Living Arroyos

Six steps forward, two steps back…

squirrel damage

The ground squirrels made short work of our cages.

With three volunteer planting days already under our belts, we’re making good progress on getting our acorns in the ground. Unfortunately, we discovered that the “rodent-proof” cages we installed on our first planting day… weren’t.

California ground squirrels are abundant on the Stanley Reach. We knew they liked acorns. What we didn’t know was how efficiently they’d be able to gnaw through our cages. What to do? We didn’t want to try to get rid of the squirrels – after all, they were here first, and they’re an important part of the ecosystem too. They’re a prime target of the site’s resident red-shouldered hawks, for example.


Building cages is easiest with two people – one to hold, the other to tie.





So we decided to replace the plastic cages with galvanized wire ones. Volunteers built more than 400 cages at our November 2 workday.


Green indicates that the hole contains coast live oak acorns; orange is for valley oak.


Steve Huckabone shows how it’s done.

We installed more than half of them that day as replacements for the plastic ones. Since then we’ve installed the rest and added more.