No Tree Pests Allowed: Using Sheet Metal To Protect Your Fruit Tree

One of the challenges of growing fruit is that there are bandits, known as squirrels, rats and raccoons, that want to climb up the tree and steal all your fruit. One trick is to use sheet metal to prevent squirrels from climbing the tree. Also, by keeping squirrels out, you will be less likely to have a squirrel climb into your attic to create a nest.

Measure The Diameter Of The Tree

First, you use a measuring tape to measure the diameter of the tree. Purchase a strip of sheet metal that is long enough to wrap around the tree once with some overlap. Steel sheet metal from a company like Enterprize Steel & Sales steel sheets is a great option because it is very durable.

Tighten The Sheet Metal Around The Trunk

Sheet metal is effective at keeping squirrels and other tree-climbing critters out because the smooth surface is difficult to climb. Wrap a wire around the sheet metal to hold it in place. Tighten the wire so that the sheet metal forms a cone, with the top of the sheet metal only having a small opening. This will prevent pests from climbing underneath the sheet metal and up the tree. Drill screws through the ends of the sheet metal to hold the piece together. As the tree trunk widens, you can remove the wire and the sheet metal will remain in place.

Secure The Bottoms With Wooden Blocks

One way to hold the sheet metal in place is to place wooden blocks around the inside of the cone. Then, screw the sheet metal to the wooden blocks to hold the bottom parts in place, preventing the sheet metal from lifting up and creating an opening to the tree.

Make Sure The Sheet Metal Is Tall Enough

Your sheet metal will need to be tall enough because many animals, especially squirrels, can jump over sheet metal that is too short. The sheet metal should be at least five feet tall since squirrels can jump up to five feet.

Trim Low-Hanging Branches And Eliminate Other Methods Of Access

Low-hanging branches can provide a route onto the tree, so make sure they are trimmed so that critters cannot leap and climb up the tree. Also, look around the tree for anything else that may assist animals at climbing up the tree. Keeping animals off your tree in the first place is the most humane way to protect your fruit and isn't expensive either.