DIY Squirrel Baffle ideas?

Hey all,
I was thinking of making a Squirrel Baffle this year for a plum tree just so the squirrels/chipmunks dont knock off any fruit.
I saw some pics of Squirrel Baffle online, but they are all for small set sizes of poles that hold up bird feeders; and not made to wrap around a larger diameter tree. LIke these:

I saw one DIY one, but it didn’t look pretty:

I can see a squirrel still climbing around that one.

Just curious if anyone has any ideas how to make a simple effective one.
I’ll be netting around July too for the birds, but this early, I want to stop the squirrels too.

Thanks for any ideas!,
Ari

You can just wrap the trunk with smooth sheet metal. Usually used in roofing. Make the collar a couple feet up the trunk otherwise they will jump from the ground to the trunk above the metal. Make sure the squirrels cant jump from an adjacent tree into the top of the tree you are trying to protect as well.

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Wrap the trunk with an electric fence spaced a couple of inches from the tree http://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/economy-wood-post-insulator-black-pack-of-25?cm_vc=IOPDP1
Then at the top of the wire have something like this waiting for him with the center cut out http://www.amazon.com/Behrens-Replacement-31-Gallon-Steel-Trash/dp/B000RUAUIK/ref=sr_1_31?ie=UTF8&qid=1463881219&sr=8-31&keywords=garbage+can+lids

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Do you also electrify the garbage can lid or just use it as a swinging baffle?

I use roofing coil stapled into the trunk forming cylinders. They need to start about 18" above the ground and be 2.5 ft long cylinders over branchless trunk so first branches are at least 4’ above the ground. Two pieces will be needed if you can’t find roofing coil that wide- you staple the lower one first so seems can’t be used for traction.

I mix axle grease with motor oil to paint a slick coating that doesn’t quickly evaporate (like pure motor oil) or provide traction on cool mornings (as does the grease).

Squirrels will jump at least 4’ to lowest branch to get around baffle and starving squirrels will keep trying until all coating is removed but the method is usually effective at sites where fruit would be removed otherwise. I’ve been working on this for 20 years at many sites and mostly settle on this method because it is quick to install. Remove after harvest as it can cause cambium issues if left over winter.

Use a strong staple gun. Coil is available at big box home improvement centers, but only up to 24" wide. Remember that squirrels are rodents that can squeeze through a narrow space so coils need to be reasonably tight.

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Picture please. I can’t visualize what you are describing.

Here is what Alan and I are talking about. Scroll down on the page aways for the picture.

http://wdfw.wa.gov/living/tree_squirrels.html

I would just electrify the wire.

I’ve used electricity. It is only reliable in my experience if you use the kind of constant charger that needs an outlet. Some squirrels will get over a pulsating charger because it is over a second between charges.

Keep in mind that they can also jump high and you need to keep the charge from being grounded by touching the tree. I made individual electric fence boxes for every tree and it worked but took much more time than simply stapeling flashing to a tree trunk. Cut the flashing with a razor-blade knife and the construction is complete in 10 minutes. The staples and flashing doesn’t hurt the tree if you remove it after harvest.

Now if you are talking about an effective electric system around an entire orchard, I fully endorse that approach.

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Cool thanks for the ideas guys. I guess I’ll try simple sheet roofing metal first, and upgrade to electrifying it next year if that doesn’t work out.

Instead of stapling in the roofing sheet metal/coil piece to the tree, can you use roofing nails (to make only 1 hole instead of 2 holes with stapes)? Something like this:

Staple makes smaller holes and is simple to use. Nails were in my first prototype. My client said a saleswoman for a tree care company had tears in her eyes when she saw my handiwork. She considered my method medieval tree torture and about convinced my client as much.

Sometimes it is hard to staple the metal down on an uneven trunk but we always manage to do it fairly quickly. Nails would double the time of installation at no winning advantage and create much larger wounds. Might be a good source of zinc, though. Old timers method.

Protecting my valuable assets (Jujubes). This one was made from a 24" x 36" galvanized sheet metal from Lowe’s. I am looking for a better source for sheet metal, as the 24" x 36" makes for a lot of waste. The 15" radius drawn on the sheet metal seems to be quite adequate for most critters (You don’t need a full 30" since part of the circle won’t be used).

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Use aluminum roof flashing, much easier to work with.

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Thanks Alan…I’ll look into that.

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@Livinginawe how is the funnel attached to the tree? Nails or staples? Will it not hurt the tree?
Also your baffle seems pretty low on the tree? Can’t the squirrels just jump over it?

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Yes, you are correct…an agile squirrel could jump to the tree from the deck. It needs to be at least 4 feet high (the 5 to 6 feet posted on the internet is not supported by studies). I am hesitant to cut off the lower branch (so I can raise it) since it is loaded with fruit and so far I have watched a squirrel test it, but gave up quickly. After harvest, I plan on making metal cones for most all of my jujubes (need to do a lot of pruning). I noticed the varmints already wiped out a small (8 ft) Li jujube I have in the front yard.

I just have it hanging with wire since it isn’t the final location. A nail or two shouldn’t hurt though.

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I’d like to know what studies. I have a site where every unbaffled tree had every piece of fruit removed this year, as did the trees with slightly over 5’ of clearance. The two trees with almost 6’ of clearance still had all their peaches and Asian pears- generally far more attractive fruit than the unbaffled apples. The lower baffles were protecting peaches.

I’ve observed this on several occassions over the years, but you’d have to do a controlled experiment at many different sites to learn about this.

I have other sites where fruit is removed by squirrels consistently without baffles but 4’ is enough

I’m talking about grey squirrels and from about 15 years of experience with baffles at 40-50 different sites where I’ve used baffles because of squirrel pressure.

I will accept research that covers these variables and just assume that the squirrels that jump so high are peculiar to my region.

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Because I have no sense of geometry whatsoever, could someone post a diagram showing how to cut a baffle out of sheet metal, what shape it should be?

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Lois, does this help?

https://sheetmetalworld.com/sheet-metal-news/fabrication-tutorials/22-sheet-metal-tutorials/5961-learn-how-to-layout-a-cone-in-sheet-metal

It’s a little mumbely at first but gets clearer when you actually plug in the formula. I suggest you start with a big sheet of poster board!

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Raccoon%20barrier
This uses 3’ wide sheet metal…I could only find 2’ wide metal…My diameter was 15"; I don’t know if that will be enough for a large raccoon.

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