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squirrels eating apples

Posted by Laura Sieger 
squirrels eating apples
March 14, 2022 07:38PM
A friend of mine has a Pink Delight tree that had its best crop yet in 2021, unfortunately all but 3 apples were eaten by squirrels in a short time.

Perhaps bird netting could be a solution? sounds like a bit of a hassle, but not impossible.

I'm assuming stove pipe around the trunk or electric fencing would do nothing since squirrels are so acrobatic. Has anyone else dealt with this pest issue? Any tried and true solutions or novel ideas?

thank you!

Maine Heritage Orchard
Unity, ME zone 5a
Re: squirrels eating apples
March 15, 2022 03:40AM
Oh, they are so cute and fun to watch. Then they took out over 90% of my walnuts, so it was game on. I tried a trap, didn't catch any. I just found a video and it says 'ground squirrels', so that may be the problem. After a couple of years I decided no more Mr. Nice Guy. My dogs will alert me when one is in a tree. The .22 gets it out of it. Permanently. Here's the video of the trap I got: [www.youtube.com]

Washington Okanogan Valley
Zone 6b
Re: squirrels eating apples
March 17, 2022 11:32PM
I’ve had issues with squirrels and chipmunks alike. Chipmunks particularly like my peaches and squirrels seem to aim for just about anything in reach (as acrobats EVERYTHING is in reach). I’ve found the only solution is to make friends with them. This doesn’t mean allowing them to eat up all the fruits but it does force us into the “if you can’t beat them, feed them” mentality. Squirrels tend to want food that they can store such as seeds and nuts. With this in mind, I’ve planted a hedge of hazelnuts beside my orchard along the forest edge that boarders it. Of coarse there’s a waiting period before they bear nuts but once established the squirrels seem to feed on nuts and leave the fruit alone. After reading James’ response about his walnuts all I could do was smirk (sorry James!). What James is observing there is a key part in working with these creatures to defend our fruit. Accepting that these nuts are for them and your fruits for you benefits both parties. When I do get the bit of nuts that are left over after squirrel season I look at that as a bonus!! Sunflowers seem to work wonders also but I prefer the perennial approach of hazelnuts due to the re-planting of sunflowers each year. Regardless the tactic stays the same.

I hope this helps!!



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/17/2022 11:35PM by Sam Lindenmuth.
Re: squirrels eating apples
March 18, 2022 06:25AM
I wish it were the apples the squirrels wanted, with 1500 trees there are plenty for them and myself. But i only have one walnut. But it was more than the walnut losses that wore a hole in the welcome mat. They were chewing holes in the poly pipe that irrigates the orchard. Very annoying and really unnecessary considering I have a tenant on the property that supplied them with food and water. And yes, everything is accessible to them. I've seen one jump 12 feet from one tree to another. I wouldn't put much hope in netting, they'd just chew through it.

Your solution, Sam, reminds me of another problem I had, wireworms. They were stinging my garlic and eating my potato crop. So, I did a bit of research to see what I could do about it. The solution was to put in a bait for them. And what was recommended? Potatoes. Needless to say, that ended my growing potatoes!
Re: squirrels eating apples
May 10, 2022 05:13PM
Thank you for your input, Sam and James!

I hadn't considered that they may just chew through the netting... such buggers.

We wondered if the combination of stovepipe around the trunk and netting on the ground (or staked to sit just above the ground underneath the tree) might deter some of them... The tree is not situated very close to others. Though being reminded of the great distances they can jump tree to tree makes me think that nut trees are a smart solution.

Too bad they aren't deterred by shiny things like birds. I've found that hanging cds in cherry trees keeps the birds away just long enough to get most of the crop as it ripens.

best of luck to you all with pest troubles this year.

Laura

Maine Heritage Orchard
Unity, ME zone 5a
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