I have one simple peach tree in my yard and this was the first year it was mature enough to produce a decent number of peaches. I quickly realized that I was going to run in to competition with the birds and the squirrels. So, I purchased netting.
It was fairly effective against the birds, but one day while working in my home office, I saw a squirrel come in to the yard. He scoped it out to make sure he was alone and took a flying leap at the peach tree. His momentum and weight took him half way up the tree, into the branch area. It gave him enough of a grip (netting is not solid!) to hang on, and he began reaching in and pulling branches towards him. Each branch he pulled in, brought another closer to him. Needless to say, he munched on about 6 peaches in as many minutes.
I chased him off and tried a new angle. I purchased chicken wire, and built a frame around the tree. Far enough from the branches, that his little arms couldn't pull in a branch. Then I sprayed it with a product called "Repel All" that contains nauseous smelling stuff like dried blood and garlic, that is supposed to scare the beegeebee's out of rodents, because it smells like a slaughterhouse. Well, that worked well for the squirrel, but then it got interesting.
I was on a business trip for two days during a heat wave. Evidently rats are not opposed to slaughterhouse scents, and a rat got in through the wire gauge. He chewed into every single remaining peach (leaving pits only on some). To his dismay, when he tried to exit, his bloated belly got him stuck in the wire at his mid-point. When I returned, I found this seriously decayed rat stuck in the wire!
I decided that if I couldn't have my fruit this year, neither could the rodents, and removed the cage, pulled every remaining fruit and threw them away. But for next year, I am hoping there is someone out there that has a real solution that I can use.
Please! There has to be something that doesn't cost 100 times the cost of the fruit itself!
Looking forward to your answers!
A very strong dose of hot pepper water, start spraying when peaches are tiny and I mixed a couple tablespoons of Murphys' oil soap with it. I got the privilege of eating my peaches this year.
Go to a site called "Deer Off". They make a spray for rodents that repels them and it works pretty good. I spray it on and in our farm trucks and machinery and buildings. They also make an excellent repellent for deer which I have used for many years. These are non-toxic and completely natural and they do not smell horrid like alot of the sprays. You will need to spray the trunks and branches from the ground up with the rodent repellent. I have used it on my fruit trees and shrubs because voles like to peel the bark off and them of course the trees die. I also spray it under my beans and peas so they do not eat them. Unwanted critters can sure take the fun out of gardening.
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