Your trees regardless of size and type are susceptible to squirrels and other wildlife because of the damage they can cause to the branches, bark, blooming buds, flowers, and fruit. Below are some tips to help keep your fruit trees or any tree healthy and protect it from pests.
13 Things To Do To Prevent Squirrel Damage To Any Tree
#1 Tree Guards
Tree guards are physical barriers you install at the base of the tree to prevent squirrels from climbing up and eating the fruit, blossoms, or building nests. There are several types of tree guards, from plastic netting mesh tubing, paper wraps, hardwood cloths, field tile, and DIY guards.
You can purchase these physical barriers at your local home improvement stores, tractor supply stores, online retailers, or make your own.
The most popular type of material to use for tree guards is metal sheeting. These encase the trunk or create a barrier at the base of the tree, protecting it from squirrels and other pests.
When using a tree guard, the most important thing is to remove or adjust it yearly to ensure you are not restricting the growth. In addition, the sun’s harmful rays will also damage the tree guard over time.
So, you’ll want to change out the damaged tree guard as it won’t provide the proper protection. Also, as the tree grows, it will outgrow the tree guard and must be replaced.
#2 Tree Maintenance
Tree maintenance is not only essential for healthy trees but is crucial for deterring squirrels. Properly pruned trees remove dead and weak branches, making them less attractive to squirrels.
Squirrels are attracted to trees that have several hiding areas. This provides them more places to build a nest and hide from predators.
In addition, proper tree maintenance removes any hanging branches from fences or other structures that squirrels use to easily jump from to climb the tree.
Properly maintaining a tree protects it from rodents but also ensures it is healthy, produces high-quality fruit, is less susceptible to pests and diseases, and has a longer lifespan.
Netting is an excellent option for protecting fruit trees. It protects a physical barrier that protects the peaches from squirrels without hindering the growth of new branches, leaves, and fruit.
The downside is that squirrels can chew through the netting with their sharp incisors over time. In addition, netting can be more challenging to install than some of the other methods mentioned because it must cover the entire tree for it to work.
This can be a good short-term option to deter squirrels.
However, make sure you use high-quality netting that can withstand the elements, such as this plastic trellis netting. The polypropylene material is more resistant to the elements as it won’t rot like metal or wood. Yet the lightweight material won’t damage the fruit or young buds on the tree.
It protects vegetable plants and fruit trees from birds, squirrels, deer, and other animals.
#4 Feeding Stations
Creating a feeding station is a great way to protect your trees and still enjoy watching the squirrels in your backyard. Unfortunately, squirrels are dealing with deforestation, climate change, and habitat loss, making them look for food in backyards, gardens, public places, etc.
This can lead to human-wildlife conflicts. A feeding station gives them their own designated area to find, reducing the temptation to hunt for food in your trees, garden, etc.
When building a squirrel feeding station, put it at least 15-25 feet away from the peach trees. This will prevent them from associating the trees as part of the feeding station.
There are several different types of squirrel feeders on the market. However, you don’t need to spend a lot of money. The most important part is to make sure you feed them the right squirrel food.
Another benefit or drawback, depending on your view, is that the feeding station may attract other wildlife to your yard, such as birds, chipmunks, etc.
#5 Plants Squirrels Hate
If squirrels are damaging your trees or continually eating the fruit, stems, and leaves. Consider planting plants or bushes that repel them.
Some plants you can plant next to your trees are; alliums, daffodils, snowdrops, etc. These plants have a strong scent and rancid taste that repels squirrels.
When choosing plants to plant around trees or other plants vulnerable to squirrel activity, pay attention to how they smell. If you plant the wrong plants, it will increase wildlife activity.
#6 Homemade Repellents
You can implement several different home remedies to keep the squirrel activity at bay. For instance, spraying a peppermint oil solution at the base of the trees and surrounding areas will help protect your trees.
The strong scent of peppermint oil serves as a natural deterrent for squirrels, keeping them away from your peaches.
Other homemade repellents include; coffee grounds, cayenne pepper, garlic, and onion spray.
These homemade repellents are safer for the environment, and you naturally create a barrier that protects your trees.
#7 Store-Bought Toxicants
Several over-the-counter poisons can kill squirrels, such as; Repels All, Squirrel Stopper, and Kaput Ground Squirrel Bait. These toxic repellents.
When purchasing any over-the-counter poisons, ensure it is designed to kill the species of squirrels you’re dealing with. For example, Kaput Ground Squirrel Bait is designed to kill California ground squirrels, so it may not work on gray squirrels.
RememberUsing poison to control squirrel populations might not be legal in all areas. Check your local and municipal regulations before using them.
Also, when using store-bought toxicants, take precautions to not accidentally poison the wrong animals. This means you must properly dispose of the container and place the toxins in an area that won’t harm other wildlife or pets.
#8 Strobe Lights
These can be an effective method for protecting any type of tree, including fruit trees. Strobe light devices emit rapid and repeated light flashes, which will startle and disorient the rodents.
Squirrels are cautious creatures, and the strobe lights will create a sense of danger or threat, triggering their natural instinct to run and hide.
#9 Squirrel Spikes
This humane method of dealing with squirrels can be implemented around any size tree but works best for larger trees. That said, you must measure the circumference of the tree trunk to ensure you get the right size spikes.
The spikes must be long enough to cover the entire trunk of the tree. You can choose from various spikes, including some with adjustable lengths.
Before installing the spikes, remove any dead or unwanted branches. Then attach the spike around the trunk using the provided screws, clips, or straps.
Ensure there are no gaps that allow the squirrels to squeeze through, and monitor the squirrels’ behavior around them.
#10 Solar Repellents
Solar devices are an inhumane method for creating a barrier around your tree and won’t harm squirrels. They are environmentally friendly and don’t emit any pollution.
You can purchase these devices online or at your local home improvement stores.
When installed, the devices emit ultrasonic sounds or vibrations that repel squirrels and other wildlife. Depending on the type you buy, it may have different variations of ultrasonic sounds or vibrations you can set to manage the frequency and intensity of the sounds.
You can use solar devices around trees, garden, or any other area that receives sunlight throughout the day.
Position the repellent a few feet away from the tree you want to protect and ensure it receives enough sunlight to operate correctly.
#11 Pest Control Companies
If all else fails, it’s time to contact a professional. Wildlife removal specialists have the knowledge, experience, and tools to remove nuisance squirrels.
Before hiring a specialist, read the online reviews to check their qualifications and performance record. This will give you an idea of their level of expertise, quality of work, and any potential issues or red flags to be aware of.
Also, ask them if they specialize in squirrel removal. Not all pest control companies offer this service.
Doing your due diligence before hiring a specialist can help you make an informed decision and avoid potential problems or scams.
Some people prefer to use traps and relocate or euthanize the rodents to protect their property. Always check your area’s local and municipal regulations regarding trapping and relocating squirrels.
If it is allowed in your area, consider using humane live traps that can be purchased online or at your local home improvement stores.
Live cage traps are the most common kind of traps that industry professionals use.
These metal cages work by luring the rodent inside with bait such as; peanut butter.
Then, a small mechanism at the rear of the enclosure shuts the cage’s door, trapping the rodent inside the cage without harming it.
Most live cage traps are at least 16 inches long and 5 inches wide, making them the perfect size for trapping squirrels.
Check the traps 1-2 times daily to avoid leaving the squirrel in a confined space for too long.
If relocating the squirrel, release the squirrel at least 15 miles from your property. Squirrels can travel long distances to return to their home.
Shooting a squirrel is the last resort. Also, it’s important to note that every state, county, and ordinance has different laws and regulations regarding the hunting and killing of squirrels.
It is essential to check with local authorities and follow all applicable laws and guidelines before shooting a squirrel on public property or outside the regular squirrel hunting season.
It is vital to ensure the safety of yourself and others by being aware of your surroundings. Always make sure that you have a clear line of sight and that there are no people, animals, or property in the line of fire.
Remember that safety should always be the top priority, and taking the time to ensure that you are operating safely and responsibly can help prevent any unnecessary harm or damage.
Dogs and cats keep squirrels from entering your yard or garden just by being outside. The rodents are naturally wary of predators, given the reason they run when they see you approaching the garden.
When a squirrel sees or smells the scent of a dog or cat, it will bother someone else’s garden instead of entering yours.
In addition, cats and dogs have a natural instinct to chase and kill them. This technique keeps squirrels, rats, and mice at bay.
If squirrels continually eat fruit from your trees, build nests, or damage the tree, you must take action to stop them. The most effective method is to use a tree guard as it stops squirrels and other pests from climbing the tree.
However, any of the methods above will help you protect any tree in your backyard. Finding which method works for you will take time and persistence, and you may need to use more than one method.
If you don’t give up, you will find a way to keep squirrels away from the peaches on your tree and ensure a successful harvest.
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