How To Keep Squirrels Out Of Fruit Trees

Squirrel in fruit treeImagine waiting an entire season for the fruit to ripen on your backyard tree, and then going out one day to find all the fruit gone.

Below is a list of 5 things you can do to keep squirrels out of your fruit trees. But before getting into the list, here are some tips to remember:

Experiment with various squirrel control methods. What works for one person’s circumstances may not be as effective for another. Try using several deterrent methods at once. If one particular deterrent doesn’t scare away hungry squirrels, two or more methods implemented together might be enough to cause the average squirrel to change his mind and look elsewhere for ripening fruit.

Also, some squirrel deterrent methods work only for a short time before the squirrels figure them out, so you may need to mix things up and alternate between methods in order to keep squirrels out of fruit trees.

From simple to complex, here are 5 methods for keeping squirrels out of fruit trees:

1) Do nothing. Surprisingly, I have seen instances where squirrels will eat all the fruit from a tree one year but the next year will hardly touch it. This is most likely due to the culprit being deceased and subsequent generations looking elsewhere for food.

2) Let your dog out. Assuming you have a fenced in yard, this method can work well because nearly all breeds of dogs love to chase squirrels. However, it won’t work if the squirrels can gain access to your fruit tree from the branches of neighboring trees or from a roof, fence or any other structure that would allow the squirrels to stay above the ground and out of your dog’s reach.

3) Give the squirrels an alternative food source located away from your fruit tree. place squirrel feeders in some other part of your yard and keep them well stocked. This will not eliminate the loss of fruit from your tree but can greatly reduce it. Remember also that squirrels are very territorial: the idea that feeding squirrels will bring more squirrels into your yard is not true.

4) Use Christmas ornament hooks to hang shiny, wavy and noisy things in your fruit tree. This can be anything from old CDs that will spin in the wind and make shiny flashes of light, to simple ribbons of brightly colored material that will blow in the wind and create motion and movement in the tree that squirrels are not accustomed to. Again, as mentioned in my tips above, squirrels will eventually figure out there’s no danger, so switch them out for other items every couple of days (thus the reason for the Christmas ornament hooks, which make it easy to swap out the hanging items.) Also try strips of aluminum foil, aluminum pie trays, wind chimes, Styrofoam cups, empty one gallon water jugs, wind socks, etc. Just be aware that your neighbors might think your yard is beginning to look like a garbage dump.

5) Attach a metal barrier around the trunk of the tree to prevent squirrels from being able to climb up the trunk. Then trim low hanging branches, and the connecting branches from adjacent trees in order to isolate your fruit tree.

Make the metal barrier using sheet metal such as tin or aluminum.
It should cover a section of the trunk at least two feet tall to prevent the squirrels from climbing past it.Keep Squirrels out of fruit Trees It should be situated about six feet from the ground so that squirrels can not leap beyond it from the ground. It’s best not to drive nails or screws into the trunk of your tree, instead try rolling the sheet metal into a circumference smaller than that of the tree trunk so that the metal has to be expanded when installed on the trunk and when released will then grip the tree trunk itself by trying to return to its smaller diameter. You can also bend inward, the two corners that contact the tree’s bark, the same way you would dog-ear the page of a book. This will cause the sheet metal to grip the bark with greater strength, (when working with sharp metal, wear gloves.)

It’s extremely important that you remove it at the end of the fruit season, otherwise it will eventually deform the tree. The trunk above and below the metal barrier will continue to grow and increase in diameter while the portion of the trunk that is wrapped in metal will not grow. You can use the same piece of metal for next year’s fruit season it’s just that it can not remain on the tree all year long.

Also keep in mind that this method will not work if the tree is close to your house where squirrels can jump from the roof into the tree. The same thing goes for fences or any other structure from which a squirrel could leap to a branch of the tree.

Here’s hoping for baskets of fruit you and your family will be enjoying this year.

For more information, check out the home page of How To Stop Squirrels.

15 Responses

  1. Here is another idea on how to scare off squirrels.

    If you have dog and an extra dog bed that is stinky and unwashed, put it up in a fruit tree — or place wherever you want to scare off squirrels and other rodents. This tactic has been successfully working here.

    1. That’s a great idea. I had never thought of that before. So the dog’s pillow or blanket is placed up in the tree, thus the squirrels smell the dog, think there’s a predator in or near the tree and so the squirrel leaves. It’s actually quite brilliant. Good idea. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Got rid of the problem by cutting an orange from my tree in half, opening a few sections and mixing cayenne pepper inside. Then impaled the orange halves back on the tree.

    1. Brilliant.

    2. Hi !
      I like your idea with the oranges and cayenne pepper. I hope to try this on my beautiful sunflowers. Maybe this will be the year I can enjoy tthe sunflowers on their stems as opposed to scattered on the ground by my squirrely beavers who like to chop the heads off of my sunflowers, drag them under a tree and eat to their hearts delight! Thank you

  3. We have a ton of squirrels and I was just wanting to keep them from eating a woodpecker block. I have other feeders that they get on but they still wouldn’t leave my food block alone until I did this. I placed the block in a wire holder on a shepherds hook. Then bought Crisco in a block type package like butter. I grease the pole from the ground up about 4 feet. They still jump to the pole but slowly slide back to the ground. After a few days most will quit trying. When I look outside and see one has made it I grease the pole again.

    1. Brilliant. Thanks for visiting this site and adding this advice.

  4. I have a fence that the squirrels can use to jump onto my peach tree. I was thinking about just throwing a net over the tree. What do you think?

  5. I am thinking about netting my small Apricot tree it pumps out apricots and every year the same squirrel comes and eats all of them, this year there were tons for a little tree…I am going to try the fruit and cayenne and the netting.

    1. Hi Renee, thanks for writing. If the tree is large enough you might also try a tree baffle. Check out this link for a simple Do It Yourself tree baffle. Tree Baffle

  6. We tried netting two years in a row and it failed both times. They eat through the net or find a way inside. Squirrels ate an entire crop of peaches each time. We’re going to try other methods this year – baffles, electric wire tape, and/or scat mat. Hopefully, we’ll get to enjoy the peaches this year!

  7. My peach tree was a buffet this spring for the squirrels and now they’ve moved onto my avocado tree. I hope something works because they have cleaned out my peach tree..

  8. Can I use my little stocking bag of cinnamon and cayenne pepper for my avocado tree squirrels to keep away?

    1. Hi Liz,
      Yes, the bag of cinnamon and cayenne pepper will probably work. give it a try and see what happens.

  9. I use 10″ round metal duct pipe from Home Depot and place it around the trunk of my trees. The duct pipe comes flat, you just wrap it around the tree and snap it together. I place 3 screws to insure it stays together. If you need larger diameter, you can join duct pipes together.
    I found if you suspend it off the ground like the photo above, the squirrels squeeze between the pipe and trunk (my first year mistake). You need to place the pipe on the ground and even dig out a little so the squirrels can’t get under it. If you get a diameter that is quite large, you won’t have to remove it for years to come. Also you need to trim up all your branches to at least 4 ft off the ground so the squirrels can’t jump into the tree (my second year mistake).
    Now I get walnut harvest every year, where before the squirrels got every walnut.