Fruit trees are an ideal addition to any garden, for their shade, beauty and delicious harvest. Unfortunately, humans aren't the only ones that like the fruit trees' bounty, so it can be difficult to get to the fruit before birds, animals or pests do. Keep some important things in mind when trying to protect fruit trees from pests such as birds, squirrels and raccoons.
Scare off birds by tying shiny objects to tree branches around the fruit. The shiny glares or rainbow prisms the objects throw off makes birds nervous and frightened. You can hang these things up during harvesting season, then remove them.
Use netting for the most efficient way to deter birds and critters. But although it is efficient, it is tricky and takes time to do correctly. For young fruit trees, it is simple to throw netting over the top, but mature fruit trees can be hard to cover. Use a ladder or multiple helpers depending on the type of netting you purchase. Also make sure there are no holes at the bottom where the net meets the tree trunk, as animals can squirm underneath and get through.
Distribute predator scents around the fruit tree to deter animals, such as wolves, owls or snakes. They come in liquid or dry forms and are quite easy to apply. These need to be applied regularly though, especially in a wet season where they may not be as effective.
Discourage climbing animals such as raccoons and squirrels by wrapping a 3- to 5-foot band of thin sheetmetal around the trunk. Cut away any small twigs or footholds for animals on the trunk of the tree. Raccoons give up especially easily, so they won't try too hard if they have no way to get up the fruit tree.