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Thread: Covering Fruit Trees To Keep Birds Off

  1. #1
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Covering Fruit Trees To Keep Birds Off

    Here at Mud Manor we have an orchard, which we have recently covered with bird netting (will post in another thread about that). We also have a few isolated trees around the garden that will fall prey to hungry birds if they are not covered. So today we covered an apple tree.

    For our net cover we used:

    4 star pickets
    Two lengths of poly water pipe
    Some tie wire
    Some netting clips
    about 3 metres x 5 metre wide bird netting



    The water poly pipe can be quite expensive, but if you go to your local hardware store or poly pipe supplier and explain what you intend to use it for you may be able to get it for nothing. Accidents happen and it is not unusual for a roll of poly pipe to be crushed in a load or driven over by a truck. Poly pipe will split in this instance and will no longer be usable for water. By asking around we got 4 full rolls of poly pipe for free.


    First we got 4 star pickets and hammered them into the ground around the base of the tree



    We then cut two lengths of poly pipe to go over the tree





    We attached this poly pipe to the star pickets





    making two arches crossing over the top of the tree.

    We then secured the top of the arches together



    Next we spread the netting over the arches



    tidied it and gathered it where necessary and secured it to the poly pipe arches with tie wire and netting clips



    We then secured the bottom of the netting with paving bricks, although anything weighty would do the same job.



    TaDa - One covered tree - now safe from grazing birds.

    The whole job took under 1 hour and will keep the fruit safe for us for the whole season, while still letting in bees and bugs.

  2. #2
    Sustainable Member tarabrae's Avatar
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    That is very similar to what we have planned for netting our trees (good tip on the asking for dodgy polypipe too!)

    I've used the same kind of method to build a shadehouse, but we put the poly over the star pickets instead of tying them together. We added a little bracing out of bits and pieces, and voila! Shadehouse

    I've heard of plenty of people using old net curtains for trees too - don't know that they would last as long, but not a bad short term cheap solution if you find them at the local thrift store...
    mythic aussie doomer

  3. #3
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarabrae View Post
    but we put the poly over the star pickets instead of tying them together.
    We couldn't because the polypipe we scored was too small a diameter. Still when you get it for nothing you're not going to complain.

  4. #4
    Sustainable Member paturner's Avatar
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    oh wow, thanks for posting this. Although my harvest is past, this will work great for me next year over the elderberries and raspberry bushes.
    tarabrae, I've got some old sheer curtains like you're talking about and thought about draping them over the bushes but didn't, I was afraid they would rot in the hot sun. (the sun was uncannily harsh this summer here for some reason)
    some folks around here, will take those cheap aluminum pie pans, and you sort of fold them like a taco but not all the way closed just bent. then you hang them around the tree and because they're bent like that, they just turn and turn with every little breeze and that frightens the birds away.
    it looks kind of cool too!

  5. #5
    Sustainable Pioneer ♥RĎRMR♥'s Avatar
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    yeah the tin pans don't work for parrots though.

    I have used sheers...once. The UV is too much for them..... they last a season... so in an emergency it will work.... and sometimes it IS an emergency if you get a flock come through (it was red tailed black cockatoos at the time for me)... they DECIMATE the fruit tree's in one visit...

    Thanks for posting that Aussie! Score on the dodgy poly pipe... that is the SMART way to do it!

  6. #6
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tarabrae View Post

    I've heard of plenty of people using old net curtains for trees too - don't know that they would last as long, but not a bad short term cheap solution if you find them at the local thrift store...
    Tara, I was just thinking about the net curtains. You need the bees to be able to get in to do their thing with the flowers. So maybe netting curtains are not a real good idea. I know in Aus in Bunnings you can get some pretty cheap white bird netting which would do the job for a season.

  7. #7
    Sustainable Member paturner's Avatar
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    Parrots! Oh wow! No, I guess the tin pans wouldn't work for them LOL
    I forget about you folks being in Australia sometimes. Parrots would be too smart to be fooled by the pans!
    Wow, a flock of parrots!

  8. #8
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    We have parrots here in absolute plague proportions. Mostly the sulpher crested cockatoos, but we do get our share of black cockatoos too. Then there are the galahs and the king parrots. They are brazen and wont be scared off at all. A few times I've had to go right up to them and physically push them off the tree and then they only fly round to the other side. Of course the king parrots are tame around here. They are fed by most households and will happily sit on your hand to feed.

  9. #9
    Sustainable Member paturner's Avatar
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    oh wow Aussie, that sounds like something out of a fairytale.
    that's an awesome job too on your netting.
    our berry bushes are along a fence and I can use it to hold up stakes like you have and put the netting over the bushes.
    I did get a huge crop of elderberries off my bushes this year.
    I make wine from them.
    it's good for you!

  10. #10
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Here's DH feeding a couple of king parrots





    The male is the one with the red head. The females and the juveniles have a green head.

  11. #11
    Sustainable Regular residualheat's Avatar
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    Good idea. Do you have an issue at all with small birds getting tangled in the netting?

    There is a growing population of parakeets in the south east of England. It was a real shock to see a flock of them for the first time.

  12. #12
    Sustainable Regular residualheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie View Post
    Here's DH feeding a couple of king parrots

    The male is the one with the red head. The females and the juveniles have a green head.
    I hope that's paint on his shirt!

  13. #13
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Birds don't get tangled in the net because it's fairly tight so they can walk over it. If it's to loose they might get tangled.

  14. #14
    Sustainable Pioneer ♥RĎRMR♥'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by residualheat View Post
    I hope that's paint on his shirt!
    LOL! well in my experience... it probably ISN'T.....

  15. #15
    Sustainable Member paturner's Avatar
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    wow, he's feeding them right there in his hands.

    that picture makes my day!

  16. #16
    Sustainable Regular residualheat's Avatar
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    Okay

    I have a huge fondness for birds, even bad birds, and worry about them at the drop of a hat.

  17. #17
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    RH, I'm a registered bird carer. I'm registered by our Dept of Sustainability and Environment to care for ill and injured native Australian birds. I rehab birds of prey. I also raise young birds every year. I also have a huge fondness for birds.

  18. #18
    Sustainable Regular residualheat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie View Post
    RH, I'm a registered bird carer. I'm registered by our Dept of Sustainability and Environment to care for ill and injured native Australian birds. I rehab birds of prey. I also raise young birds every year. I also have a huge fondness for birds.
    Really? Then you'll know a lot more about them than I do, Aussie! I have great respect for what you do.

  19. #19
    Sustainable Member Aussie's Avatar
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    Here's a few of my past patients:-
















  20. #20
    Sustainable Regular residualheat's Avatar
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    They're gorgeous, Aussie What's the one at the top with the big yellow beak?

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