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Nut Trees and Squirrels

 
pollinator
Posts: 486
Location: zone 4b, sandy, Continental D
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L Greenslade wrote:I wonder if the squirrel behaviour is inate to all squirrels, as in would a UK squirrel put nuts into pots. Or is it maybe a learned habit?

Mine just bury them all over the garden and I end up with saplings everywhere. Or half nibble nuts on the ground.

So this is my solution:



So in essence, ripping off the saplings so there won't be so many squirrels and harvesting the nuts when half ripe? IMHO, squirrels are tree rats. Cute tree rats, but rats all the same: They are in the category of rodents and will bring the same diseases. This article points out the dangers of having squirrels as pets in the home, which is not your case, but a list of the diseases they can harbor is nevertheless important as touching a dead infected squirrel or your dog getting rabies from an infected specimen is still good to know. https://www.critterguard.org/blog/dangerous-diseases-from-squirrels-in-the-home
Here too, it is their habit to gnaw electrical wires in your car, lawnmower, snowblower, skid-steer... or pack nuts in the tailpipes of motorcycles as well as burying them in the lawn. When you have an infestation, they are not too particular as to where they hide the nuts and you cannot harvest a single healthy nut: They can harvest a whole area overnight. And the more there are of them, the earlier they go for the nuts, so harvesting them half ripe, you are still competing with that critter: Red, gray, black or albino does not seem to make a lot of difference [we have all kinds here]. The red may be the most destructive, though as they will gnaw through everything: Cushions of your lawnmower, stripping wires... it is an infestation, so your idea of limiting the number of saplings is quite good: You will force a new balance between your homestead, the squirrels and the nuts.
We can eat the gray squirrels. The red ones are too small and my husband shoots them and gives them as food to our chickens. We still can't harvest any of the wild nuts either though. The fact that they are often wormy [the nuts, not the squirrels ] limits our ability to get nuts even more.  
By totally isolating large trees [making it impossible for them to jump onto the tree from neighboring trees and nailing a smooth surface higher than they can jump up could work, [I have not tried as I do not yet have large nut trees, just strong saplings] but then, we would still have to deal with the worms infesting the nuts. Aarrgh!
 
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