Cherry trees can be wonderful additions to a home orchard, as long as gardeners are prepared to deal with birds. Birds often feed upon the growing cherries and can wreak havoc on a fruit harvest. There are several methods gardeners can take to prevent birds from feeding on their cherries. One of the most effective methods is to use a product called a bird net to keep birds off cherry trees.
Types of Cherry Trees
There are two common types of cherry trees available at most nurseries. According to the Gardener's Net website, cherries can be categorised as sweet cherries or sour cherries. Sweet cherries are typically eaten fresh or straight from the tree. The most common use for sour cherries is in baking. Sour cherries are most commonly grown in farmed orchards.
Gardeners should follow a few simple tips when growing their cherries at home. According to the Flower and Garden Tips website, it is best to plant sweet cherries near a compatible variety so that they properly cross pollinate. Sour cherries are usually self-pollinating. Discarding cherry pits into the garden can cause seedlings to sprout naturally, according to the Gardener's Net website. Stake trees planted in windy areas to help them grow straight.
Threats to Cherry Harvest
The biggest threats to a successful cherry harvest are climate and birds. Climate can greatly affect the growth of a cherry tree, according to the Flower and Garden Tips website. Cherry trees should be grown in areas with a mild summer and a chilly winter. Birds dine on cherries as they grow in trees and can cause significant damage to a cherry harvest, according to the Gardener's Net website.
Using Bird Nets
One way to keep birds away from the cherry orchard is to use bird nets. Bird nets can fit over a single row of dwarf or small cherry trees, helping protect the cherry harvest from being ravaged by hungry birds. Bird nets are made of polythene netting, according to Smart Net Systems. Smart Nets specialises in these crop protection nets and recommends using a full enclosure or overhead netting system for larger trees.
Benefits of Bird Netting
Bird netting has many benefits for cherry tree gardeners in addition to keeping away pests that threaten the harvest. According to Smart Net Systems, growers using a bird netting system can experience a 60 per cent increase in cherry production. Trees covered by bird netting also have a tendency to grow larger individual cherries than unprotected trees.
Drawbacks of Bird Netting
The major drawback to using a bird net system is that it can be dangerous to birds, according to the Flower and Garden Tips website. When bird netting is placed around cherry trees, birds might still attempt to feed on the harvest. Birds might become entangled in the nets. The Flower and Garden Tips site recommends using fine netting with a wooden frame because birds are less apt to get stuck. Another problem with bird netting is that many types are unable to cover fruit trees when they reach a mature height, according to Gardener's Net.