I would have had dozens of pears. Probably more than I should have left on the tree.
Since the tree is only around 5 years old and isn’t going to be doing any more fruit production this year, should I focus on giving it more nitrogen so it can grow out further? What would position it well for next year?
Sorry to hear that. I feel for you as I am having the exact same problem now. My Korean Giant is barren, stripped clean before they even were near ripe. I think I have a groundhog issue as I have had several sightings and no raccoon sightings recently. There are lots of broken limbs which means something bigger than a squirrel.
So far my groundhog trap has caught nothing. I am going to move it to a new spot soon. One thing I did which seems to have helped is on my front peach trees I wrapped them in masking tape on the trunks and painted with tanglefoot. I did it in a spot to make it hard to jump or step over, it was several feet off the ground and maybe 6-8" of wrapped area… Since that time there have been no major branch breakages or losses on those trees, and the breakage has shifted to my rear orchard which I did not treat this way. I probably need to do that on more trees. Has anyone else tried tanglefoot for groundhogs and the like?
I am sorry for your loss. I know how frustrating it could be. All the Asian pears on my first tree were stripped clean by squirrels in one day. My youngest sister in Missouri just told me that she gave up on planting fruit trees. She made a cylinder out of chicken wire and put on one branch of the pear tree, hoping she could save some to taste. Somehow the squirrels still got them. Unripe Asian pears are inedible so there is no point in harvesting them early. There is one consolation: there are so many wild American persimmons in her area and the squirrels don’t care for them, so she will settle for that. I hope you will all find some ways to stop the intruders and save the fruits. I am putting hardware cloth over some parts of the fence now and it deters the squirrels, but not the rats.
If it’s any consolation, my pear tree is also bearing for the first time this year and your post motivated me to buy and install a baffle on the trunk. You probably saved my pears, because we have raccoons like crazy here.
My tree is pruned so there are no branches until 5’ high to keep it out of reach of the deer, so I bought a 4’ section of 10 inch round metal HVAC duct and clipped it together around the trunk.
Can you post a pic of your fruit tree baffle so that the rest of us less crafty folks can learn from you, please? I have had an orchard for about 5 years now with the critters getting all but a few fruits. I have a solar electric fence but somehow the fence gets grounded out between weekly visits. I am looking for anything anyone has tried that seems to work!
Sorry for the late reply, but here’s a pic of my baffle. Nothing fancy, it’s just a 10 inch round piece of duct, 4 feet long. You can get it at any hardware store, and it takes about 30seconds to attach around the trunk. The downside is that your tree cannot be close to any other tree that the critters could jump into it from, and it has to have a fairly long straight trunk with no branches.
Thanks, BigDoug03. It does look very simple and doable. And if the apples on the ground are any indication of success, it seems like you have been able to keep fruit in the trees until they ripen and fall. This will be my go to fix for the next year, along with an electric fence. It seems like you have to try to outwit the critters every step of the way!