Cherry Thieves?

I was out of town for a month in June and July. When I came home, one of my two sweet cherry trees was picked clean, top to bottom. You would have to be on a 12-15 foot ladder and possibly climb the tree to get the top ones.

The other tree, closer to the street, had basically none picked.

Our house is set-back 125 feet from a residential street and this tree is maybe 30-40 feet from the house, i.e. you would be clearly trespassing and it would require 1-2 hours to pick.

  1. I’ve only every seen robins eating them, often leaving partially eaten fruit on the stem. Raccoons couldn’t get the fruit on the thin branches toward the end. Both would leave some fruit on the ground around it, but there’s nothing. They would also likely go after the second tree. I suppose squirrels or crows? But why not the other tree too?
  2. I told three friends they could pick some, but none did.
  3. That only leaves the house painter. He was coming every day for a few weeks with two helpers to paint the inside of the house. I haven’t talked to him yet, but what mindset would you have to pick an entire tree of fruit? I could see the lowest few branches, but I would also ask first.

Any other ideas?

Squirrels. Maybe the 2nd tree is too exposed.

We only really have little red squirrels here and I’ve only ever seen 2-3 at a time. Could they really eat 500-1000 cherries?

My squirrels sure can.

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Not the painter.

No stems left on the trees. No leaves torn up. No mess or pits below.

The squirrels have never touched them before in the last 10 years.

Must have been a coordinated effort of multiple birds, squirrels and raccoons with a

It could be birds and/or squirrels. We have a 6 years old Bing cherry tree, and the only time we got any significant fruits was last year 2021, the year of cicadas. I guess they had enough cicadas to eat, so they left some fruits for us to eat.

It means we have to wait another 17 years to taste our cherries.

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Pests can be inconsistent. Some years there are a few robins, some an entire flock shows up and anything not netted gets stripped. Some years they don’t care for raspberries but this one they took a strong liking for them.

Haskaps are the exception, they would strip those every year.


Without a camera there is no knowing. I believe you posted on here about this before. In my experience birds and squirrels love fruit. Without protecting the fruit I get very little of them.

You might be thinking about my deer problem and caging the trees to protect the leaves. I can’t think of instances when animals got to the actual fruit. It works pretty well, but every once in a while they figure out a way - just recently they knocked over a cage (that was secured to the ground), pulled it entirely off the tree and ate all the leaves.

I’m with @ampersand . I thought it was my lawn guys . . . who ‘relieved me of an entire tree of pecans’ . . . but it turned out it was squirrels - maybe with the help of raccoons, possums? I felt so bad . . . blaming the lawn guys!

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I dunno. The two-legged squirrel can be pretty wiley.

I had one take a newly grafted apple tree I had growing in a Home Depot bucket from my front yard one winter. It wasn’t marked so he would have no way of knowing the variety. Possibly he wouldn’t know if was even an apple tree.

Between the robins and the chipmunks, in past years my cherry trees have been stripped in a matter of a few days. They don’t even care to let them fully ripen before they rob them.

And after a few more days, they clean up any mess they’ve left behind.

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If they get over my defenses I blame myself and make them better.

Birds and squirrels will strip absolutely everything I have regardless of amount or ripeness, except the redcap berries that they ignore for some reason.

Birds can do some real damage to ripened cherries. @mamuang cherry trees got stripped this year from one of her post.

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Like the saying goes: “Pears are ripe a day after the squirrels take them.”

I wish. More like a week or more. I started losing blueberries before they were even blue, and the peaches didn’t have the slightest hint of peach color.

Someone (human) who knew your schedule picked them.
Any other questions?