Imagine 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. 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.