Pictures of structures to protect blueberry plants

stirfry2(7)January 16, 2009

Hi, I would like to see any pictures of your handmade bird covers. I have 6 high bush blueberry plants and want to build a permanent structure over them. All ideas welcome. Thanks

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glenn_russell(6b RI)

I'm curious as to what other people do as well, as soon I will have more blueberries.

The plant: It a Blue Crop Blueberry from a local nursery that I planted in the spring of '07, but I did so in very shady area. I didn't realize originally that that area was going to be so shady. So, last spring ('08), I transplanted it to this area. It's on a very steep eastern facing slope. I'd estimate it to be about 40" tall right now.

Here's what I did. I used 3/4 PVC. I only glued about half of the joints so I could dismantle, re-use and expand for next time. I painted it brown to help blend in a little. (If I left all my hardware in the original color -bright white PVC, metal trellises, wood trellises, etc, I think the back yard would look trashy). I put four 12" bamboo spikes into the ground for it to sit on top of so it wouldnÂt slide down the slope. Covered it with bird netting (which was a pain. I wish they had a bird-netting-plant-bag) Anyway, it did the trick. Birds didnÂt take a single berry.

But, I wonder if thereÂs a simpler way?


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 16, 2009 at 9:47PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I have a ~25 foot row of 6 blueberry plants. I pounded short lengths of some small diameter PVC into the ground, then bent 10' lengths of 3/4" (inside diameter, ~1" outside diameter) into arches and slid them over the smaller PVC. Over this I hung bird netting, and tied it to the PVC. At the ends I bunched up the netting and put some firewood logs on top of the bunch to hold it down. That way I could open the ends pretty easily. I don't know exactly how tall the cover is, but at 6'2", I could crouch down and walk inside.

It kept the birds off, but I figured out too late that the voles were getting in under the net and stealing the berries! Next year I will have to fasten the netting tighter to the ground.

I imagine that I may have to make this a bit taller somehow as the bushes reach full size, but I think this will work for a few years. Anyhow, it was cheap and easy to put together.


    Bookmark   January 17, 2009 at 7:32PM
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Thank you Glen and Alex, I have put up PVC rods for 8 years also. Now I want a permanent structure. I like your ideas, very inventive. Thanks for the pictures.


    Bookmark   January 18, 2009 at 10:53AM
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ajpa(z6 se PA)

I'm going to ask the same question I did in another bb thread -- is it possible to keep the bushes short through pruning and still harvest berries?
I'm wondering if I have to pick a variety that doesn't grow that tall, which will limit my choices (I am hoping to get mid-to late season highbushes with sweet berries.)

    Bookmark   January 21, 2009 at 9:38AM
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This works and is as un-gross-looking as possible I suppose, although I'm painting everything an olive/avocado green which matches our architecturally inferior house and disappears behind the esthetically superior plants so I like that. Also if you google espalier pretty close to the top choices you'll get a couple in australia who have an entire orchard under net to protect from fruit bats, similar workmanship.

Here is a link that might be useful: Gene's Protected Blueberry Patch

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 12:21PM
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islandmanmitch(z 8/9 FL)

Yes you can prune them to keep them low.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 8:28AM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

I'm afraid I respectfully disagree. Yes, you can prune them, but in doing so, you'll loose many of the berries. Take a look at JellyMan's post... link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: (Blueberries and Birds) See Jellyman's post

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 12:01PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I don't have as much experience with bb as some others. But I've never seen a fruit that you cann't prune to lower height while getting a good crop. Sure the crop may be smaller, but the berries will probably be bigger and easier to pick.

If you prune frequently and correctly it will work. My bb are pruned twice a yr to control size, open up the bush, and reduce fruit buds. I still have to thin the fruit. They also fruit right down to the base of the canes and interior of the bush. If you let the canopy of any fruit get too dense, then the lower wood will shade out. But bb are more precocious than almost any other fruit. They set fruit buds right out of the ground. If your bb only have fruit in the very top, the canopy is probably too dense. With proper pruning they could fruit lower, at least that's my opinion.

The Fruitnut

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 3:22PM
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jeanwedding(6 ky)

Hello all
Here is my pics. My small 10 by 10 or so Raspberry patch is my prize. No chemicals all these years. Knock on wood. LOL
Got Hubby to start me my enclosure. Its not Martha Stewart but it works. at least Im getting 95 percent of berries myself. YEAH>>>> Other years I used old curtain sheers draped over. Had to crawl around. BOOO on that.
Most of the upright conduits are 10 foot tall. Of course I dont need it tall but. The pipes are nice Heavy Duty aluminum or steel. They were given to us years ago by a friend. So thats why I dont want them cut off.
I put in like 6 or more 1/2 inch uprights later and a few horizontal ones myself. They were cheap ones. Used ground rods first. hammered in then put the 1/2 thin wall conduits over them . with lots of rain lately they were not as hard to push in the gound some myself.
Hubby said why did I use the larger fence material on top.??? Well I bought it last year on clearance with using it for several purposes. so I put some of my ,not in use, old aluminum window screens and found 4 at junk pickup.
Do you all think it might cut down on sunlight too much???
Since Im a procrastinator. some plants were damaged when putting up the first set of uprights. Plus I know I have them still too close.
Unfortunately rental house in back dirty maple shade in encroaching on the sunlight.
Plus I have a Small in depth backyard. Gotta do what I gotta do.
Used some 1" plastic poultry mesh on the sides. bought some some from years ago some from junk pickup,too. weighed at bottom with dowel rods ( most from junk pickup finds. Plush some old bird netting either given to me or found or had years ago.
Im greedy so all plants are not inside enclosure.
Would you all believe I tried to give away to several people I know raspberry starts.???
Next year if all goes well. will sell some young starts.
Like I did some of my other floral items
Have found a bird several times inside. Scared the Heck out of them. Chased them out. they found a weak spot. and left. Too bad
Next year will order some of that small holed plastic netting found over the web.
Found like 10 Japanese beetles so far. smashed them suckers

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 2:28PM
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jeanwedding(6 ky)

first try to upload pic hope this works

These two pic were before I added old window screens to top

2nd picture

    Bookmark   June 28, 2009 at 3:20PM
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Hi, I built frames from PVC pipe also and attach the bird netting to it. I would rather have a larger structure that I could walk under though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bird netting PVC cage construction video

    Bookmark   August 2, 2011 at 9:15AM
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