Pests such as squirrels, birds and insects can devastate a garden if not kept under control. As with many things in life, prevention is always worth a pound of cure. Consider the following steps to protect your fruit trees from some of the most stubborn and destructive pests.
Set up a 5/8-inch bird net around your trees before the fruit begins to ripen. By setting them up early, birds will not make a habit of entering your yard for feeding and raiding.
If birds are still entering the yard and exploring your trees, set up sound emitters at various locations in your yard. Rotate the emitters twice a week to ensure the birds do not adjust to the sound.
Where shooting is permitted, purchase a pellet gun and shoot encroaching birds. The noise is typically sufficient to scare away additional birds.
Invest in a cat, and allow it to wander outside. Birds will be scared away by this stealthy hunter.
Remove rotting debris from the base of your trees so as not to attract boring insects.
Thoroughly examine the bark of your trees to ensure the trees are healthy. Healthy trees are unattractive to most destructive insects.
Apply Dursban, Thiodan or lindane to the trunks of trees that appears to have multiple cracks in the bark, to prevent moths from laying eggs and feeding on your trees.
Trim all tree branches 6 feet from the ground and from structures such as roofs. This deters squirrels from noticing the developing fruit on the limbs. Place all trash and pet food in locked, lidded containers that squirrels cannot open. Patch holes in your house to prevent squirrels from breaking in and making nests.
Fasten a 12-inch-wide piece of sheet metal around the trunk of your tree, roughly 6 feet from the ground. The sheet metal prevents squirrels from climbing the tree, because it is too slippery for a squirrel's grip.
Invest in a squirrel hunting dog, such as a hound or terrier, and give the dog the full run of the yard. Squirrels will avoid entering the yard entirely because of the predator.
Stuff nylon knee highs with mothballs and hang them around your tree, especially where the largest clusters of fruit are growing. The odor naturally deters squirrels.
If you live in an area where shooting is permitted, most squirrels can be taken out with a pellet gun. Typically the noise of gunfire is enough to scare additional visitors out of your trees.