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I am aware that there are a lot of articles on how to keep squirrels away from trees. Some of the suggestions include Owl statues, guns, organic repellent, and moth balls.

I don't want to shoot them dead, and I couldn't find the Owls, so I was planning on going with an organic repellent.

Have any of these in particular worked for anyone?

  1. Peppermint Oil/Juice - I have a peppermint plant at my house, and can create this juice or oil out of it and spread them on the tree and the fruit.
  2. Cayenne Pepper/Chili Powder - I was planning to sprinkle some chili powder on the tree and on the fruit.
  3. Black Pepper.
  4. Azadirachta Indica (Neem leaves) Repellent.

Can people who have tried these comment on what worked out best for them?

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  • Owl Statues: Did not work for me, at all. The squirrels knew they were fake, and didn't even hesitate to feed right by them.

  • Guns: I don't like shooting squirrels either, but if you're a good shot (like me xD) it's effective. It's more of a redneck thing I guess, and I prefer to get my meat using other methods.

  • Moth Balls: I haven't tried this. It worked for me to keep groundhogs out from under the shed, but it did smell awful. In the open (eg, in the orchard) I think a hungry squirrel would find that ripe fruit outweighed the disadvantage of being by an awful smell.

  • Organic Repellent: Overall, I find them to be kind of effective, but with a very short residual, and they can definitely taint the fruit flavor.

    1. Peppermint Oil/Juice: Definitely go with oil if you do this - it's far stronger. Just keep in mind a couple drops can kill you, so don't swallow it. I find that with some fruits (especially peaches ime) the mint flavor lingers after harvest, and decreases the crop sellability.
    2. Cayenne Pepper/Chili Powder: The powder can be used as a dust, but has a very short residual and has to be reapplied every couple days. I used a stronger (higher scoville) pepper sauce (from Bhut Jolokia peppers I grew) and applied it in an oil spray. It worked well against the squirrels, but the birds still poked holes in the fruit.
    3. Black Pepper: This is very weak, and although I haven't tried it, it would probably be a very ineffective deterrent.
    4. Azadirachta indica( Neem leaves) Repellent: More of an insect deterrent, not as effective against mammals as some of your other options.

Another one that can work is garlic, which squirrels don't prefer. But again, garlic Like peppermint) can flavor the fruit.

The most success I've had has been keeping the tree crowns too high to jump into from the ground (makes it easier to mow under, and pick fruit too), and putting a 4' slippery aluminum cylinder around the base of each tree. I spray these cylinders with canola oil (with a touch of mint/garlic oil) to make them more slippery and less attractive. They have to be cleaned at least once a week if you spray on them, because of the buildup of dead bugs/lawn clippings/etc.

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