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Old July 24, 2017   #1
roxy257
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Default Squirrels eating branches of plant

Over the past few weeks, I've noticed some of the leaves/branches of my tomato plants have been chewed off by some critter/pest. I attributed it to hornworms, so sprayed BT liberally over the plants and it seemed to help the issue.

This morning, I went out to check on the plants and caught the bandit red handed... or red clawed, for that matter. A squirrel was sitting on the fence, happily chewing on a leaf. I chased him off and took a closer look... and yep, several branches had already been gnawed off.
It's bad enough that they eat my tomatoes, now they're going after the plant itself? I threw some bird netting over the top as a deterrent, but I need to go full war on these guys -- I'm royally P/Oed about this! Any suggestions beyond the usual "no chew"/red hot spray?

Thanks!
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Old July 24, 2017   #2
MadCow333
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Squirrels are such lil' s%#*$. You could go buy some black oil sunflower seed at $.50/lb or less, or some cracked corn (it goes for $.35/lb here), and put that out for the squirrels as far away from the tomato plants as you can get. Here, the squirrels are kept so busy stealing my bird feed that they have never thought about trying tomatoes. lol

Can hot pepper sprays be sprayed on tomato plants? I don't know. But hot pepper is one strategy they incorporate into bird seeds. Birds can't taste it but squirrels can.
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Old July 25, 2017   #3
Starlight
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I too would suggest throwing a bit of sunflower seed out. Just a small handful at a time. Not if what happening at your home, but I have the squirrels here big time. Some of the chewing of leaves may be due to them getting ready for winter nest building and late fall babies. They will chew and haul away anything they can for their nests.

Here we have had them run off with small hand towels, large pieces of cardboard they dragged up a tree and then in a matter of minutes had it chewed down to nothing and a cushion for a nest of babies.

When food is in very short supply I have even seen them eating a weed that growing here and eat it for substance.

What driving me crazy right now with the nest building, is I have one I keep catching on top frames of my shade house. I tie my tomatoes up with a very soft cloth-like, stretchy clothes line and darn squirrel has gone through and is chewing all my lines down to get to the ties for its nest. grrrrrrrrrr
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Old July 25, 2017   #4
SteveP
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I keep the squirrels thinned out with my pellet gun. Every year they gnaw on my tomatoes. I take out 8-10 every year and this year they haven't been a problem. Looks like my efforts have finally paid off, at least for a while.
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Old July 25, 2017   #5
jtjmartin
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Sad to say, I've used a "lead fence" for squirrels too. Before I fenced and thinned the squirrel population, I didn't have a single nice tomato between the deer and squirrels.

I naively thought we had a "family of squirrels." I've learned through thinning, that we must have a whole herd.
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Old July 27, 2017   #6
Scooty
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow333 View Post
Squirrels are such lil' s%#*$. You could go buy some black oil sunflower seed at $.50/lb or less, or some cracked corn (it goes for $.35/lb here), and put that out for the squirrels as far away from the tomato plants as you can get. Here, the squirrels are kept so busy stealing my bird feed that they have never thought about trying tomatoes. lol

Can hot pepper sprays be sprayed on tomato plants? I don't know. But hot pepper is one strategy they incorporate into bird seeds. Birds can't taste it but squirrels can.
There's an organic gardener nearby that uses capsaicin oil (google "Texas Creek Pure Evil") to keep the squirrels and raccoons at bay from their maters and corn. I've no idea what the dilution rate is, but they've never had a problem since they started using it. I swear you can smell and tear up sometimes when you're walking by though.

Never bothered to ask how much they have to wash (if at all) to get the residue off so their veggies don't end up hot.
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Old July 27, 2017   #7
MadCow333
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Lol. I'm glad we have lots of woods and trees to supply the squirrels with what they need. No hot pepper tomatoes here, haha.

I don't see the lazy buggers we have ever exerting themselves to drag cardboard up any trees, either. Mine haul many small loads of dead leaves, but won't do any heavy lifting.
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Old August 1, 2017   #8
franknmiss
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roxy257 View Post
It's bad enough that they eat my tomatoes, now they're going after the plant itself? I threw some bird netting over the top as a deterrent, but I need to go full war on these guys -- I'm royally P/Oed about this! Any suggestions beyond the usual "no chew"/red hot spray?

Thanks!
I finally had enough last year - These mean rats with bushy tails would eat one bite out of a tomato and throw it down or worse throw them at me from high up in the trees... They also ate and destroyed $600 worth of wicker furniture on my deck!
Solution: Have-A-Heart traps. I bait them with peanut butter sandwiches. It took two years, but last week I caught my 17th squirrel and carried him off to a wild life management area on a local river. I am for now Squirrel Free and they are living in the land that flows with milk and honey....It's a Win-Win for everybody.
The traps are available on Amazon or at Tractor Supply.
Frank
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Old August 1, 2017   #9
gorbelly
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadCow333 View Post
Lol. I'm glad we have lots of woods and trees to supply the squirrels with what they need. No hot pepper tomatoes here, haha.

I don't see the lazy buggers we have ever exerting themselves to drag cardboard up any trees, either. Mine haul many small loads of dead leaves, but won't do any heavy lifting.
They really are lazy when they can afford to be! I live in an area with lots of old mast-producing trees and shrubs, so I lose very few tomatoes to squirrels. I cover the low-hanging large tomatoes when they reach mature green size with organza bags or panty hose, and that's enough to make the lazy buggers give up. Although I resigned myself to letting them have some of my cherry tomatoes since covering those fruit would be a hassle, it turns out they've been uninterested in them except for the occasional Maglia Rosa or Sungold. They're lazy but they have good taste, I guess.
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