Post by heirloomfan on Jun 6, 2022 10:29:52 GMT -5
Hi everyone, wondered if I could get your thoughts and suggestions.
We moved into our current house in 2018. Previous homeowners had planted some fruit trees which do produce, but we have a very aggressive squirrel population who love to pick and ruin the fruit. Last year I purchased some net tree bags to put on the trees, they worked pretty well to keep the squirrels off, but they are very awkward to handle and install - they take several people just to try to cover a small to medium sized tree.
If we don't try to cover the trees, the squirrels begin pulling off any and all fruit. Often they don't wait for the fruit to ripen because they'll even bite into or pull off very small green fruit. So by the time we get to what would be harvest time, the squirrels have removed the fruit and we are left with bare trees. Or what is left that finally ripens they will take one bite out of the fruit and drop it on the ground.
We put up two bags on apple trees this weekend but would appreciate any suggestions as to what you do to preserve your fruit crops. I don't spray the trees and we try to grow organically.
Is access to the fruit crop made by going up the trunk of the tree? Or, can the squirrels jump from tree to tree, or access lower branches just by jumping?
If squirrels have to use the trunk of the tree, consider some sort of cover to surround the trunk and apply tanglefoot to the cover.
We once use a piece of drain tile (the black corrugated kind that farmers use), split it lengthwise to fit it around the tree trunk, then zip tied it together. This was for deer protection, then the tree outgrew it’s protection.
Or, you might just apply the tanglefoot to the tree trunk. Or reduce the squirrel population.
Gardening like I'm gonna live forever, right here in central Iowa. Posting since 2008. 👩🌾
Post by heirloomfan on Jun 6, 2022 15:29:35 GMT -5
The fruit trees were all planted close to fences, so they just run along the fence and jump on the tree - easy access.
The tree bags we are using have a drawstring at the bottom so we can pull it to gather against the trunk, so they can't slip up there that way. The tree bags do work but are a pain in the neck to try to get on, but last year when we first tried it was the first time we got fruit before they could remove or ruin it.
We have a spray called Squirrel Scoot, doesn't seem to bother them very much. Our next door neighbor has huge cedar trees and that's where some of the squirrels have nests. Occasionally we get a hawk that swoops in and gets them too. One problem is that I read in our neighborhood Next Door site that some people think they are very cute and set out food for them, so that keeps them around too!
Post by desertwoman on Jun 6, 2022 23:09:02 GMT -5
Could you make the fence inhospitable for the squirrels to run along? I've heard some people spray apple cider vinegar. Or grease the fence top . Electric fencing could work too, strung along the top. Or a couple of fake owl or hawk perched on the fence.
Northern New Mexico Zone 6b (formerly Zone 5) Posting since 2005
Post by heirloomfan on Jun 8, 2022 11:00:41 GMT -5
I have seen the squirrels go to our birdbath to get a drink but not sure where else they can get water. I think often they bite into a fruit and when they don't find that they like the fruit or the seeds, they just drop it on the ground.
We live in the suburbs, so our fences are shared with homeowners on the other side of the fence and wish I could do electric fencing! I will try the apple cider vinegar tip too. We have had a hawk come around lately, I did see early this spring that it caught a squirrel and hope that they continue to come around.
One thing I have also tried is to spray them with a direct jet of water from the hose, but I have to catch them at the right time to do that.
Post by heirloomfan on Jun 13, 2022 11:55:01 GMT -5
We had a group of very small squirrels for some reason show up yesterday running through the yard, garden, etc. We did live trap one of them and take them to the open space to release. But if all of these squirrels begin to reproduce it will be bad news!