edible trees & shrubs
netting fruit trees and berry bushes
Many fruit trees and most berry bushes will have to be covered with nets to protect them from birds as the fruit ripens. Here's a few tips on using bird netting.
types of netting
White netting on loganberry bushes.
Two Australian sites that I have looked at that offer a good range plus useful information on choosing the best nets for your requirements are
PDF netting manual that can be downloaded. However I stress that I have not bought any netting from either of these companies so I cannot vouch for their reliability or service.
The range available at local hardware stores and nurseries is much more limited, but usually they offer a couple of choices of grades. Most places only sell white netting, however some also sell a limited range of black netting. The average urban gardener should be able to obtain all their bird netting requirements from these local stores.
netting coloursI have seen bird netting available in three colours - white, black and green. I am told that white netting is the most effective as the birds apparently see it as a foreign body and not part off the tree, possibly viewing it as spiders' webs. For this reason, and the fact that it is the most widely available netting in local stores, it is the only colour netting I use. However I do know people who prefer black or green netting for aesthetic reasons.
Using bird netting
Netting covering individual branches of a large plum tree.
Clothes pegs used to draw the edges of the net together underneath a branch.
A. It' best to prune your fruit trees to no higher than the height that you can spread the netting over the top of the tree without having to get up on a ladder. Having to use a ladder considerably slows down the job of putting on and taking off the nets.
B. Consider Summer Pruning your fruit trees to reduce the number of branches you have to throw the nets over.
C. If the tree is a little high use a pole as a prop to lift the net over the top of the tree.
D. If the tree is too large to throw a net entirely over it then cut your net into smaller pieces and wrap individual branches.
E. Use clothes pegs to draw the edges of the net together under the branches. This makes it harder for birds to fly up from underneath.
F. Make sure you do not leave the nets on for longer than necessary as young shoots will eventually grow through the netting, making it harder to remove them without tearing.