The Survival Podcast Forum

Farm, Garden and The Land => Permaculture, Land Management and Foraging => Topic started by: minimalist on May 04, 2010, 12:36:01 PM

Title: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: minimalist on May 04, 2010, 12:36:01 PM
The only mature fruit tree on my property is a pear tree. I pruned it into shape, and now it has a bunch of tiny pears on it. The problem is that squirrels seem to be raiding the tree for the young fruits. Last year (when we first looked at the property before buying) there were just  a few fruits that had grown to full size. I think the fruit probably didn't get a chance to grow.

Any suggestions for how to keep the squirrels away? I'm within city limits so shooting them isn't an option. Sadly, my neighbors feed the squirrels.

My wife read that you can get fox/coyote pee to keep them away. We have a ball python as well, and she read that scattering the snake poop around will deter them. Any other suggestions?
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: evilphish on May 04, 2010, 12:42:03 PM
Quote
I'm within city limits so shooting them isn't an option.

even with a pellet gun?

my dog is my only squirrel deterent i have right now.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: minimalist on May 04, 2010, 12:48:04 PM
Yeah, even shooting a pellet/BB gun within city limits is prohibited.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: evilphish on May 04, 2010, 12:52:03 PM
hmmm,

well i'm going to say this not knowning your local laws so check before you try.

try setting rat traps up in the tree with peanut butter with some sun flower seeds added.

or you could try giving them an easier available food source, such as corn or black oil sunflower seeds.   give them that and they may leave your pear trees alone.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: OKGranny on May 04, 2010, 01:28:11 PM
If the neighbor is feeding them they aren't hungry, they evidently just like green pears. I'd try the repellants first.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: KYdoomer on May 04, 2010, 02:10:32 PM
Are there any other trees or buildings around?

If not, then fab you up a metal cone collar and slip it around the trunk a few feet up.  Pointy end of the cone down.

They can't climb smooth metal.

J
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: minimalist on May 04, 2010, 02:29:21 PM
I think they are jumping from a nearby fence.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: KYdoomer on May 04, 2010, 05:45:20 PM
Well there's only one solution.  Blow up that fence!

Well maybe another one.  You could put the sleeve higher than the fence.  Or put a snare on the fence.  Neighbors might not be too happy with the squirrel ornaments hanging off the fence though.

J
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: jawjaboy on May 04, 2010, 06:33:24 PM
Squirrels will scoff/snicker/laugh at about any kind of deterent, other than pain.

Sad to say, but true IMO.

Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: johngalt on May 04, 2010, 07:41:07 PM
I say you should start practicing your snaring techniques....nobody has to know....really...and it may just provide you with a few meals to boot.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: mngardener on May 05, 2010, 08:14:11 AM
Blow Darts? Are those prohibited from the city limits?

Are there any plants/vines you can place along the fence that squirrels dislike?
Sacrificial plants/fruit that the squires will utilize first?

Small electric fence along the fence they are jumping from?

Netting over the tree? It would just slow them down though...



Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: crashrat on May 09, 2010, 05:40:05 AM
I've been fighting squirrels all year. I got a have-a-heart trap and was getting three a day, but haven't tried stewing any of them yet so all it did was eat up my lunch hour getting them to a release point. (I've read you have to be at least three miles away and 10 is much better.) It seemed like when I busted up one gang another would take over. I'm just going to forget the whole thing until I'm ready to eat them.

Tying up the dog around the trees DOES seem to keep them at bay, though, and I've considered making puppy treats from the things. Anyone have a recipe? ;)

CR
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: fritz_monroe on May 09, 2010, 06:08:24 AM
Sadly, my neighbors feed the squirrels.

Here's the real problem.  From my experiences, when you feed squirrels, they get bolder and much more aggressive in their foraging in that area.  In the previous house, we had bird feeders out and the squirrels ate from these as well.  But they also tore up a lot of plants and even gnawed on the deck.  In the new house, we aren't feeding them and neither are the neighbors.  The only issues we have is them digging up the nuts they have hidden.

Mike McGrath from the You Bet Your Garden podcast also says the same.  Here's a link to his advice to people with a problem with squirrels eating their fruit.

The Ultimate Squirrel Solution (http://www.gardensalive.com/article.asp?ai=491)
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: surfivor on May 18, 2010, 05:15:44 PM

 I am interested in fruit trees once I buy some land in Maine. I am concerned about this same kind of problem. My mother has a pear tree and the squirrels eat all the pears.

I found this web site on squirrel problems:

http://squirrel-x.com/solutions.htm#fruit (http://squirrel-x.com/solutions.htm#fruit)

 Which kinds of fruit/nut trees are less popular with squirrels or pose greater problems ? I would imagine it takes them awhile to open up a nut so they may have a harder time eating every single nut on the tree for instance. Maybe high bush cranberry or crab apples are less appealing to them ?
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: jjs72 on May 19, 2010, 04:17:32 AM
Box trap.. Bait and waite. How you relocate or dispose is up to you.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Crispy Critter on May 19, 2010, 04:42:40 AM
Blow Darts? Are those prohibited from the city limits?


Thanks, mngardener, for my "laugh out loud moment" this morning!


I have to agree with Fritz's perspective on this problem. I tended a small urban orchard which had six very large pear trees under six even larger pecan trees. Talk about squirrel heaven! We weren't restricted by pellet gun covenants, so we had a steady harvest of squirrel meat for the entire season. Once we cleared out a group, another would move in. Restricting their movement on the property was impossible because the canopy layer was complete over the entire property - a squirrel "jungle gym" as I called it after seeing some of their acrobatic skills.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: I.L.W. on May 19, 2010, 07:45:38 AM
Nail some mouse traps in a ring around the trunk of the tree.
Motion activated sprinkler
Get a cat (don't feed it, it'll figure out how to find food)
Poison food
Snare them
Rubber snakes and owls (only works for about a week)

Pile up the carcasses in the neighbors lawn, Tell them about that squirrel pandemic (squirrel flu) you're concerned that the dead rodents may be diseased just like in {insert 3rd world country}, "maybe we should stop feeding them until they discover a cure for the disease in humans". If the neighbors are feeding squirrels, they're probably morons, use that against them to get what you want.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: minimalist on May 20, 2010, 10:39:46 PM
We weren't restricted by pellet gun covenants, so we had a steady harvest of squirrel meat for the entire season. Once we cleared out a group, another would move in. Restricting their movement on the property was impossible because the canopy layer was complete over the entire property - a squirrel "jungle gym" as I called it after seeing some of their acrobatic skills.

This isn't a covenant, it is a city ordinance...
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Oldhomestead on June 11, 2010, 02:28:27 PM
Had a problem with them taking my peaches when we first moved onto the property. We have 5 acres of Pecans that fed all the local wildlife so there were more squirrels than you could shake a stick at. Five years later, two dogs and half-a-dozen, half fed barn cats, and my losses are at what I consider an acceptable level.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: phargolf on June 11, 2010, 08:02:42 PM
Unless you are allowed to kill them, you will never be shed of these pests, yes they are cute but check out their claws, they can do a lot of damage. I vote for the dog. ;)
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: outdoorlady79 on June 15, 2010, 12:57:03 PM
Unless you are allowed to kill them, you will never be shed of these pests, yes they are cute but check out their claws, they can do a lot of damage. I vote for the dog. ;)

They hang on well when they bite too.  Looks funny to have an 8 inch squirrel (including tail) hanging form your finger. 

Our front porch is about 4 steps up from ground level and has a short brick wall around it other than where the steps are.  One day a baby squirrel was hunkered down in the corner.  Outdoorman suggested I should give the poor thing some food.  I went to toss some nuts into the corner and my hand was about 5 feet from where this little helpless looking squirrel was sititng.  He jumped up and bit me and help on for about 10 seconds.  What little sympathy I still had for the tree rats was quickly gone.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: phargolf on June 15, 2010, 08:54:51 PM
Yeah, they may look cute but they can do a ton of damage to your house and yourself (ouch!). Sorry no sympathy here for the little buggers, but they do fry up nicely. ;)
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: solarguy on June 17, 2010, 12:27:20 PM
Get a box trap, put it somewhere the nosy neighbor can't see it.  Bait with peanut butter.  Once you catch them, take them inside and kill them.  Repeat x 100.  I don't like killing stuff just for sport, but there may come a time when you HAVE to kill something.  It is a useful skill.

The previous owner of our farm house must have had 4-5 squirrel feeding stations in the yard.  We were overwhelmed.  They were in the attic.  They were in the walls, they would tear up the garden, etc. 

I quit counting when I got close to 100 shot/dead.  The chipmunks were just as bad. 

Now I occasionally see a squirrel in the back woods, but they shy away from the house and garden. 

Do away with them, as many as you can.


On a side note,,,

Are you making plans to move, so you can defend yourself from vermin?

Good luck!

troy
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Oldhomestead on June 17, 2010, 08:21:36 PM
I'd second the destructive nature. When we first moved in they would tear the shingles away to try and get under the roof vents to get inside the roof.

They would also swing under the soffets and rip out the screens. We finally had to put the steel heating register screens on to keep them from doing that little trick.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: millwright on June 17, 2010, 10:06:30 PM
I've had positive results with cooking oil and cayenne pepper. Paint any holes and points of entry to attic with mixture, they start doing some pretty good dance moves.
I dunno how it would work on trees. Dollar- store cayenne and cheap cooking oil... paint the trunks, it should make for a spicy tree-rat stew.
In a pump-up sprayer, should make interesting pear preserves??

Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: surfivor on June 20, 2010, 08:12:37 PM

Someone told me that a gourmet food place sells capsium and that it works to keep squirrels away. It is very toxic however and you have to use gloves. I was surprised anyone could get the stuff pure. It's the stuff that makes pepper hot in pure form and I had discussed it in the context of self defense on a different forum topic here .. 
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Oldhomestead on June 25, 2010, 10:56:40 PM
Wonder how expensive it would be?

And how would you use it? Not on the fruit unless you want it pre-spiced!
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: surfivor on June 27, 2010, 08:30:37 PM
Wonder how expensive it would be?

And how would you use it? Not on the fruit unless you want it pre-spiced!

 He says the stuff will burn your skin, use gloves and stay up wind. He says the squirrels and deer have a good memory and once they been burned by capsium, they will stay away. Claims all the deer go to his neighbors house .. I told my mother to get me some as the store is usually open when I am at work, but she knows what the stuff is and apparently will not be so cruel to the squirrels as to let me do this, though I'd like to try some of those peaches off the little tree before the squirrels eat them all.

 I don't think it's that expensive. Probably put some on the bark. If you get  it on your skin it may cause something like a burn or blister I guess ..

Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Dainty on June 28, 2010, 11:26:00 AM
Here's how one person did it: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070503210151AAflUYk (http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070503210151AAflUYk)
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: minimalist on September 21, 2010, 12:27:08 PM
I just figured I would give an update since the season is over. We ended up having more pears than we could handle. The squirrels took some, but we lost far more to the moths and wasps. In the end, the squirrels weren't really a problem. In fact, I wonder if they helped thin the fruit some... as it was, a combination of a heavy windstorm and too much fruit broke two of my branches.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: fritz_monroe on September 21, 2010, 03:09:29 PM
Thanks for that update.  I know that most fruit trees need you to thin the fruit.  I never thought that squirrels would do that job for you.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: LvsChant on September 21, 2010, 03:09:50 PM
Glad to hear that you ended up with plenty anyway...
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Morgan96 on September 21, 2010, 06:19:17 PM
I have a friend who lives in the city and is an avid gardener.  He is also plagued by squirrels.  He solves his squirrel problems by taking up a sniper position inside the kitchen with a scoped pellet rifle.  The open kitchen door has a nice view of the garden and fruit trees.
Title: Re: Squirrels are raiding my pear tree!
Post by: Mona Folds on September 30, 2010, 02:01:25 PM
Being attacked by moths and wasps or other pests is a sign of a nutrient deficient tree.  A friend of mine did an experiment on her tomatoe plants (she does organic gardening, but wanted to prove how it works to friends/family).  The pests attacked the tomatoe plant that she used the normal conventional way (synthetic fertilizers, etc).  With the other tomatoe plant she used kelp meal (seaweed has all the trace minerals), soil loaded down with beneficial microorganisms, and I can't remember what else.  Nothing bothered this plant and it grew good and strong.

We have 4 fig trees and they say birds and wasps will get to them.  We have problems with neither.  And, if any fall to the ground they aren't left to rot and attract yellow jackets because the chickens love figs.  We have tons of squirrels, and I'm sure they eat some of the figs, but they can only handle so much.