden "expert" claimed the squirrels are just thirsty and that if you keep a bird bath full of water nearby, they will not eat the apples. This works for us. Good luck and God bless you. : ) (06/19/2007)
Coyote urine works for me, don't try and just use it around 1 tree, put it around your entire property, maybe even your neighbors. The stuff isn't cheap but if you are clever you can find ways to stretch it. (06/22/2007)
Feed them some peanuts and give them water. They love peanuts much more than apples. (06/27/2007)
I have just experienced raccoons eating apples from a new dwarf trees. I am very frustrated. We are in a residential area. I was going to hang windchimes from the limbs to alert me when they were "stealing" but I would probably be asleep.
They have traps for catching mice that work very well. I would think one could construct one larger for raccoons or squirrels and then take the occupant on a nice drive. It is a rectangle with one door that lets them push in to enter and get the goodie, but then is too long for them to push back out.
I also had more fun watching squirrels I was trying to detract from my bird feeder by tying peanuts in the foot section of a pair of tights. When I used string like rope, they got them down in 1 min. But when I used an electric cord they could not chew through so easily it stayed on the tree limb. They could not chew through the tights either. It was on a limb in a fir tree and they were hanging on it and that limb would go way up and down like a bungee cord while they were trying to get the nuts. They hung on for dear life as it kept going up and down. It was wild watching them.
Also, another thought, if seeds are left on the ground it could attract rodants. (09/28/2007)
Squirrels are a huge problem in my yard. They eat the buds, flowers and fruit if there is any left on my apple and pear trees. The neighbor feeds them peanuts, filberts, walnuts, corn plus there are several bird feeders. We also have 3 birdbaths and a pond where they can get water. So it is not because they don't have anything to eat. We also have 19 fir trees so they eat the pine cones also. They chew on my wooden mason bee houses and bird feeders of which I don't fill anymore. One of the squirrel proof feeders I purchased, they learned how to unhook the latch. I thought it was accidental or coincidental but it is not. It has been repeatedly unlatched. Last year I hung pouches of fox urine crystals in the fruit trees and had limited success. I am going to try hanging moth balls in the trees this year. (04/15/2008)
I read that hanging 1-foot long nylons filled with mothballs at various places in the tree will deter the squirrels. After three years of EVERY apple disappearing after growing to 1-2 inch diameter, I'm trying it this year! (05/14/2008)
I put an oscillating sprinkler under my almond tree, one of those long ones that go back and forth, and this seems to scare the squirrels away. I almost have a full crop this year. (5/26/08) (05/26/2008)
I've always had a dog who chased the squirrels when given the chance. She died last year and the squirrels have started to eat our strawberries as well. If you can get a dog that would work good, if not definitely do not befriend the squirrels. (06/21/2008)
Relax people, let these critters live. They don't know that the apples "belong" to someone. They are merely trying to survive. A.drachmann is right- go to the store and buy apples. Let these creatures eat. (06/29/2008)
Try bottle rockets, they're loud and harmless, just sit out on your porch quietly and launch at the first sign of trouble. They should hopefully relocate to get away from the fireworks. (09/19/2008)
I use the cheap rubber snakes available in the toy section of your dollar store or other. Hang them in your trees, changing their location everyday or so. Works for me. (09/30/2008)
Thanks for all the ideas, I think I will try the mothballs next year. I had baffles under the tree which helped for a while then as the apples matured they wiped them all out in one week. Since they are small trees, I could not get the baffles any higher than 4 ft. So much for spraying weekly.
I had tried years ago to trap them in Have a Hart traps but after trapping approximately 40 and moving them to a location 2 miles away on the other side of a lake I noticed I trapped the same one a week later. Did I move the same one all the time?
Since then I read that you need to move them 20 miles or so and with the price of gas, so much for trapping. (10/23/2008)
By Don B
To find out if you are deporting the same squirrel from your block. Catch the squirrel, hung a jingle bell to it's neck, paint the tell with a florescent paint, red, yellow, orange and release it. (07/06/2009)
I have been fighting those beautiful animals for several years, I have pear, apple, peach trees, cherry trees, and grapes. They chew on the apple and pear until they get to the seed, they eat the seeds and through the rest. Very wasteful.
Each Squirrel has its own zone of trees, if you get rid of one, you are resting for at least 10 days, until the rest of squirrels know that nobody own that zone, they they move in fighting each others until one of them wins.
Is there a way to discourage squirrels from feasting in my garden? They have eaten every apple on my three trees.