I seem to be growing squirrel food?? How to Scare them off??

ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)September 11, 2009

Everything I grow seems to be for them. I am serious! I have not eaten a single fig from my fig tree or a guava from my guava tree. They eat them all up. Or bite them and toss them on the ground. And they dig up all the pots with my seedlings or cuttings. I work outside the home all day and am not around to monitor them. How can I scare them off? I need to make them too scared to enter my yard. And do it humanely. I actually like them if they do not destroy my yard. Using animal urine is too gross. Can i buy some scary looking object - like and owl or something that makes them run away? I have a feeling that they are too smart for that, though.

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Good luck! They stole my plums also. I had more birds after my plums that squirrels.
That animal urine you can buy is obtained in a very cruel way.
You might try the bird netting over the tree, but you would have to anchor it around the main branches or trunk.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 5:22PM
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hosenemesis(SoCal Sunset 19 USDA 8b)

There is no way to scare them off.
I got two nectarines this year.
They damaged every avocado if they did not eat it entirely.
I won't even tell you about the walnuts and the figs.

I tried bird netting with an upside-down plastic pot encircling and lashed to the tree trunk with big gobs of vaseline all over it to get on their ratty little paws and fur, but they just have shinier, glossier coats now.

If we were not in a drought, I would recommend buying a motion-sensing sprinkler for each plant.

I have heard that people have temporary success with high-powered pellet guns, but new squirrels just move in when the old ones are sent to The Dark Side where they originated.

By the way, I am home all day, and they just laugh at me.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 12:08AM
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trillianh(GW 9 /Sunset 15 /Nor CA)

Need to borrow my dog? She is a Corgi, the best little squirrel chaser money can buy! Or you can rescue a shelter cat!

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 12:20PM
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Meh, they don't bother me. We all need to eat. Perhaps you can provide them with something else in abundance, so they might leave your prized things alone? I have just put out tons of sunflower seed heads for them (from a friend's garden). They haven't touched my figs.

Pick your fruit on the early side? I try to live in harmony with all the critters I have in the garden (*excepting gophers!*)... Can't we all just get along? :-)

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 12:58PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

I have not gotten anything from my garden to date. And i have been planting and toiling for years. I guess I just need to vent.
And voodoobrew, I have the same question as you - why can't we share and live in harmony? Why do the squirrels need to get 100% of all the fruit that I grow???

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 2:16PM
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CA Kate

We are but a giant Oasis for the squirrels that get almost all of everything I grow. I don't even bother to spray the fruit trees anymore since the squirrels don't care and we never get any of the fruit anyway. The only things have have ever worked to keep the population down is a good squirrel dog and a 22.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 4:24PM
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maps31(5 salt lake city, UT)

I live in critter country. deer were sleeping in the garden area when I moved in.
You work outside of the home, really wouldn't help that much if you were home all the time. A dog is a great idea. They do have Owls that you can get at garden and grain stores. Ace. They are intended to scare other birds away. I cat would be good if you dont want a dog, since you work so much, cats dont care that much about us.... just ask one. For deer some people put human hair in netting and hang it about, some use dryer sheets, grated soap. if the squirrels are afraid of humans those would help. I know that urine can be a gross thought, but bring over the neighbors dog, heaven knows dogs like to mark.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 12:11AM
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Feh, my favorite topic.
Some years are just better than others.
Last year, the squirrels were off the charts in terms of depredations. We got zip.
This year, they are around, but are being quite courteous about sharing. These must be the "second-string" squirrels and the varsity is off working some other area.
We got figs and tomatoes, even some strawberries.
Just one of those infuriating gardening realities. I feel your pain.
Dogs work. Nothing else does really. It is impractical for you personally to "guard" your yard 24 hours a day. A dog really doesn't mind doing it for you.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 12:24PM
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I have managed to keep the squirrels off my fruit trees by draping bed sheets over the branches with the most fruit, and also at the place they just to the tree from another tree. They don't like things overhead. I use 2-3 bedsheets for one medium size apricot tree, just the last 4 weeks before the fruit is ripe, so it doesn't look crazy for long. You can move them around by using the handle of a broom. Try to make it cave-like over the fruit. Eventually they will get used to the configuration of sheets, so if you are trying to save the last few, move the sheets into a different position. You can also use sheer curtains that you can tie the ends , since the fruit still gets the sunshine through the sheerness.

I really wouldn't recommend bird netting because other critters get caught in it and die, like bats, birds, gopher snakes, sometimes cats and squirrels get it caught on themselves when they are up in the trees and try to run with it, only to hang or get tangled. One piece I used blew down in the wind and into the driveway, under my car and wound itself around the axel as I drove, just about pulling the brake line loose.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 2:40PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

My problem is that they ruin the unripe fruit too - they seem to bite it and drop it and move on - as if they are testing them or maybe playing with them.
My neighbor's outdoor cat is always sleeping in my yard - no use at all.
I might try the bedsheet, thanks! An old lady living down my street suggested that i tie clear plastic bags (with holes punched in them) around each clump of fruit. I have only a dozen figs, so i just finished doing it. Though I am not sure if there is a downside to this.
Might try the bedsheet on the guava and apple trees.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 4:41PM
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Oh yeah, this also works for some fruit. For apples we tie an opaque plastic grocery bag around the fruit when the fruit is small and green. Obviously it is impossible to tie a bag around every clump of apples. But we have found that the squirrels will take all the fruit that is not protected. Now we are discovering that the big apples that are left no longer need the protection. The plastic bags have split due to sun exposure, the apples are exposed, but the squirrels are not bothering them...yet (a caveat, the "yet", things may change). So maybe squirrels are not so smart after all and they feed in cycles, like early spring they take all the green apples, then move on to the next item on their nefarious plunder list.
Bags around clumps of cherries also works. Bagging things like this is extra work though, no doubt about it.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 12:23PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

deep___roots, all that I am asking for is to eat a couple of fruits from my trees :) Better than none at all! So, bagging a few is not problem at all. I will post what happens to the bagged fruit to keep everyone updated.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 2:45PM
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home_grower(SoCal Z9 S18)

It could be worse. I thought I had squirels eating up my Roma tomatoes but they were getting stolen at night. I was taking my little dog out back when I heard some rustling in the bush. Turns out it was a rather large field rat. I haven't had any in a while so I dug out the trap and set a nice juicy one in the center of it. Then I picked all the ripe ones. I got it by the next day.

I have small block walls with a rot iron fence that I have covered 90% of it with 1/2" square mesh but the one area I hadn't covered was behind the garden. It was put up to keep out snakes and rabbits but I guess I will have to finish it to keep out the rats too.

The area directly behind my house is city property filled with dense brush so the smaller critters just love it.

Good luck with the squirrels.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 3:20AM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

we just finally gave up on our little orchard - tried for years to get some decent amount of fruit, but with gophers, squirrels, rats and birds, not to mention leaf curl and water conservation it just got too discouraging and the continual frustrations were not good for our blood pressure.
now we have raywood ash and chinese pistache trees for shade instead. luckily, the farmer's market is close by and has lovely fruit for us to enjoy.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2009 at 8:46PM
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ashleysf(9 San Jose,CA)

min3, I believe that I will eventually come to your conclusion too!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 12:56AM
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I know how frustrating it is to deal with the critters and fruit trees, but if you hang in there it does get better. The trees find their way around the gopher runs, and the gophers eventually leave them alone. I had two really rare heirloom apple trees that were about 2 years old, and one day one was shaking violently from a gopher, I snatched it out and put it in a big pot until it got its roots back.

Then I started planting perennials in a double layer of chicken wire (which eventually rots, but they get about 18 months that gives the roots a good advantage) and surround the roots when planting with gladiolus bulbs down at gopher level, about 6 inches, at least 5 bulbs. Daffodil bulbs work, too, but they finish early and the gophers will push them back up. So a combo of gladiolus and daffodils works with a spring/summer active bulb growth. And they are a really colorful addition as well. they multiply, making a barrier about the roots at gopher level.

And I make sure I kill the gophers and moles as well, but they still come back. Daffodil bulbs are at the stores in the fall, now. Then covering the fruit is well worth it. Grape growers put stretchy netting over the grapes for the same reason. But sheet curtains and bedsheets are easier to get on and off.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 11:22AM
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The fun never stops.
So last Thursday after work I'm checking my carrot box, which is a wooden box about 2 feet by 1 foot and about 12 inches deep. I've got maybe 20 carrots growing in there. Nice bushy tops, things look good. Then I notice there has been some disturbance. Then I notice that a carrot has been excavated; not eaten, just dug up. Nice 4 inch long Nantes.
Guess who? Probably a random incident, but this is why I hate squirrels. No good for nothing, they are. (sigh) 19 carrots.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 11:52AM
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Ashley- The school of hard knocks is now in session. There's only one effective solution for squirrels- eradicate them. The only choices you've got are to do it yourself, or pay a farmer to do it for you.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 6:19PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

some years ago we TRIED eliminating the squirrels! dh shot some of them, but we live along a creek and we think others were coming from a mile around us, using the creekside trees as a highway to our little orchard. they never stopped coming and very soon we couldn't bear the killing anymore. ever since then we have let our land be a natural habitat.

sorry ashleysf. i hope you have a good farmer's market near you, with beautiful organic fruit.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2009 at 8:35PM
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Hello everyone! I have the perfect solution!!!

I have attached a link to what cage you need (gotten from Home Depot).

I have had all the above problems that you all have. We have fruit trees and a walnut tree. Long story short, we got a cage from our neighbors and set it up next to our walnut tree, just next to the base of the tree where they (the evil squirrels) will have easy access.

The key is you have to smear the peanut butter on the middle ramp, so that they will have to lick it to get it off.
Also set the trap so its easy to set it off.

It took us 3 days but the 3rd day we caught 2 of them within 4 hours!

Here is a link that might be useful: Squirrel cage that you need to get!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 10:54PM
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The Squirrelinator Cage Works!!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 7:22PM
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What do you do with the squirrels after you catch them? I don't have as large a squirrel problem as others, probably because all my neighbors have dogs, and so they don't come around that much. The worst the squirrels do is dig up plants that I then have to repot. They don't touch citrus fruit, but they did eat figs that I had in Venice, although they could barely make a dent in my crop there.

When I lived in Venice, I caught possums in a cardboard box using cat food as bait. After the possums crawled in and started eating, I closed up the box, put it in my car (with the possums still crunching away at the cat food), and turned them loose in a park where there were a lot of dogs. I should have called Animal Control to exterminate them, but I didn't want to wait for that. I hope they got eaten by dogs, but I doubt that happened.

For me, a dog would do more damage than a squirrel in my back yard and be much more annoying, and so I'm glad that my neighbors' dogs tend to repel them.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 7:33PM
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