*&^!@#$%* Squirrels!!!!!!!

Discussion in 'Maples' started by maplesandpaws, Jun 17, 2012.

  1. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Apparently the squirrels like my potted maples. So far no actual damage (yet), but 2-3 times today - and today is the first time I've noticed it - I've noticed that the soil in various pots has been disturbed, like they've been digging in them, either looking for food or burying stuff. The trees are up on tables (about 18-24" off the ground), close to the house and under a large pin oak. We back onto a creek with a bunch of trees, so this is not a problem that's going to go away.

    Has anyone had problems with squirrels? What have you done/used that has been effective in keeping them away from the trees and/or out of the pots (short of completely surrounding the trees with cages/chicken wire)?
     
  2. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    If you walk into a garden center you will see several overpriced products that claim to work and some do, but most are expensive and smell awful.

    I find a cheap and effective way is to sprinkle some cyan pepper powder on the surface of the pot. They tend to get the hint pretty quick. I am not saying it's a bullet proof solution, but most of the time the squirrels will learn there are better places to dig then in your pots. Chipmunks are guilty of digging in pots too. I know of other solutions, but I don't feel comfortable posting them on a forum.

    Be careful that they do not bite or peel the bark off your maples. In my area the brown squirrels are terribly known for this destructive practice. They are even responsible for the loss of large branches on full sized maple trees around the city.
     
  3. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    I'll give the cayenne a try... How much did you typically use for a 8-9" pot? So far, it seems like they're only going after the potted maples in the backyard (where just over half are, unfortunately); the ones in the front haven't been touched. Yet.

    To help prevent them chewing/peeling the bark, what can be done? I'm worried they may start doing this come fall or winter. I wouldn't mind knowing your other 'solutions' if you want to PM me...

    Thanks!
     
  4. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    Like cooking, I never measure when using seasoning so it’s hard to say an exact amount. A lite dusting is good, not so much that it looks like ground cover, but enough that it's effective. For the yard, I buy the cheapest I can find. It all seems to work the same for this purpose. The idea is that when they start to sniff around it burns their nose and eyes. If they dig it gets on their paws and burns when they touch their face. They are not the smartest creatures but they will put it together and find another place to dig.

    I wrap mine with Dewitt Tree Wrap.
     
  5. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    Living in the woods as I do, there are squirrels everywhere. These are gray squirrels. For 16 years I had no problems, really, other than the occasional nibble and lots of digging. Until last year. Then they went berzerk! They started chewing up everything and anything that had plastic on it. They ate the spark-plug wires off my car. Garden furnishings. Everything. And of course, my maples too. They somehow got under my house and made a nest. I had to pay an exterminator.


    After trying repellents, sprays, traps and poison - all with no results - I finally got a gun. A .22 rifle with a nice scope. I killed 85 squirrels last year. A dozen this year. I no longer have squirrel damage, and I don't feel bad about it. The word is out in MY woods...



    P.S. Chipmunks do a lot of damage too, and are really bad for digging up things in pots. They're ground squirrels, and if I see them, they eat lead too. Grrrr!
     
  6. BigBudz

    BigBudz Active Member

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    get a nice BBgun and blast those &%^$ers!
     
  7. SFyffe

    SFyffe Active Member

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    Unfortunately, I have had to start picking my squirrels off....Hawks weren't getting the job done.

    The have done damage to several of my trees that i have in barrels. They chew the bark off the bottom of the plant. I they look for things that grind their teeth down. I don't know. They are extremely destructive.

    Stephen
     
  8. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    Trust me, I would LOVE to shoot them (well, have my hubby shoot them), but living in the city limits, that's a big no-no. I do plan to give the cayenne pepper a try, I also read that putting a layer of stones (ie, river rock) over the soil helps to deter them from digging. But, for now I have moved all my maples into the front courtyard since I haven't had any problems there and the bleepin' buggers nearly unpotted my Murakumo the other day.

    K4 - That's crazy! Eating the spark plug wires in your car? You sure you didn't leave a little bit of the good stuff out for them to sniff? lol That must have been some pot of squirrel stew... :)
     
  9. ajaykalra

    ajaykalra Member

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    My problem is probably not as extensive as yours. I have around 50 maples in small pots and discovered few months ago that the pots were getting dug into. I simply put big rocks on top of the pot around the tree. These rocks are heavy for squirrels to tip over. Majority of my pots are still without rocks but if problem persists, I will go with rock on all my pots.

    Ajay
     
  10. elrebe

    elrebe New Member

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    I did the same thing around my compost Ajay. It stopped anything digging and getting into the container. Raccoon is another, but if your willing to live with building a dam around anything with the stones, eventually you'll win! The rocks in my case provide a nice staircase to the compost!
    By the way, I thought your title for this one was really funny.
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2012
  11. eq72521

    eq72521 Active Member

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    I like the cayenne pepper idea. As long as it doesn't do to maples what it does to my rear end.

    For some reason, l read somewhere - I read about putting bubble gum down their holes to kill em off.
    I did it last year - It seems to have reduced the problem quite a bit.
    They do like to dig a inch or two down into the top layer of the pots. I don't get it.
     
  12. seventrees

    seventrees Active Member

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    Tried the pellet gun approach several years ago. Had to give that up for fear of neighbors reporting me to police. Problem worsened to point that smaller plants were being damaged by exposing too much of small root mass. See new tactic in photo below. Takes a little time, but effective so far.
     

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  13. jacquot

    jacquot Active Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I have tried pepper, the verified hottest I could find, and it did not work. They dig in the spring, that's annoying, but basically OK. My problem is that they seem to have a taste for Japonicum leaves just as they start to unfurl. I spray around the base of the trees in the spring with one of the garlic-based deterrents, and that seems to work, which reminds me, I need to get some. After they leaf out enough, they leave them alone, and the smell goes away pretty quickly...
     
  14. Poetry to Burn

    Poetry to Burn Active Member

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    those critters can girdle a good size maple in a few minutes. when food is scarce, especially in areas where there is heavy competetition they will eat anything with the slightest amount of nutrition.

    i'm with kaitan. lead poisining is very effective
     
  15. JT1

    JT1 Contributor

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    I met someone once who had a squirrel problem and a chipmunk problem. They love their garden and since it's such a big investment, they needed to stop the damage these rodents were doing. They started with the pepper and it worked for a while, but then it seemed like it just wasn’t cutting it anymore. The expensive repellents seemed to repel humans better than it did rodents.

    They finally broke down and bought a pellet riffle. They found the pointed pellets were most accurate. With a little practice, they got their accuracy up to about 98% from more than 100' away. Over the course of a year, they took care of the problem and their garden is now trouble free.

    With chipmunks, this person I met, used a 5 gallon bucket. They filled it 2/3 of the way up with water. They added sunflower seeds (they float), so many seeds that it completely covered the surface of the water, with a little mound in the middle. The dried seeds on top of the floating seeds below, made it look like a bucket full of seeds. They used a 2.5' to 3' board as a plank. The board was about 6" wide and 1" thick. They did not want to use a board too narrow as the rodents maybe afraid of heights. They did not want the board to be too short, because it would be too steep for the rodents to climb. They set up the bucket along the house where the rodents like to travel, near a shrub and the air conditioner, because they wanted the rodents to feel safe when venturing up the plank.

    Over the course of a few days, all the chipmunks and mice were lost, but found when they emptied the bucket. After putting the bucket out only a few days a month, over the course of the season, the mice and chipmunks were gone.

    I wish I could remember this person’s name who shared this with me... Maybe they will come back to this year’s garden tour.
     
  16. Kaitain4

    Kaitain4 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

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    I've heard of that method, JT. I still swear by my .22 :D

    My greatest problem is with voles. If anyone has a sure-fire way to get rid of those nast critters, please share!
     
  17. copperbeech

    copperbeech Active Member

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    I will rent you out my cat ;)
     
  18. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    my problem is the neighbours cats! how do I stop them from cr%^@ing in my garden
     
  19. copperbeech

    copperbeech Active Member

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    cat cr%^ could be considered as soon to be worthwhile organic material for the garden ;). I am willing to put up with such very fresh organics if at the same time the cat keeps in check the mice/voles.
     
  20. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    yes, but sigh - cat cr%^ could also be considered biohazardous waste (cats are a source of Toxoplasmosis). cats eat songbirds.
     
  21. copperbeech

    copperbeech Active Member

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    Cats indoors or outdoors is always a controversial topic....nuff said.
     
  22. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    uh, okay i hadn't considered indoor cats to be contraversial.
     
  23. copperbeech

    copperbeech Active Member

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    Sigh....it is clear that your statement in fact reveals your knowledge of the controversy for both sides of the 'indoor outdoor' debate.

    I assume there is no such kerfuffle regarding the planting of maples in the ground or in a pot. (See how I defused the situation? :))
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2013
  24. growing4it

    growing4it Active Member 10 Years

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    apparently my frustration with cat scat in my garden where I grow my food and put my hands and where children play and my concern for birds and small animals is unreasonable
     
  25. maplesandpaws

    maplesandpaws Active Member

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    now i really hate these flippin' tree rats. apparently, they have discovered, and enjoy chewing on/digging in/playing with a few of the larger maples i have in pots on the patio in the back yard. they've ripped off a few small branches from both my taro yama and shinju, a larger branch from my tsukushigata (though the thing is so full, i can't tell from where) and, most upsetting, the entire branch, and only one on that side, from my red dragon. good thing we don't have a varmint rifle currently, or i would have been on a rampage... other than shooting, is there anything i can do to at least try to discourage them from playing around my trees? we have two large, mature pin oaks in the back yard (ie, LOTS of acorns), back onto a creek with many, many cottonwoods, have large silver maples in the front yard - there's just no getting away from squirrels. digging in my pots is annoying, but destroying my trees is another matter entirely.
     

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