Pomegranate trees are a delightful addition to any garden or orchard, offering juicy and nutritious fruits. However, the presence of squirrels can pose a significant challenge, as they are determined and resourceful when it comes to accessing the delectable pomegranate arils! To ensure a bountiful harvest, you’ll need to employ effective strategies that deter squirrels from damaging or consuming the fruits. This comprehensive guide explores a range of proven methods, including physical barriers, deterrents, repellents, and trapping techniques, offering instructions to help you safeguard your pomegranate trees and protect your prized harvest from these agile critters.
What You'll Learn Today
- Can Squirrels Eat Pomegranate?
- What Attracts Squirrels To Pomegranate Trees?
- How To Protect Pomegranate Tree From Squirrels Naturally?
- What Animals Eat Pomegranates In The Wild?
- How To Protect Pomegranate Trees From Birds And Other Wild Animals
Can Squirrels Eat Pomegranate?
Yes, squirrels can and do eat pomegranates! While they may not consume the entire fruit, they are known to love feasting on the juicy red arils, inside the pomegranate’s leathery outer skin.
Squirrels have sharp teeth that allow them to break open the fruit and access the tasty arils. They may also consume other parts of the pomegranate, such as the fleshy white pith.
If you’re growing pomegranate trees and want to protect the fruits from being eaten by squirrels or other animals, implementing some protective measures will help minimize potential damage.
What Attracts Squirrels To Pomegranate Trees?
Squirrels are attracted to pomegranate trees for several reasons:
- Food source – Pomegranates are a natural food source for squirrels. Squirrels have a keen sense of smell and can detect the ripening fruits from a distance. They also use their excellent visual senses to spot them.
- Nutritional value – Rich in nutrients, pomegranates contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Squirrels are opportunistic eaters and are drawn to foods that provide them with energy and nourishment.
- Availability – Pomegranate trees are usually heavy cropping, producing an abundance of fruits. This makes the trees an attractive food source for squirrels, as they can feast on them for an extended period.
- Tree structure – The structure of a pomegranate tree with its multiple branches and a dense canopy, provides squirrels with convenient access to the fruits with their agile climbing ability.
- Nesting opportunities – Another reason Squirrels may be attracted to pomegranate trees is for nesting purposes. The dense foliage and branches provide them with both shelter and protection.
Squirrels are natural foragers, attracted to a variety of food sources in their environment. If you have pomegranate trees and a squirrel population nearby, it’s highly likely that they will be drawn to it.
Employing effective methods to protect your pomegranate trees can help minimize squirrel damage and preserve your harvest.
How To Protect Pomegranate Tree From Squirrels Naturally?
Protecting pomegranate trees from squirrels is challenging, because squirrels are persistent, clever, and agile creatures.
There are a variety of methods you can employ to help dissuade these furry pests and for best results several may need to be used.
Here are some effective strategies with detailed instructions:
- Wrap the trunk – Start by wrapping a 24-inch wide metal or plastic tree guard around the base of the tree trunk. Ensure it extends 2-3 feet above the ground. This prevents squirrels from climbing up the tree. One of the downsides to this method is that many pomegranate trees are kept small and there won’t be sufficient trunk to implement the technique.
- Install a metal collar: Place a cylindrical metal collar around the trunk a few feet from the ground. Like the wrap, it should be smooth and slippery, making it difficult for squirrels to climb. Again you need larger trees to use this technique effectively. A cone shaped collar may be more effective on smaller trees.
In this video, you can see a very inexpensive and simple method of deterring squirrels from climbing the trunk of your pomegranate trees to access the fruits:
- Use tree netting – If you have a small tree or pomegranate shrub, you can try covering the entire plant by draping tree netting over the whole thing, securing it firmly at the base.
Ensure the mesh size is small enough to prevent squirrels from entering. For ease, you may want to remove the netting when the fruits are ready for harvest.
- Motion-activated sprinklers – Install motion-activated sprinklers near the pomegranate tree. When squirrels approach, the sprinklers will activate and scare them away.
- Ultrasonic devices – Place ultrasonic devices around the tree. These emit high-frequency sounds that are unpleasant to squirrels, deterring them from approaching.
- Reflective objects – Hang shiny or reflective objects, such as CDs, aluminum foil strips or small mirrors, on the tree branches. The moving reflections can startle squirrels and discourage them from coming near.
- Dogs & Cats – Allowing your pets free reign of the area around your pomegranate tree may help to ward off squirrels.
- Hot pepper spray – Mix water with hot pepper flakes or hot pepper sauce to create a spicy spray. Spray it on the tree and the ground around it. The strong scent and taste will deter squirrels. Reapply after rainfall.
- Predator urine – You can purchase predator urine online or may even find it in some stores. It often comes from animals such as foxes or coyotes. By sprinkling it around the base of the tree the scent acts as a deterrent, as squirrels perceive the presence of predators and stay away.
- Repellent sprays – Look for commercial squirrel repellent sprays and follow the instructions on the product. These sprays usually contain natural ingredients that emit odors that are unpleasant to squirrels.
Trapping and Relocating
This is the least advisable approach for a couple of reasons – Firstly squirrels bite and could cause injury or spread disease. Secondly even if you do remove the squirrels, neighbouring ones will soon relocate to your yard, especially if there’s a readily available food source.
- Live traps – Set up traps near the tree using squirrel-friendly bait like peanuts or sunflower seeds. Once captured, release the squirrels in a suitable location away from your property.
- Check your local regulations regarding the capture and release of wildlife.
For best results, combine multiple methods to increase the effectiveness of squirrel control.
Regularly inspect your pomegranate trees and adapt your strategy as needed. Also, be sure to check local laws and regulations regarding wildlife control to ensure you’re following the appropriate guidelines.
What Animals Eat Pomegranates In The Wild?
In addition to squirrels, several other wild animals may be attracted to your pomegranate fruits:
- Birds – Various bird species are known to feed on pomegranates. This includes sparrows, thrushes, starlings, orioles, and even larger birds like crows and jays. Just like the squirrels, birds are attracted to the sweet and juicy arils and may peck at the fruits or open them to access the edible parts.
- Rodents – Certain rodents, such as rats and mice, also enjoy eating pomegranates. These rodents will climb trees or may find the fruits when they fall to the ground.
- Deer – In areas with deer populations, they can be a potential threat to pomegranate trees. Deer are known to browse on various types of fruits and foliage, including pomegranates. They consume the entire fruit, causing significant damage to the tree and its harvest.
- Raccoons – Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores and will eat a wide range of foods, including fruits. They can climb the trees to raid the ripe pomegranate fruits, consuming both the arils and other parts.
- Opossums – These scavengers enjoy a variety of foods, including fruits. They can climb trees or access fallen fruits and will consume pomegranates if given the opportunity.
Consider the wildlife you have present in your area when protecting your pomegranate trees.
How To Protect Pomegranate Trees From Birds And Other Wild Animals
To protect your pomegranate tree from different animals, including birds, rodents, deer, raccoons, and opossums, you can employ a combination of strategies.
Here are specific methods to safeguard your pomegranates from each of these animals:
Protecting Pomegranates From Birds
There are a few options available to help protect your pomegranates from birds.
- Netting – In the same way that netting can discourage squirrels, it works equally well for birds. Cover the entire tree with netting, ensuring that the mesh size is small enough to prevent birds from accessing the fruits. Secure the netting tightly at the base of the tree to prevent birds from finding an entry point underneath.
- Visual deterrents – Scare devices that work with squirrels, also work for birds. Try hanging reflective tape, or old CDs on the branches or near the tree. The movement and reflections can startle birds and discourage them from approaching.
- Predator decoys – You can purchase decoys online and in some farming stores. Place a plastic owl or hawk decoy near the tree and move it around regularly so birds don’t become accustomed to it being in one spot. Birds will hopefully perceive the decoy as threats and avoid the area. There are also kites that look like hawks which you tether to the ground and will fly around mimicking a predatory bird. These usually work for longer than static decoys because they produce random movement patterns. You do however need wind and a large enough space to use them.
- Audio deterrents – Although the sound of birds can be quite pleasant, birds use distress calls to warn each other of danger. By playing a recording of bird distress calls or predator sounds near the tree you can create an environment of perceived danger, causing birds to stay away.
- Wind chimes or bells – Another audio deterrent is wind chimes or bells. Hang them near the tree to create noise that deters birds. The sound disrupts their peace and can discourage them from landing.
- Non-toxic sprays – There are sprays commercially available which you spray on the outside of your fruit to make it unappetizing to birds without causing them, or you, any harm.
- Homemade sprays – You can also make a taste deterrent spray at home by mixing water or neem oil with a bitter substance like cayenne pepper, garlic, or vinegar. Spray this mixture on the pomegranates to make them less palatable to birds.
- Harvest early – If possible, harvest some of your pomegranate crop before they reach full maturity. This reduces the chance of attracting birds and other animals when the fruits are at their sweetest and most appealing.
To be truly effective a combination of different methods will be required for best results. Experiment to find what works best for your specific bird species and circumstances.
As birds become used to certain deterrents you will need to swap them out for something else, regularly monitoring your tree and making adjustments as needed.
Protecting Pomegranate Trees From Rodents
Just like squirrels, rats are highly intelligent and great at problem solving. It can be quite a challenge to control them.
To protect your tree from rodents, use the exact same methods as for squirrels.
- Physical barriers
- Water sprays
- Strong scents
- Fake predators
- Capture and release
Protecting Pomegranate Trees From Deer
Deer can reach fairly high into the branches of your tree and will not only eat the fruits but the leaves as well. Fencing is your best way to protect your trees.
Erect a sturdy fence around the entire garden area or just your pomegranate tree. Use a fence that is at least 8 feet tall to deter deer from jumping over it.
It’s also best to ensure the fence extends a few inches below ground to prevent them from digging under it.
Protecting Your Pomegranates From Raccoons
For some animals a simple fence is not enough.
- Electric Fencing – No animal likes an electric shock but electric fencing only works on animals who are touching the ground when they touch the fence as this is how it earths through the animal proving the unpleasant shock. As Raccoons are less nimble than squirrels, rats and birds, an electric fence around the pomegranate tree or the entire garden area can be a suitable deterrent. Many types of energizer units are available, mains powered, battery powered or solar powered.
For safety always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation!
- Motion-activated devices – There are a range of motion-activated devices on the market, lights, sprinklers, or sound-emitting which you set up near the tree.
The sudden activation of your chosen device will startle raccoons and discourage them from approaching.
Protecting Pomegranate Trees From Opossums
- Trapping and relocation – Use traps designed for capturing opossums without harming them. Bait the traps with fruit and place them near the tree. Once captured, safely release the opossums far away from your property. Remember to always follow local regulations on this, as trapping is not permitted in some states.
- Tree guards – As for squirrels, metal or plastic tree guards can be used on larger trees to prevent opossums from climbing up and accessing the fruits.
Regularly inspect your protective measures and change them as needed. Ensure you’re following all guidelines and laws for your area.
It’s no wonder that squirrels love pomegranates as much as we do, they are ruby red jewels of juicy, bitter-sweet deliciousness. This means protecting your pomegranate trees from the pesky squirrels is vital if you want to preserve your harvest and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
By implementing a combination of strategies, such as physical barriers, deterrents, repellents, and trapping techniques, you can effectively discourage squirrels from accessing and damaging your pomegranate trees.
Whether it’s using tree guards, motion-activated devices, repellent sprays, or live traps, each method plays a vital role in creating a squirrel-resistant environment.
Ensure you regularly assess and adapt your approach based on the specific challenges you face.
With patience and persistence, you can successfully safeguard your pomegranate trees, ensuring a plentiful harvest of these delicious and nutritious fruits for your enjoyment.