Here is what Alan and I are talking about. Scroll down on the page aways for the picture.
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.
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).
Use aluminum roof flashing, much easier to work with.
Thanks Alan…I’ll look into that.
@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?
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.
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.
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?
Lois, does this help?
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!
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.
Thanks, guys! That makes it much clearer!
As a life-long scientist, my statement about “studies showing a vertical jumping height of four feet” was very un-scientific of me, since I have been unable to find the source for the claim “studies show the eastern grey squirrel has a vertical jumping height of 4 feet” that is posted on the internet.
I suspect you know more about the jumping abilities of the eastern grey squirrel more than any scientist though.
The original 5" pipe to my bird feeder was set at 4 feet. I had one squirrel that would jump and be able to propel himself from friction (I assume) for a few inches up the pipe to reach the feeder. Now my pipe is 5 feet and I hadn’t had one reach the bird feeder in years. Your squirrels may have developed extra-ordinary jumping skills from selective breeding. Are you using cone baffles or pipes? I just feel that as long as the bottom of the cone is at least 4’ from the ground it would stop most non-Olympian squirrel (Pipes I feel need to be higher).
Squirrel-proofing 101: Four common methods of keeping squirrels out of your birdseed - YouTube
I actually use both because lots of times first branches begin start too low for squirrels so I create a cone using the scaffold branches if I can’t afford to cut them.
When I have a straight trunk of at least 4’ I may be able to get away with a greased cylinder about 32" long- for coons no grease is needed and usually they won’t reach beyond about 3’ to get to wood.
The cylinders can be installed in about 5 minutes, tops, when you have materials ready, but making the cones against branches is a bit of an acquired skill that my assistant is amazingly adept at since I’ve had him do most of the baffling the last few years. I’d say 15 minutes is the most time he spends on the most complex of systems which I can’t really describe.
My wife has been attempting to get photos from my phone to this topic for the last hour. For some reason there’s something wrong with my phone.
Wow…Interesting. Where did you get the material for your inverse cones?
My wife accidentally put up two of the same photos. The top flashing is the thinnest 20" wide stuff home depot carries and the lowest is pre-painted 24". Together they provide enough distance. Lower baffle is stapled on first. We painted the aluminum of the upper part with spray paint after installation. Then we paint the whole thing with a blend of tan axle grease (the red is SO ugly) and motor oil so it’s not too thick but has some staying power. Straight grease actually provides traction on cool nights, apparently. I use a 1 gallon container with a screw top to shake mix the oil and grease combo- best done in the warmth of day.
Sorry, I have no pictures of straight cylinders.
The single picture is what we do with hardest to protect trees. Squirrels can keep going up narrow cylinders and remove the grease, but they’ve yet to defeat the wide cylinders (much wider than most trunks) that start at the ground so squirrels won’t slip between aluminum and the trunk. Like rats they don’t need much space and chipmunks need almost nothing.
We used to use duct pipe, but it is a PIA to work with. It’s the more standard method and you can purchase 5’ lengths of it at HD.
It’s much easier for squirrels to muscle up a narrow diameter baffle. But if you keep it greased they rarely defeat them.
I protect hundreds of trees this way every year.