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Squirrels giving you gardening woes? Try these tricks to keep squirrels out of your plants and garden. This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click a link in this post, a small portion of a sale goes to support this site. Every spring and summer an epic battle goes on in my backyard: The Gardener versus The Squirrel.
WATCH RELATED VIDEO: My TRICK to Keep SQUIRRELS Away from Fruit Trees @WA, USAContent:
- Keeping Squirrels Out of the Garden
- Squirrel proof a Fruit Cage
- How Do You Stop Squirrels From Climbing Your Trees?
- How to Manage Pests
- 9 Ways to Humanely Keep Squirrels and Birds Off Your Apple Tree
- How To Keep Squirrels Out Of The Garden
- Tree baffles to baffle squirrels
- Robot or human?
Keeping Squirrels Out of the Garden
As scientifically-casual as these experiments are, I often wind up discovering a good bit of worthwhile information. Case in point: growing organic apples with the fruit bagging technique.
Last year, I only bagged a few apples, just to see what the results would be, and I was blown away. Bagging fruit on trees is not a new technique. Fruit growers around the world have been growing organic fruit for decades using this method.
Peaches, pears, apricots, and plums are among the easiest fruits to grow organically when fruit bagging is involved, but I think apples are the easiest of all. Bagging fruit on trees also deters many fungal diseases as well, such as fly speck and sooty blotch. Related post: Prevent squash vine borers organically. For 15 years I used a multitude of sprays for growing organic apples. It was a lot of work, and I got sick of being beholden to the backpack sprayer.
When we left the farm and moved to our current house, I gave up on spraying so much, and my fruit trees suffered. But, this experiment could change all of that. I know fruit bagging works because I tried it on a small scale last year. I purchased two boxes of nylon footies from Amazon , along with twist ties.
Then, I bought two boxes of cheap, zipper-top, sandwich baggies from the grocery store. Related post: Plant vs. Condensation builds up inside the bag, and it needs somewhere to drain out. This does the trick, and you can cut a dozen bags at a time with a sharp pair of scissors. If too many fruits remain on a tree, the branches become too heavy, the mature fruits will be small, and the tree will only produce a decent crop every other year.
For good annual production, thin fruits to one per cluster for apples and pears, or one per every six inches of stem for peaches, plums, and other stone fruits. This should be done when the largest fruit in the cluster is about the size of your thumbnail. If you wait too long, fruit tree pests will be active and you may find your fruit has already been damaged.
Fruit thinning a tough process, trust me. Use a scissors to snip off all but the largest apple per cluster. I find a glass of wine is a big help. Bagging apples and other fruits with zipper-top bags simply involves opening an inch or so of the zipper, right in the dead center.
Slip the opening over the young fruit and seal the zipper around the stem. To use the nylon footies, open them with your thumb and forefinger, and slide the footie over the young fruit. At this point, two-thirds of the fruit on my apple tree has been bagged for one week. Do you already grow organic fruit by bagging apples, pears, or other fruits?
If so, tell us about your results. Now that the growing season has ended, I have a few items worth sharing and some great lessons-learned. First, even with the bags and nylon footies in place, the squirrels will still find your apples.
I lost several nearly full-grown apples to one crazy squirrel who figured out how to pluck the bags and footies from the trees and tear them open. We had to trap him in a live animal trap to remedy the situation.
Next year I will put a strip of Tangle-Trap around the trunk of the tree to keep the earwigs from crawling up into the branches. Aside from the earwig and squirrel issues, the plastic baggies did far better than the nylon footies did at protecting the apples.
BUT, the nylon footies worked way better on a few peaches I used them on. I harvested a handful of absolutely perfect peaches because they were covered with nylon footies. On the apple tree, however, the plum curculios had no problem chewing right through the nylons. Next year, I will use all plastic baggies on the apples and all nylon footies on the peaches.
All in all, it was a very successful experiment! Pin it! I am very interested in following along on this! I do hope there is great success. This makes great sense: I know people bag grapes, with paper bags, I think. Paper bags last through a lot of rains, breathe slightly, and are probably easily removed. Yes, paper bags for grapes work great, but you have to put them over the cluster when the grapes are the size of peas.
And, if the bag rips or disintegrates in the rain, it must be replaced. We used paper bags last year and it worked really well.
I live in Massachusetts. The plastic bag or nylon bag method is the only organic method recommended once codling moth populations have increased at this level nearly 90 percent damage to fruit.
Put your damaged leaves in a plastic bag and take them immediately to a local nursery… They will help you diagnose the problem.
Thank you for this post! We have a wheaten terrier who keeps our yard and garden squirrel free. A dog! Let us know how the fruit bagging works out for you, Amy.
I have just moved to a house that has a beautiful fruiting pear tree. Unfortunately the cockatoos also love it and last year when I moved in they would eat a tiny bit of the fruit as it ripened and waste the rest by dropping it on the ground! So this year I have bagged the fruit as it developed. It seems to be working well in repelling birds, and the fruit looks fine. But all the pear leaves that have come into contact with the ziplock bag turned brown and died!
Is the plastic somehow toxic to leaves? And if it is, will it affect my fruit? This is interesting. Perhaps the plastic bag is getting hot in the bright sunlight and somehow burning the foliage? It could also be that the plastic is holding moisture against the leaves and causing a fungal issue.
Surround is indeed a great organic product choice to help grow organic tree fruits. We used it on our organic farm for years. The only downside is that you need to reapply after every heavy rain which can be time-consuming. Thank you for your article.
I inherited 6 apple trees and 2 pear trees when we moved into our house. In my canadian province, Surround WP needs a government pesticide permit go figure; malathion and captan are available to the general public. My trees are mature and most are sensitive to apple scab, a big problem here.
So i was wondering, how many trees would you say are too many to bag? How many times do you think the bags could be reused? Maybe experiment with just a few trees this year and see your results before dedicating so much time to doing all of them?
Thank you for your answer. Last year, codling moth got to the fruits before petal fall. Apple and pear scab was so heavy, a good percentage of the fruits never matured. I bow to those growing organic apples commercially in my region! I might also try my hand at top grafting resistant varieties.
Great article, Jessica! I am thinking of bagging my apples this year. The sun gets so hot in the summer here would the apple not cook? Also you mentioned cutting the corner off the bags for drainage. Keep up the good work! But, just to be on the safe side, the first time you try this technique, I would do it on a small percentage of the apples as a trial. As for cutting off the bag corners, I basically cut a diagonal inch off of the lower corner of each bag. I live in Utah and tried this method for the first time this year.
My apples are beautiful, large, and nearly all are worm-free. I will put the bags on earlier next year to get ahead of the early moths. Earwigs did get into at least one of my apples but the damage was minimal. No problems with too much heat and from what I can tell, there were no problems with rotting from condensation. Great to hear, Mike! I do have to spray 1 — 2 times just after petal drop in order to protect the apples until I get around to bagging them all as the plum curculio is a very early pest here in Minneapolis, MN and I work full time so can only bag evenings and weekends.
To prepare the bags I just cut a slit at the bottom corners and they drain fine without bugs getting in. Very few are affected and it is easily cut out to when you eat it — just not pretty to give away!
I have three apple trees and 1 pear tree that I bag and have so much beautiful fruit that I give it away to family and friends by the box full!
Squirrel proof a Fruit Cage
Cats Dogs Rabbits Other. Both tree squirrels and ground squirrels are common in the Los Angeles area. The main difference between these animals is where they nest, live, and hide from predators. The Western Gray Squirrel is about 22 inches in length with a large bushy tail edged in white. They weigh in at between 1.
Missouri is home to three species of tree squirrels. Typically, squirrels feed on mast (wild tree fruits and nuts) in fall and early winter.
How Do You Stop Squirrels From Climbing Your Trees?
The best methods rally around prevention. With some planning, you can keep small animals far from your gardens and raised beds and remove the temptation for them to snack on your fruits and veggies. One such technique is to think about their habitat. Mice, voles and shrews are all small creatures that need hiding places. Usually, those hiding places are tall grasses and weedy areas so cleaning up those areas near your gardens can help a lot. Chipmunks like hiding places, though they prefer rock and stone piles and wood piles. If you can move those away from your garden, that keeps chippies further from your garden and the tempting fruits and veggies it contains.
How to Manage Pests
In some states, home and business owners enjoy watching squirrels frolic and play, scampering around, leaping from branch to branch in tall trees, or defying gravity by climbing onto bird feeders. However, in California, most home and business owners do not enjoy hosting a squirrel that can cause damage and create dangerous conditions on their properties. Whether your ground squirrel infestation is new or has been a problem for a while, our team can help. California ground squirrels Spermophilus beecheyi have a mix of gray, light brown, and dusky fur, which gives them a mottled appearance. Strips of darker fur extend from the head to the mid-back, while gray fur forms a cape over the sides of the head and shoulders.
A variety of varmints relish the peaches on trees as much as you do, appreciating the seasonal bonanza of convenient free food and easy pickings you so generously provide.
9 Ways to Humanely Keep Squirrels and Birds Off Your Apple Tree
Some gardeners swear by sprinkling a concoction of cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, paprika or other combinations of spicy seasonings around the base of the plants. Trick squirrels into thinking your produce isn't a tasty treat after all by dusting a few of the fruits in the hot mixture, too. If you've noticed squirrels digging in your pots or stealing your bulbs, mulch can help—make sure to use a heavyweight mulch like stones or decorative rocks or grass. If squirrels are coming between you and your crops, it may be time to build a fence. Protecting your edible plants with netting will help curb squirrels' and birds' snacking.
How To Keep Squirrels Out Of The Garden
Fruit Trees Crops Against Birds Chicken Squirrel Netting Rodents Rabbit And It has a bird-proof support structure that enables light and moisture to.
Tree baffles to baffle squirrels
From eating fruit and vegetables, and the bird seed in your bird feeder, to destroying your trees by chewing on the bark, squirrels can be a nuisance. They are also great at finding ways into your house and setting their nests up in your attic or crawlspace. Figuring out how to keep squirrels out of your yard can turn into a full-time job.
Robot or human?RELATED VIDEO: Protect fruit tree from squirrel
There are several humane ways to keep squirrels and birds from stealing the apples from your apple tree — the fruits of your labour, like scarecrows, metal collars and baffles around the trunk of your tree, bird netting, noise makers and hot pepper. Before getting into the different methods of keeping squirrels away from ripening apples, start by limiting their access points to the trunk of the tree only. That means pruning branches that lean too low to the ground, that rest on fence tops or telephone lines, or that sit on roof tops. This should reduce the squirrels ability to jump into the tree and make it that much harder to access the ripening apples. Owl or hawk decoys strategically placed around your yard could help deter both squirrels and birds from the temptation of ripe apples.
Fruit trees provide growers with a supply of natural foods and pleasant shade for the yard.
The roof rat Rattus rattus , a. It was brought to America on the first ships to reach the New World and has spread around the world. This rat is the same species that carried the bubonic plague around the world and is also the reservoir host for murine typhus. Roof rats are the worst rodent pest in the state of Florida and most abundant. The Norway rat Rattus norvegicus that is familiar to most people is rare in Florida.
There are four species of tree squirrels in California excluding the small nocturnal flying squirrel, which is not considered a pest. Of the four species, two are native and two are introduced from the eastern part of the United States. In their natural habitats they eat a variety of foods, including a wide range of seeds such as pine nuts and acorns, fungi, insects, bird eggs, and young birds.