How to Protect Your Fruit Trees from Wildlife
Fruit Trees are a welcome addition to your yard or garden. Humans are not the only ones to enjoy fresh fruit, wildlife also love it. While there is no way to completely stop these pests, there are ways to discourage them and keep them away from your fruit.
Step 1: Keep out the Deer
If you live in the country, deer are a very real threat to your fruit tree. The best way to keep them out is to enclose your trees in a six foot high fence. This idea isn’t always practical if you only have one tree, because the fence needs to be well away from it. If you don’t have the room for such a fence, there are commercial deer repellants. Place these liberally around your fruit tree. The repellant needs to be replaced often, because it eventually wears off.
Step 2: Discourage Squirrels and Raccoons
Squirrels and raccoons are very stubborn creatures, but there are several ways to keep them away from your trees. The first is to add predator scents to your tree. This needs to be done while the tree is young and the fruit is not ripe. If the squirrels and raccoons are given time to realize the fruit is food, the false scents won’t scare them away.
Another useful deterrent is a motion detector. There are several on the market that spray water on anything that moves. Again, squirrels and raccoons can learn that the detectors won’t hurt them and may brave the tree anyway.
A third deterrent is sheet metal at the base of the tree. Nail a five to six foot long sheet of smooth metal several feet up the tree. This prevents squirrels from grasping the trunk and climbing up to steal the fruit. This won’t work if there are other trees around that they can climb. They will jump from one tree to another.
Step 3: Keep out the Birds
Bird watchers love to see birds enjoy the plant life around them. However, fruit growers know that birds can be detrimental to the crop. The best way to keep the birds out is to place a net over the top of the fruit tree. Be sure that the net is secured in the ground so that birds can’t sneak through.
A less effective measure is to hang aluminum or CDs from the branches. The bright flashes of light initially scare the birds. Once they learn that the light won’t hurt them, they lose any fear and your tree is no longer safe.
Once you have stopped these pests, your fruit is yours to enjoy however you wish.