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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Ideas for protecting fruits from animals and birds

Yeah, we've all watched those fruits ripening on the trees, bushes, vines, and plants with anticipation only to have *something* take them or eat them on the day you went out to pick them. :evil:

Let's post some ideas for thwarting THEM and protecting our precious fruits.
Comment on their effectiveness, pros and cons.

I'm just going to start with pictures of some mostly temporary/emergency/short term protection that I've posted about before for now. I'll elaborate on them more later. I'll also go find that recent post I made about bird netting and copy it here.
Aluminum pan birdscares watching over blueberries were <br />not always successful -- birds got bolder as time went by <br />despite the motion and sound
Aluminum pan birdscares watching over blueberries were
not always successful -- birds got bolder as time went by
despite the motion and sound
Aluminum pan birdscare protected these strawberries.
Aluminum pan birdscare protected these strawberries.
Don't know if these will work to protect my peaches from <br />chipmunks, squirrels, and --worst case-- groundHOG
Don't know if these will work to protect my peaches from
chipmunks, squirrels, and --worst case-- groundHOG
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Re: Ideas for protecting fruits from animals and birds

Subject: Birds and blueberries, sadness.
applestar wrote:Oh bummer! I was going o say didn't you have a mesh berry house I admired before....

I really really want to build one -- I've made do with arched frames and bird netting, but something rips the netting up -- squirrels? GroundHOG? And then the birds get in anyway AND GET TRAPPED INSIDE. I've had dead and mummified chipmunk stuck in the bottom of the netting, too, and one time a young bunny got caught up in it, and even though we rescued it and took it to a rehab center, they told us it would probably die from the fright.

Anyhow, what I want to do is eventually make a large aviary like structure AROUND the berry bushes. Right now blueberries, blackberries and raspberries (and cherries) are all planted in different parts of the property. I'll have to decide if I want to make one huge structure and plant/transplant inside, or smaller individual structure around each kind of tree/shrub.
The bird netting for blueberries -- I started out with plastic soda bottle topped bamboo stakes holding up bird netting draped over, with some scrap lumber holding down the bottom edges. I quickly learned that any berries that stuck out of the netting or close enough to the netting were fair game to the birds. No matter what I did, wind would move the netting around and blueberries constantly poked out of the netting. Sometimes they got pulled right off by the wind thrashed netting. This was when the chipmunk and bunny got caught in the excess lying around on the ground, and groundHOG would regularly rip through making giant holes.

I upgraded by using PVC hoops to lift the netting away from the bushes, but I made the hoops too low so that you had to crouch in there to pick the berries, which was OK for that season because my kids were still small and were comfortable, but it was a bear to pick them myself. And the draped netting on the ground still posed problems that year.

In addition, removing the netting during the off season to avoid entanglements left the blueberry bushes unprotected from winter hungry rabbits that nibbled down significant portions of the blueberry branches and killed one of them. They also considered new blueberry shoots a tasty treat in early spring, too.

My solution next year was to surround the blueberry bed with permanent 24"H chicken wire fence and securing the bottom of the netting along the top of the chicken wire by threading a nylon cord all the way around. I used two arched trellises with nylon cord strung between them to create 6 ft high netting support, and made one end of the arched tunnel open with plenty of extra netting to create generously overlapping flaps that could be unsecured and opened relatively easily. This worked for another couple of seasons.

But as mentioned above, the netting was still getting ripped by something on occasion, and birds would get in or get entangled and had to be rescued. When they got the netting really wrapped around on them, I ended up cutting the netting to extricate them, with the result that my big netting has too many holes everywhere to be effective this year, and I went without because I REALLY REALLY want to move on up to galvanized metal wire mesh covered aviary type "berry house".
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

imafan26
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Re: Ideas for protecting fruits from animals and birds

I have smart birds, they get under netting and chew through the fruit bags. They are not specialists though. They will always go after the sweetest fruit. When I have papayas they leave the tomatoes alone. If I have cherry and large tomatoes, they go after the big tomatoes first. If I have a phalaenopsis coming into bud, the bulbuls will eat the buds, and then come back and pick off the leaves. Slugs and snails will wait until the strawberries are sweet and ripe. I have to beat the birds to the Brown Turkey figs. I just plant a lot of stuff so that I get some of it and try to beat the birds to it.

I do have to cover my seed trays, otherwise the doves will eat the pea and pepper seeds in the pots.

I have put out a bird feeder. It attracts flocks of society finches. Birds are territorial and keep other birds away. Downside to that was that I had about 50 finches and doves hanging around waiting for the feeder to be filled. While the finches kept the cardinals and bulbuls at bay. Nothing really stops a mejiro.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Ideas for protecting fruits from animals and birds

Well, this made me very grateful that the only thing that has ever eaten any of my fruit is snails. I have birds and squirrels and groundhogs they just seem to leave my stuff alone.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Ideas for protecting fruits from animals and birds

My yellow Anne raspberries have been ripening without attracting attention from birds, but now that my red Prelude raspberries are ripening, I needed to take steps: :twisted:
image.jpg
image.jpg
I'm also beginning to harvest my Arkansas Black apples before the squirrels and chipmunks start taking notice. One year, a groundHOG was climbing my Enterprise apple tree nearly every day to steal the best ones :evil: until I put up an electric fence :twisted:
(...but I won't have to worry about that this year since Enterpise is not having an enterprising year :? The two on the right were the last two fruits on the tree. :| )
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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applestar
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Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

Re: Ideas for protecting fruits from animals and birds

Image
We've been getting rest-stop visits by the migrating robins, but the birdscare is working and not a single red raspberry has been stolen so far (knock on wood!) :()
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

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