Notorious for raiding trash cans and sweet corn plots, raccoons can also destroy your crop of fruit on your fruit trees if you're not careful. According to Utah State University Cooperative Extension, a common sign of raccoon damage on fruit trees is partially eaten fruit still hanging on your trees or on the ground beneath them. Closer observation often reveals the raccoon's characteristic hand-shaped footprint on the ground surrounding your trees. If your area has a history of raccoons, plan on taking preventative steps to protect your trees before this stubborn and persistent animal decides to plunder your fruit harvest.
Install a fence around your fruit trees. Typically, an electric fence is the most effective way for you to exclude raccoons from your fruit. Use at least two wires to provide maximum protection; plastic step-in posts with built-in insulators are an effective post option that you can move around easily if you need to relocate your fence. Locate the bottom wire about 6 inches from the ground and the second wire approximately 6 inches above the first wire.
Reinforce existing fencing. If you already have a fence in place around your fruit trees, just add a single electrified wire 6 to 8 inches out from the fence and about 8 inches from the ground. Utah State University Cooperative Extension suggests that you utilize ribbon-style electric tape instead of wire, since the raccoons are more likely to see it. You should be able to turn the fence off during the day since raccoons typically engage in nighttime raids.
Put metal baffles on the trunks of your fruit trees. Wrapping metal tubes around the trunks of your fruit trees provides an effective way to keep raccoons from climbing the trunks to eat the fruit. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, you can use aluminum or galvanized circular materials such as vent pipe, which is typically sold at hardware or home improvement stores. Another option is aluminum sheet metal. Make sure the baffle is at least 2 feet tall.
Trim overhanging branches from surrounding trees. Raccoons often get to fruit trees by jumping from nearby branches. Visually inspect the trees surrounding your grove of fruit trees and use tree trimmers to trim back any branches that hang close to your fruit trees.
Remove other food sources near your fruit trees. Move garbage cans to a secure location, such as your garage. Make sure your compost is contained in a secure bin rather than exposed on an open pile. Check for pet food containers left outside and move them inside at nightfall. Pick up any spilled livestock feed and fallen birdseed that is near your fruit trees.