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squirrels are taking more than their fair share!

 
Posts: 79
Location: Leicester, UK 8b,
2
forest garden trees bee
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I have had enough of trying to calmly accept that the squirrels will harvest some of the things that grow on my field. They have stripped the fruit from 2 mature walnut trees, a pear and are now meticulously removing every single apple from a collection of 4 apple trees. Usually in this situation I would try and change the niche rather than remove the pest. eg Rats are in compost because of the food, move the food and the rats won't want to be there rather than try to eliminate the rats. But how do I apply that theory with trees? They are isolated - no access through the branches but they're running along the ground. Cones on the trunks? Squirrels are more agile than that!

So shall I cull a few in the hope that newcomers won't devastate my crops to the same extent? We are on a suburban plot, quite an island of vegetation. And How do I kill  squirrel?

Any advise would be gratefully appreciated. Or any opinions re killing pests as it would help this veggie work out how I feel!

 
pollinator
Posts: 410
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
170
dog
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To prevent squirrels (rats, raccoons...) from climbing trees and harvesting fruit/nuts the easiest method for isolated trees (trees that cannot be accessed by a fence, tree, building etc.) is a metal collar - snap a length of split stove pipe around each trunk as soon as fruit nears harvest/predation begins, and follow up by diligent picking.  Secondly look into electric mesh fencing (kencove.com) it is about 150 feet for $150, is easily moveable and can be deployed as needed to protect various crops as they come into season.

 Is a dog an option?  Even if you just 'fostered' temporarily for a shelter or rescue during these periods of theft....The problem with killing is it simply creates a void others will eventually move into.
 
steward
Posts: 7926
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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trying to calmly accept that the squirrels will harvest some of the things that grow


I hear you on this.  I have a mature English Walnut (at least 60 years old, possibly 100).

There are several squirrels who showed up every day, ate one walnut, and took another one home with them.
Perfectly acceptable behavior to me.

Then, there is one squirrel who shows up, eats half a walnut, drops it, and takes another.
He will go through dozens each visit - every day during the season.
Another squirrel is almost as bad.

Between these two squirrels, I'm losing about 3-4 dozen per day for weeks on end.
Hundreds of walnuts over the season.  Won't leave me much of a harvest.
This is not acceptable to me.

I'm going to have to teach them some manners if they want to hang out here.
Maybe a sling-shot (with some half walnuts for ammunition)?
 
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
8
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Pellet rifle with a scope and an airgun silencer, legal in most places, about $125 at Big 5
 
gardener
Posts: 967
Location: Ohio, USA
187
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In holistic mangament there is discussion on culling the heard by selective breeding. Perhaps this principle can be used here on the nut trees? Also, what about your raptors? See any around? Maybe you can create more of those niches? Dog is definitely helpful. Coyotes enjoy squirrel too. Not sure if cats might be able to help out- supposedly they do a good job on chipmunks. How to deal with squirrels may depend on local laws. Some areas guns of any sort=no, others it's A-ok.
 
Posts: 323
Location: Pittsburgh PA
18
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Search the critters forum for the squirrel harvesting post. If you build it, they will fill it with nuts. It's worth a try atleast. (Someone put the link up? I can't find it for some reason)
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