New critter-proof strawberry bed?

fruitmaven.WIz5(5)June 30, 2012

I planted June-bearing and Day-neutral strawberries in spring of 2011, and was looking forward to a good harvest this year. Of course, the weird spring weather and normal April frosts knocked out a few blossoms, that's my fault for not covering them every night. But the real reason I didn't get berries was the 13-striped ground squirrels! I'm sure other people have run into this problem, and I was planning on building a critter-proof strawberry bed and replanting my current plants. I'd love to hear some suggestions on how people have dealt with the critter problems! (I don't think I can trap/shoot/poison them all, since they're endemic in my neighborhood. I'm thinking physical barriers.)

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IT has to be mentioned, if only because people use this method the most. You can trap and poison them. In reality its the easiest thing to do (I wouldnt do that myself, and it seems like you wouldnt either).

You could try to invest in some dogs. Dogs love to chase squirrels. Try and look up their natural predators as well, some might be welcome in your yard.

You could try to make a mini "hoophouse", which is simply branches/something half circle, stuck in the ground to make a half tube, then wrap that in plastic. If youre worried about excess moisture/heat, then try thick metal window screen.

Lastly, you could try interplanting some daffodil witht he strawberries. I think its supposed to detur digging mammals, but the daffodil corms are extremely poisonous to squirrels, moles and voles. They seem to detur squirrels from going into my beds all together. Just a thought...

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 9:16AM
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howelbama(7 NJ)

Here is a YouTube video with strawberry beds that have varying degrees of critter protection.

Here is a link that might be useful: Strawberries

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 4:23PM
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malaec(z6 NJ)

I don't have ground squirrels, but I have regular grey squirrels and chipmunks, both love strawberries. Last 2 years we covered entire strawberry bed (which is 3-5 ft wide and about 25 ft long) with a sturdy bird netting mesh and pinned it with metal staples every 1-2 ft or so. Both years we had huge harvest and very minimal damage! When harvesting berries, simply un-pin one side and open the mesh like a blanket, and then put it back and pin down. I think the critters just don't like that mesh. Few years before that we haven't seen a berry - all got eaten by the critters... We usually remove the mesh soon after the harvest.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2012 at 10:48PM
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I would trap/shoot/poison them, but I think the ones next door would have babies and move in again! They really are everywhere in my neighborhood. We aren't interested in a dog or cat for control, for allergy reasons.
I love the daffodil idea! I might have to throw some in just for ornamental reasons.
It looks like I will build a new raised bed and line the bottom with 1/2" hardware cloth, then fence or net the sides and top. My husband says, "Are strawberries really worth that much work?" Yes!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 5:02PM
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