ASK Jeff: The Rodale Institute’s farm manager, Jeff Moyer, answers your hardcore farming questions

How can I prevent squirrels and birds from eating my cherries?

Posted July 20, 2004

What Jeff brings to the table

Jeff Moyer, who’s been the farm manager here at the 333-acre Rodale Institute research farm for more than a quarter of a century, receives lots of mail from farmers just like you asking for advice. Jeff’s hands-in-the-dirt experience over the past 26 years has run the gamut from refining the farm's cover cropping and crop rotation systems (including managing 270 acres in a rotation of corn, small grains, hay, and edible soy beans for a Japanese market) to overseeing The Rodale Institue Farming Systems Trial®, the world’s longest running side-by-side comparison of organic and conventional agriculture. We thought it would be fun and informative to share some of these farmer-to-farmer exchanges, and Jeff’s practical wisdom, with our readers … and we’ll be doing it on a regular basis.

Got a question of your own? Send it to Jeff at:

Dear Jeff,

I have two cherry trees and am having a problem with squirrels and birds eating the cherries. I am wondering if your farm has this problem, and, if so, what are some suggestions to prevent this?

Thank you,

Dear Karla,

We don’t have any cherry trees on our farm, but problems with both birds and squirrels in cherries and other stone fruits are not uncommon. Generally, they are more of an issue with backyard growers. The only technique that seems to work is to put a physical barrier over the tree to keep the pests out. This is usually accomplished with netting or spun floating row covers. I realize this is not an easy task, but organically that’s about the only solution available.

Good luck.


Have some questions to Ask Jeff? E-mail him directly at