Keeping Squirrels Out of Fruit Trees

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 page about keeping squirrels out if fruit trees.
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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.

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August 12, 2013

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.

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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)

Supplies:

  • 50 ft deer cloth net
  • 12 ft pipe or pole
  • 40 in twist ties
  • 2 yd rope
  • 6 yd Top Hat lattice or 6 at 1/2 inch x 8 foot plastic pipes

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.

Steps:

  1. First, I had help. We took a plastic pipe, about 3 inch diameter, and tied it vertically to the trunk of the tree. It is about 2 feet taller than the top branch.
  2. After encircling the 10 foot tree, starting at the top, several times, I tied where the wrapped deer cloth overlapped in many places, using twist ties from the produce department in the grocery store.
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  4. I took the loose net that was next to the ground and tied all of it up to the trunk at the bottom of the trunk, using a piece of plastic rope.
  5. After the apples started weighing on the netting, I sorta crawled up and in and attached a leftover piece of plastic lattice fence horizontally on the tip top of the pipe to create a "hat" to hold the net away from the branches. I should have put in 2 or 3 to make an X. Next year.
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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. A gentle breeze will twist and turn them, causing the critters to leave the cherries alone. I don't put them out until just before harvest because, like anything else, once the critters become used to them they are useless as a deterrent. As soon as the harvest is done, I bring them in to keep until next year.

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Where do I get so many CDs? I accumulate them all year long and even have family members hand me theirs. Some are old broken CD's or DVD's. Each new electronic device has a CD to give directions, making the old ones obsolete. By the time cherry picking time is here, I have quite a stack of them.

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

Does anyone know how to keep squirrels from eating the fruit off the peach and plum trees?

Answers

Anonymous
April 8, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

The only solution I found this put a rubber snake in the base of the tree

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April 29, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

I found a four inch four foot hot water vent pipe worked beautifully. Simply pt the pipe on the tree and snap it closed. Squirrels cannot get a grip on the smooth pipe. Fun to watch them slide down.

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Anonymous
May 13, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Just put human hair around the tree in the ground. You can get in a beuty salón, the squirrels don't like it AND stay away from the tree.

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May 18, 2012

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.

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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

Answers

May 18, 20121 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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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.

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June 14, 20160 found this helpful
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Maybe mac tac (sticky shelf liner) turned upside down with the sticky side up?

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August 24, 2011

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.

By Barb

Answers

August 29, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.

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July 25, 2010

How do you keep squirrels out of nut and fruit trees?

Hardiness Zone: 8a

By Sarah from MS

Answers

October 17, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

We tried Rolling Stones, Rod Stewart AC/DC to no avail until we tried Carol Burnett Comedy Tapes- Alas: All Squirrels gone. It's her high stupid laughs and corny corny jokes that seems to send them packing!

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We live in Greenville, in southeast Missouri. Any safe easy suggestions on stopping squirrels or raccoons from eating our peaches? I am not sure which creatures are eating them. We absolutely do not want to harm them! They are eating the peaches before they get ripe. Again is there a safe way to stop them? It is starting to get a bit frustrating! Thank you.

Answers

June 21, 20160 found this helpful
Best Answer

Birds and people, as well as raccoons and squirrels, love peaches. You can try wrapping the trees in mesh fabric, repetitive loud sounds, lights, etc.
Good Luck!

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July 23, 2017

We have three fruit trees (apple and peach) and we are having issues with squirrels. We have lived in our house for three years and not once have we been able to harvest our fruit because they all get eaten. These fruit trees are old and planted along a fence line and surrounded by larger trees. Even if we put deterrents around the base of the trees, the squirrels can just jump to the fruit trees from the other trees. Any suggestions on getting those dang squirrels to leave our fruit trees alone? And no, cutting down the other trees is not an option.

Answers

July 24, 20170 found this helpful

We cover our trees up with a net so the squirrels cannot get in.

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July 24, 20170 found this helpful

We net ours, as well. We have tried everything else (spicy sprays, CDs, everything).. The net is the best.

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July 25, 20170 found this helpful

Netting or cheesecloth

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July 30, 20170 found this helpful

I do not believe you will be able to cover your trees with netting and only partially covering will only help the squirrels do a better job.

I have some suggestions; some I have used, others just heard about. 1.) Let your dog out (of course, assuming you have a dog) 2.) Fix squirrels an alternative food source located away from your fruit trees. This may/will not eliminate the loss of fruit from your trees but can greatly reduce it.

3.) This I recently read: Use Christmas ornament hooks to hang shiny, wavy and noisy things in your fruit tree. (CDs, cut ribbons from brightly colored material that will blow in the wind, strips of aluminum foil, aluminum pie trays, wind chimes, Styrofoam cups, empty one gallon water jugs, wind socks,) just add or move things around every few days.

4.) Internet site: For best results, put fake snakes and other simulated predators in place just before fruits begin ripening and remove them right after harvest. Consider moving them about during the harvest, too, to keep squirrels from becoming accustomed to their presence.

Here are a couple of sites that also have some suggestions;

www.gardeningknowhow.com/.../squirrel-proof-fruit-trees.htm

www.rodalesorganiclife.com/.../defend-your-fruit-trees-squirrels

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August 13, 20170 found this helpful

Try hanging some windsocks on or near the trees. It only works awhile, and you have to often move them.

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Archives

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April 24, 2010

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 Russell from Omaha, NE

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August 31, 2009

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.

By Chell

Answers:

Keeping Squirrels off of Fruit Trees

Here is a recipe called Squirrel Beaters Tonic

Mix all together and pour in a hand sprayer and spray all over fruit. Hope it works for you. I have not tried it yet but plan to.
(05/20/2008)

By Raymond

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August 31, 2009

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

Answers:

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By susan

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Lynda

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By barbara brundon

Squirrels Eating My Apples

Feed them some peanuts and give them water. They love peanuts much more than apples. (06/27/2007)

By gardenman

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Laura

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Mars

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Ernie

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Bill

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Ken

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By maddy

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Chris

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Betty

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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)

By Shabaz

Squirrels Eating My Apples

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.
(07/06/2009)

By Shabaz

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June 16, 2007

Is there a way to discourage squirrels from feasting in my garden? They have eaten every apple on my three trees.

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July 25, 2010

Can I use hot sauce to protect a peach tree from squirrels?

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