Fruit loss deterrence

apg4April 23, 2013

When I bought the house 32 years ago, I planted an apple tree in the front yard (golden delicious, supposedly)...and have yet to get a single apple! It's not the tree's fault.... Between the neighborhood kids and the squirrels, every one disappears long before they get anywhere near ripe. 5 year old grand-daughter loves to climb it, but she wised up right quick to store-bought apples tied to the branches with green twine.

This year, with early pruning, the tree was covered in blossoms. Lots of bees, so it looks to be the best fruit set ever this season.

Now the kids have ceased to be an issue (grown and moved away) but the squirrels.... They pick a golf ball sized apple, take a bite, spit it out as unripe and move on to the next 'til they're all gone. I've tried tree Tanglefoot, rubber snakes, plastic owls, various traps (both lethal and humane) to no success. Netting would be a PITA, and besides the bloody varmints could chew through any netting. One of the grand-dogs is a great squirrel hunter, but other than fencing the front yard, there's no way he can patrol the perimeter 24/7. If it was the back yard where I could, ummm, 'harvest' the miscreants in private, there would be lots of Brunswick stew in the freezer.

This is war.... Any suggestions on deterrence? I'm going to try a paint ball gun this year...with a tasteful shade of apple-green paint.


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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

A squirrel pole with snares will catch a lot squirrels they climb pole if there several already in snares. A leaning pole they can't resist climb.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:18PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

If there are no trees nearby they could jump onto the apple from and also no low branches they could directly jump up on to, put a baffle on the trunk. They sell baffles for bird feeders you can cut to be bigger to fit the tree, or make your own from sheet metal or old flying saucer or whatever.

Keep in mind that squirrels seem to be able to jump three times further than you think they can, and you should be able to set up a working baffle.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:32PM
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Lengthy threads have addressed this problem in the past. Numerous effective methods and some of dubious effectiveness have been proposed. Search the site, and you'll find all manner of proposals and testimonials.

Trapping - 'hav-a-hart'-type, Kania squirrel traps, Rat-zapper, and even the big old spring-loaded rat-trap types have been used with success. Some have used squirrel snare poles with success.
A high-powered air rifle/pellet gun, with a practiced marksman behind it can be very effective, and may or may not tip off the neighbors, as it makes little noise.
The 'big bucket o' death' seems to work well for a number of folks.
Essentially, its going to require constant, ongoing, diligent warfare against 'em - and remember, Nature abhors a vacuum - once you remove some, more will move in to take their place.
They're not an endangered species; termination is the order of the day; trapping and relocation is frowned upon by wildlife biologists - relocation often spells problems for the relocated animal, as well as the existing population a the release site - and unless you take the FAR away, they may beat you back to the house.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:57PM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

When food is scarce it is easy to trap with a Kania. I was very happy with mine. (My son lost the door and I haven't put it up for months.) They really like peanut butter and I'm pretty sure you could lure them in the back yard with it.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 5:28PM
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Thanks for the replies.... The tree has low branches, so a determined squirrel could easily make it past any baffles. And I have a scoped pellet gun that's a tack-driver at 25 feet, but in the front, there's no backstop for misses. Backyard is fully fenced with 7' high wood.

The trouble is, I've got the only garden for blocks in any direction: when you've got the only free lunch around, a lot of critters make a habit of visiting regularly. Just lost most of the fish in the pond to a heron...yeah, they were only $1.65 for a dozen, but they were 4 years old with several generations of offspring. Also, city critters don't seem to know from predators. Owl and snake decoys, even ones that move, don't seem to be much of a bother....


    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Just follow the the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: The answer to your problem

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 6:02PM
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Apples are very resilient. You could cut off the lower branches.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2013 at 9:02PM
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