As a nature lover who has spent years observing squirrels, I understand how frustrating it can be when they target your fruit trees. But, how to keep squirrels away from fruit trees?
Squirrels can be deterred from fruit trees through:
- Physical barriers
- Scare tactics
- Limiting their access to food and shelter
By using a combination of several tactics, you can successfully protect your trees without harming squirrels.
While squirrels play an important role in forest ecosystems, they can also be quite destructive in home gardens. If you’ve had problems with squirrels stealing the fruits of your labor, this guide will provide you with easy, effective, and humane methods to keep squirrels away from fruit trees.
Table Of Contents
How to Keep Squirrels Away from Fruit Trees
Here are the best methods to keep squirrels out of your garden and away from your precious fruit trees:
1. Use Ultrasonic Repellers
Strategically place ultrasonic repellers that emit high-frequency sounds around fruit trees. The sounds are imperceptible to humans but frighten squirrels away. It’s important for those devices to be motion-activated, otherwise, the effectiveness may decrease over time as squirrels become accustomed.
Here’s the best ultrasonic device to repel squirrels. It’s motion-activated and also solar-powered, so you don’t have to worry about changing batteries.
The Best Squirrel Repellent
2. Netting and Fencing
Physical barriers like nets, fences, and wraps prevent squirrels from climbing trunks. For small trees, wrap bird netting around the canopy and trunk. For larger trees, check the collars later in the article. Squirrels can’t climb past barriers.
Here are the best squirrel-proof netting and fencing options for you:
The Best Squirrel-Proof Barriers
3. Install Tree Collars
Wrap tree trunks in a 2ft tall metal or plastic collar about 5ft off the ground. Attach using wire or screws, making sure it’s flushed against the trunk. Smooth surfaces prevent squirrels from gaining the footing needed to climb past the barrier.
If you would like to try a trunk protector (something that will make it difficult for squirrels to climb), here’s one of them:
4. Remove Food Sources
Eliminate any food sources around fruit trees, such as fallen fruits, nuts, and bird food. Hungry squirrels will be less likely to target the tree if other food isn’t readily available. Regularly harvest fruits as they ripen to remove any easy pickings.
Also, if you have bird feeders, move them away from your fruit trees and make sure to use squirrel-proof bird feeders like the ones below to avoid attracting squirrels in your yard.
Best Squirrel-Proof Bird Feeder
5. Use Repellents
Spread or spray repellents with strong smells around trees. Predator urine, mint oil, and garlic repel squirrels without harming them. Reapply repellents frequently, especially after rain. Coffee grounds and chili powder also deter squirrels when applied liberally.
Here’s the most effective squirrel repellent that you can spread around your fruit trees:
Use decoys, noisemakers, and scarecrows to frighten squirrels away. Position owl or snake decoys in trees, and move them frequently. Hang aluminum pie plates or old CDs to scare them with noise and flashes. Squirt approaching squirrels with water guns for immediate deterrence.
Here’s the best predator decoy that you can place near your fruit trees:
7. Use Plants as Barriers
Plant squirrel-repelling plants like mint, marigolds, or mustard underneath fruit trees. Strong scents from these plants discourage squirrels from crossing into the planting area. You can also spread coffee grounds around the bases of plants.
Here are the best companion plants to use to repel squirrels:
8. Prune Tree Canopies
Prune trees to remove low-hanging branches that provide squirrels easy access. Cut back any branches touching buildings, fences, or wires that squirrels can jump from. Increase the distance squirrels have to travel to reach fruits.
9. Apply Petroleum Jelly
Coat tree trunks with petroleum jelly to make them slippery and hard to climb. Put at least 2ft of coverage around the whole trunk starting about 5ft off the ground. The greasy texture prevents squirrels from getting secure footing when climbing.
However, you may have to periodically reapply the jelly. So a plastic trunk protector would be a better solution.
10. Use Hot Pepper Sprays
Make DIY hot pepper sprays by mixing a few tablespoons of cayenne or chili powder with water in a spray bottle. Apply it liberally on tree trunks and branches. Squirrels hate capsaicin and will avoid treated areas. Reapply after rainfall.
11. Allow Dogs to Patrol
Let dogs freely roam and patrol your yard around fruit trees. Their presence, barking, and chasing provide a strong active deterrent. Supervise dogs and be sure they can’t damage trees. Install underground fencing if needed.
12. Use Motion-Activated Sprinklers
Position motion-activated sprinklers near trees set to spray water when squirrels are detected. The sudden spray startles squirrels and chases them away. Check frequently to ensure sprinklers are functioning properly.
13. Provide Alternative Food Sources
Set up squirrel feeders with corn, nuts, or seeds far away from fruit trees. Give squirrels an alternative food source so they’re less tempted to steal from trees. Maintain feeders regularly and locate them in open areas for safety.
It’s also a good idea to provide water to the squirrels, because, especially in summer, they may be attracted to your fruit trees because of their water content. Here’s a nice way to provide water to squirrels:
14. Use Squirrel-Resistant Fruit Varieties
When planting new trees, select fruits that squirrels dislike, including pomegranates, kumquats, limes, and lemons. While not completely squirrel-proof, these are less tempting targets. Supplement with other deterrents as needed.
However, this one alone is not going to protect your existing fruit trees. For this, use a combination of the above-listed methods!
Why Squirrels Love Fruit Trees
Squirrels are driven by three primary factors – food, water, and shelter. Fruit trees provide them with abundant sources of delicious, nutritious fruits and nice hiding spots in the branches. Specific fruit trees squirrels love include:
Squirrels not only eat the fruits but also chew on tree bark and buds, damaging branches and reducing fruit yields. Protecting trees from squirrel damage ensures you can enjoy the fruits of your labor.
Protecting fruit trees from squirrels requires diligence, patience, and persistence. Now you know how to keep squirrels away from fruit trees. No single method is foolproof on its own. Employing a combination of deterrent strategies maximizes your chances of success. Focus on proactive prevention instead of reactive control measures.
By using humane deterrents, you can keep your fruit trees squirrel-free without harming them. Check deterrents frequently, move scare devices around, and never use poisons. With a bit of work, your fruit trees can once again become a bountiful harvest to enjoy.
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