Whether a new hobbyist or avid gardener, you’ve put in effort sourcing, planting, pruning, and caring for your fruit trees. The last thing you want to hear is the scuttle of Squirrels potentially playing, fighting over territory, or storing food near the roots of your trees. So how do you gain the upper hand over nature when developing your own private wooded space?
Since the 19th century arrival of the Grey squirrel to Europe, the European native Red squirrel has been pushed to near extinction. That said, you may live in an area populated with the Red Squirrel, e.g., Scotland or the Isle of Wright. Grey and Red squirrels alike enjoy taking sanctuary in wooded areas to understand a little more as to why we have to know how Squirrels live.
Unlike Badgers, Squirrels do not prepare for the colder months by burrowing into the ground. Instead, squirrels have a summer home, scientifically known as a drey, built on the sturdiest section of a mature tree. They prepare for the colder months by building quaint, comfortable winter dreys in trees, nests, birdhouses, or vacant woodpecker holes they’ve discovered.
Table of Contents
- How to spot a Squirrel Drey?
- Do Squirrels Eat Fruit from Fruit Trees?
- How to Keep Squirrels Out of Fruit Trees?
- Final Thoughts
How to spot a Squirrel Drey?
If you have squirrels in your garden, there is a high likelihood the dreys are nearby. How can you identify a squirrel drey? From the ground, a drey could be easily confused with a bird’s nest. They look similar; there is even evidence that suggests birds and squirrels use space interchangeably.
If you’re confused as to whether you have a bird’s nest or a drey, the first thing you can note is the size; squirrel dreys tend to be larger. Then, look to see whether there are leaves intertwined into the structure.
While Squirrels do not mind living in enclosures with leaves, birds do not like to do so. A squirrel’s summer drey is flatter and more open to the atmosphere as the Squirrels have less reason to protect themselves from the weather.
Baby squirrels often stay inside a drey until fully developed, so be careful if you’re considering removing a drey, what you think is a bird’s nest, or are doing pruning in early spring. On the other hand, a winter drey is more greatly closed to stop the Squirrels from being impacted by the autumn and winter weather.
To build a drey, a group of Squirrels will go around trying to collect moss, twigs, leaves, and grass. The dryer, firmer materials are for structure, while the soft material allows for comfort. They then huddle together within the nest and sleep. So now we’re up to scratch on how Squirrels live. So how can Squirrels be deterred most gently? Read on if you are wondering how to keep squirrels out of your fruit trees.
Do Squirrels Eat Fruit from Fruit Trees?
Yes, put simply. Perhaps you have already seen changes in your garden landscape. For example, squirrels not only eat developed fruit from fruit trees, but they also eat buds, meaning you may receive no harvest at all. On the other hand, squirrels may be happy helping themselves to nut trees and consuming feed from within a bird feeder (if this is your main problem, you could skip to point one on our list of solutions).
Even if a squirrel is not eating fruit from your trees, you may be experiencing other problems. Squirrels quite enjoy scratching away at Bark. In the worst cases, you may find that a squirrel has gnarled at the tree trunk. The wounds left may not kill your tree immediately, but they could be more susceptible to fungi and disease.
In a small landscape or garden, the damage done by Squirrels may not be too evident; however, in the United Kingdom (UK), Squirrels are considered a forestry pest, so there will always be a sympathetic community understanding of your deterrence motivations.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Fruit Trees?
1. Install a Squirrel Deflector
A Squirrel deflector, or a Squirrel baffle, can refer to a blocker placed over a bird feeder to stop a squirrel from accessing food in the feeder. But in our case to protect your fruit tree, it can be installed as a cone deflector placed around the tree to prevent a squirrel from climbing up. You can purchase a deflector or you can DIY one at home.
Coming in a variety of sizes, squirrel deflectors can come in numerous materials. When a squirrel leaps onto a dome-shaped squirrel deflector, the squirrel falls off as its claws find it difficult to grasp onto the surface of a squirrel deflector.
2. Deter them by Taste and Smell
All animals are naturally put off but certain flavors and smells. Squirrels are naturally deterred by what they perceive as strong smells and specific tastes. In particular, squirrels do not like hot pepper flakes, peppermint, and ground coffee. If you enjoy drinking coffee, perhaps you could collect the leftover ground coffee mix with hot water, wait to cool, and then water directly into the soil. You could also feed the ground coffee into the earth; the choice is yours.
You don’t need to worry about the coffee damaging the tree. Coffee is an excellent source of nitrogen for plants so that it can even be a replacement for fertilizer, with other options such as chili flakes and predators’ urine. You may find it most helpful to spread the product throughout the garden.
Flavors Squirrels don’t like:
- Hot Pepper
- Predator Urine
3. Use Fruit Protection Bags
Using Fruit protection bags to protect your fruit trees from squirrels is simple. First, you place the protection bag around the fruit loosely, leaving space for the fruit to continue to grow. Then, you can adjust the bags over time to allow for greater area if necessary. While this may not be the most attractive option to the eye, it has been proven to stop Squirrels from eating your fruits, saving more fruit for you.
You may want to utilize this method with another on this list as some nifty Squirrels have been known to rip the bag open and access the fruit another way.
4. Hang Wind Chimes from Fruit Trees
Squirrels don’t like to hear sudden unexpected sounds, one way to scare them away from your fruit trees could be to add wind chimes to the trees. However, there is the worry that chimes may be only a short-term solution to keeping squirrels away from your fruit tree. You could attempt changing or replacing the chimes every few months, or you may prefer pairing wind chimes with another method from this list.
5. Ultrasonic Squirrel Repellent
The Ultrasonic Squirrel Repellent naturally drives Squirrels away by emitting high-pressure sound waves, which are uncomfortable to experience for Squirrels and rats. While you won’t hear a thing, the ultrasonic squirrel repellent puts a constant racketing sound and deters the squirrel from your fruit trees.
You don’t need to worry about the long-term impact of the ultrasonic Squirrel repellant; it simply makes the environment uncomfortable. You are saving your fruit trees in the long run.
6. Liquid Squirrel Repellent
Liquid Squirrel repellent works similarly to the ultrasonic Squirrel repellent. Composed of natural ingredients, A powerful repellant to squirrels but safe to use on trees and shrubs, liquid squirrel repellent has been a popular option for homeowners to keep squirrels away from fruit trees. The best thing about liquid squirrel repellents is they’re safe for usage around humans. Unlike pesticides, these sprays will not adversely affect your health with long-term use.
7. Install Motion Sprinklers
Another method to deter squirrels from your fruit trees would be to install motion sprinklers. These are a type of frightening tool that will shoot a stream of water at the squirrel attempting to come near your fruit tree. But, again, not distinguishing between rodent types, any animal or even human trying to trouble your trees would be shocked with a near automatic water gun.
Placed firmly into the ground, you get a sturdy 24/7 deterrent activated at your use. Each activation will shoot out approximately two cups of water.
8. Cage/Fence Your Trees
A near historical way of guarding your fruit trees against Squirrels and other herbivores which may live nearby is to cage or fence your trees with netting. The process is simple; you may want to confine each tree or place tubes and wrap them with netting. If you’re slightly stunned about how to begin the process, there are many tutorials on Youtube.
Scarecrows have been around since Ancient Egypt, and they’re decoys or mannequins placed in fields to scare predominately birds but are just as efficient at keeping squirrels and smaller rodents away from fruit trees. Scarecrows for squirrels are so popular that now you can buy specialized scarecrows for squirrels at a miniature height.
10. Provide Alternative Feeding Sources Nearby
When Squirrels are snooping around your Fruit trees, it is most likely that they’re trying to find materials to build or insulate their dreys or they’re trying to find food. You could help them with this process by getting Squirrel feeders. A squirrel feeder often refers to a box that allows a Squirrel to lift the top and access food inside. You could place some foods which squirrels tend to enjoy in your squirrel feeder if you’re to get one:
Foods squirrel likes:
Hopefully, this article has helped you better understand a Squirrel’s life. Not only do you know why they’re so attracted to your wooded space, but you best know how to deter them. Let us know in the comment section which method has kept squirrels away from your fruit trees and what hasn’t worked for you so we can benefit from each other’s experience.
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Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.