All of peaches gone???

frankielynnsie(7B)July 16, 2014

I went out to pick my 1st crop of peaches and every single one was gone. No signs of them being eaten anywhere on the ground. Some were too high for deer. What creature could have done this? The limbs are still little and none were broken. These trees were only in their 2nd year of being planted. Could it have been squirrels or a person?

I am heart broken but if it was squirrels I will try to keep them out next year. We live away from people unless it was the mail woman, power or gas reader.

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spartan-apple

Greetings:

My supposed "first crop" of peaches 14 years ago was the same. 15 nice
looking peaches on a young tree. A few days later, all were
gone.

The following year I trapped the squirrels with a live trap
and got a good crop. Every year since then, I have battled
squirrels. Even got a coon one night in the trap too.

Now my peaches are out in the country on a very open piece of land and no squirrel issues. Instead I battle deer chewing up the apple trees.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:31AM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)

I agree with Spartan. Squirrels most likely stole your fruit.

They work fast and can strip a tree of fruit in no time, leaving no evidence.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:30PM
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thapranksta(Mid TN 7A)

I was going to start my own post on the same subject but I have another sad squirrel story. I was expecting my first crop this year - had 12 Asian pear that were getting more and more ripe each day and starting to grow to about the size of a tennis ball. I looked with delight with each passing day convinced that they were not yet ripe enough to fully enjoy them but getting pretty close to it. My pear is a Shinseiki by the way.

About two days ago, I go out to my tree and every pear except one was gone. I just couldn't believe it. I mean I have read about this issue constantly on the forum and I knew it could happen but until it happens to YOU...the reality doesn't really dawn on you. The one pear that was left was the smallest and was likely not spotted because it was the lowest one with the most russetting. It was a tasty pear indeed but I'm stuck wondering about the true potential of it if it had been left to fully ripen and how much better the larger ones might have been.

I've read about all the remedies and it seems nothing is a foolproof method. I don't know whether to trap 'em, keep a feeder stocked with sunflower seeds, wait until my other fruit set good crops and see if some magical fruit is left alone, or create some type of barrier. From what I understand, repellents don't work.

It really stings frankielynn to have your harvest stolen like that but you are not alone. I don't know if I will battle the squirrels for years like some of you guys or start to focus more on berries that the squirrels tend to avoid. :-(

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:48PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

The good news is those fruits were ripe! :)
Next year if I have peaches, my dog is going to have to live outside a week before they ripen!
I have had no squirrels dare enter the yard. He is just 1 1/2 and super fast. He can jump 6 feet easy. An Aussie, a Frisbee dog. And he is really annoyed when a squirrel even is close to the yard. last year we cornered one, he tried to get past me, instead of the other way with Jesse. I had a stick. I missed his head, but got his leg, broke it good. Never seen another since. But they will be back, i'll be ready...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 8:07PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I feel for you. I got 2 Tomcot apricots this summer, which were almost ripe. I went out 2 days later to pick a few more and there wasn't a single fruit left on the tree (there had been 20+).

Recently, they've been eating my PF1 peaches. Here's one which was left attached to the tree. Does this look like squirrels, or could it be birds? I've seen them fly up from the tree as soon as I approach, so while squirrels and ground hog are my number 1 suspicion, I figured it could also be birds.

FYI- those are NJF 16 Tangos in the background, which haven't yet been bothered (not ripe enough).

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:44AM
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garymc(7 S.E.Mo)

My apples and plums all get taken long before they're ripe. They don't get as big as golf balls when the squirrels pick them all. I've trapped and shot a couple, but to seriously discourage them, I'd have to take out 30 or more. Some year I'll take the time.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 1:02AM
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nyRockFarmer(5A Southern Tier, NY)

I've seen chipmunks do the same thing with apples. They shred apple down to the seed, leaving apple halves all over the place. It's such a waste. If only we could cut a deal where we return the core after processing the fruit. Then we could all be happy!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 7:19AM
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milehighgirl(CO USDA 5B/Sunset 2B)

This is a touchy subject with those who have not lost fruit to "tree rats". I never would have imagined me, of all people, trapping squirrels, but I do now. I don't trap and relocate because that just moves the problem to someone else's trees. I use a Kania and I have alleviated the problem quite a bit. It's better to trap in the winter when they are hungry and before they start to breed. Squirrel trapping is one of the most covered subjects here so if you do a search you will come up with way too much info. The fact is that they simply must be gotten rid of or you will not have any fruit ever. It's a waste of time trying to grow fruit with squirrels around. I also caught a raccoon in my trap, which I felt very bad about. I have yet to feel the same way about raccoons as I do about squirrels; probably because I have bred and raised ferrets and they are quite a lot alike.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 12:19PM
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frankielynnsie(7B)

Thank you for your responses. I hate that the squirrels ate my peaches but I feel better about it being them than a 2 legged fruit robber. Next year I will do something about it. I guess I will start my research now.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 11:21PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Bob, that peach looks like what my birds do. My squirrels want to remove the fruit and run up a big tree or pole to eat in safety.

MHG, I also caught a raccoon in my Kania trap. Only his hand was caught and I had to shoot it. I hate raccoons in the abstract but it was painful to have to kill the guy.

I need to go out now to re-bait the traps. I'm up to about 25 squirrels trapped for this year. I have done OK fruit-wise but they got most of my white apricot harvest which was very small. This year I switched to having two of my Kania traps mobile, they are mounted on poles and I can move them to intercept the squirrels as they go between the fruit and the nearby tall trees. This has greatly improved my catch rate.

Scott

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 8:53AM
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thapranksta(Mid TN 7A)

Living with the woods just over the fence in my backyard...I'm not sure how many I'd have to trap to make a dent or really convince them to avoid my trees.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 7:17PM
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charleney(8a PNW)

Good God...we have them both that rob our huge walnut tree every year. In one night when the hulls start to crack they are gone. We have neighbors that feed the stinking raccoons. Every night there is about 20 of them that stream across our pasture, because she calls them for dinner. Please do not buy food for any of them. They do not have a normal 'die off'. The neighbor's 3 yr. old was threatened on their very small back porch. He shoots them and throws them over the fence to the lady that feeds them. Sorry folks , I cannot commiserate about it. I do not like to see anything killed. that woman sets them up for it, and it is a shame that she does. My dogs are out in a fenced yard almost all the time, but don't bother the wildlife. I have to buy the walnuts from Costco. Seems pretty unfair when we pay high taxes on our acreage, and cannot use it for our pleasure. Ok! enough rant!!! Any great advice on keeping the squirrels out of the tree.??

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Skie_M(Zone 7 (Southwestern Oklahoma)

Get a decent pellet gun and shoot them in the head...

Anything with greater than 400 fps muzzle velocity should do the job at close range (under 15 meters) ... but from longer range, you'll want something upwards of 700 fps muzzle velocity. There's no need to get all fancy with the "hunting pellets" ... those are to enable one to take small game (rabbits and such) with their pellet guns. Regular bb's will do just fine.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 9:39PM
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Chuck999xxy

I have battled this for about 3 yrs. Lost 2 crops entirely as they were about 2 days away from me picking them.
Found it to be raccoons in my case. Covered the tree (small) with netting and was able to save about 95% of the peaches.
Next year I will add an electric fence around the tree.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 10:49PM
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Tony(Zone 5. Omaha, Nebraska)

So far this year I have got 6 squirrels in my Kania traps, two coons, and 2 possums in my havahart traps. I hate the coon the most because they can break the small branches.

Tony

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:00AM
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goodground(z6 NJ)

The first year I had peaches, all the fruit was taken overnight before I planned to harvest the next day. The following year I got an aluminum sheet and wrapped around the trunk. It worked great because it kept them from climbing the tree.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:50AM
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