Urban Garden Denver Blog

Peaches vs. Squirrels

We are eagerly anticipating our peach harvest in another week or so, but we are battling the squirrels with the hopes that there will be some peaches left to harvest. The harvest isn’t enormous off our dwarf tree, but there is something very gratifying about harvesting fruit. And nothing compares with the flavor of a peach that is ripe and sweet, rather than one shipped green and allowed to ripen. Last year a late freeze in the spring killed off the peach buds, so we are all-the-more hungry for peaches this year.

Peaches ripening

When we were visiting a friend in Seattle this summer, we strolled through the community garden on the end of his block. We noticed that the apple tree had all the apples cloaked in little socklets. We stood and stared at the sight and finally decided that it must be to keep the squirrels from biting into the apples. So when I bought some new shoes last weekend, I asked for some extra “try-on” socks to put over my peaches. They look really goofy, but if it keeps out the squirrels, I’m all for it. I used the socks strategically on the larger branches that the squirrels seem to favor. If this seems to work, next year I’ll buy a whole box of little socks (or keep old panty hose all winter) to use as peach-guards.

We also have a metal squirrel guard on our large street tree. It has worked over the years because the tree canopy was not touching any other trees. We have noticed that as the trees continue to grow, there is a path for the squirrels to jump to the tree now. In the spring, the squirrels chew the new growth on the branches and are very damaging to the tree, so at least for this tree, we have been able to keep some of the rodents at bay. Our backyard tree is too connected to the neighborhood canopy to benefit from a guard. If you build a guard (from metal flashing), be sure to have springs so it can stretch as the tree continues to grow, otherwise it will harm the tree by cutting into the bark.

I know some people consider squirrels a cute animal, but with the large population of squirrels in our neighborhood, I have come to regard them as rodents with large tails. And pigeons are rodents with wings. We put rows of spikes on our rafters so they don’t build nests and soil our yard.

When I think about battling unwanted yard visitors, I smile when I remember the image of my mother-in-law who would stick a pellet gun out her dining room window because she didn’t like the crows gathering in her trees. She did this even into her 80’s. Not something I’m going to try in my urban neighborhood.

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  1. * Chris Ulshoffer says:

    The peaches look wonderful – and I love the socklets on them! What a great idea 🙂

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 10 months ago
    • Enjoyed two small peaches for breakfast this morning. Looks like there will be plenty for the kids to enjoy when they come home on Weds. from their summer adventures, and to share with our neighbors. Especially the neighbors who have to put up with the tree hanging over their walkway! I let the peaches get almost ripe before picking, then just set a day or two in a paper bag to finish ripening. Tastes like summer and sunshine. Even in this era of being disconnected from where food grows, it is fun to have “real” peaches and tomatoes.

      | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago
    • * Jackie Johnsen says:

      The sock idea sounds great. Nothing like the sweetness of a fresh peach.

      I loved the vision of your mother-in-law.

      | Reply Posted 6 years, 10 months ago
      • * Carla says:

        I am very sad that we dont have any peaches this year. The April freeze got the blossoms.

        Posted 6 years, 10 months ago
  2. * Beth K. Vogt says:

    Too funny! Loved the photo of the peach with the socklet. Any comments from the neighbors?

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 9 months ago

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