Protecting fruit trees from birds is an important part of caring for your home orchard. Managing the pest birds who would eat every bite of fresh fruit if they could requires attentiveness, vigilance and an understanding of the different ways to protect your trees. Birds particularly like to eat soft, stone fruits like cherries and peaches. Those with larger orchards might choose to accept fruit loss, but if you only have a few trees, losing fruit to birds becomes a real problem for production.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Electronic noise maker
- Cracker shells
- Mylar strips
- Plastic netting
- Paper bags
- Twist ties
Make some noise. Use an electronic noise maker near your fruit trees to scare the birds away. An alternative is to shoot cracker shot from a shotgun. These cartridges make two loud noises, once when shot and again when they explode after travelling 100 to 150 meters. Birds acclimate to sound, so the best strategy is to use a variety of noises and move their locations frequently. It's best to start noise making early, before a bird population settles in your trees.
Use fake predators to scare birds visually. Home and garden stores sell plastic or blow-up owls designed to frighten pest birds. Mylar strips tied to tree limbs are another visual scare tactic. Their movement and the reflection of the sun off their surface are both bird deterrents. For maximum effectiveness, move the visual deterrents often to keep the birds from acclimating to them.
Cover your fruit trees with 1/2- to 1/4-inch plastic netting to provide a barrier between birds and your fruit. It is best to keep trees pruned to less than 8 feet tall if you plan to use this method to control pest birds. Drape netting over the tree and stake to the ground. Proper staking is important to prevent birds from being caught in the netting. This method is best for small home orchards, as it can be time consuming to remove the net at harvest time.
Wrap larger fruits, such as persimmons, individually in small paper bags tied with twist ties. Wrapping at least some of your fruit will ensure that you have some kept safe from birds. This is a time-consuming strategy best used by those with few trees. Soft fruit can be squeezed gently through the bag to judge readiness to pick.
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