Last spring it looked like I would have a record crop of apples off of the 4 semi dwarf trees in my side yard. Sprayed and pampered the trees throughout the spring and early summer. Then noticed apples on the ground with more and more with small bites from the neighborhood squirrel. By fall did not even have enough apples for a pie. Even thought about taking the trees out. Do you have any suggestions as to keeping the squirrels away from this year's crop? Thought about a tall poultry wire/cage around trees or perhaps bird netting around the lower branches.
Squirrels are tough to control as they can leap quite high. You can use a plastic shield around the base of the tree much like the power company uses on poles (black plastic) to keep squirrels from chewing on the transformer wires. This will not work if you have limbs low enough for squirrels to leap on.
Have you considered putting out an alternative food source such as field corn still on the cob at about the time the fruit become attractive? You might be able to distract them, particularly if the squirrels have to work a bit at it to get to the corn.