Bird netting potted blueberries

CaraRoseMay 28, 2013

I have two northskies and two tophats in pots. Last year I had a pretty weak berry harvest-- that super warm March had them set out their flowers early, then the cold came in April, and while I didn't lose flowers to frost, I think there were limited pollinators.

The berries I did have, half of them vanished. I'm guessing birds. I was trying to figure out a good way to bird net these guys. Should I just drape the netting over, or would it be better to put a stake in the pot and use that to "tent" the netting?

Unrelated to the netting issue-- they're going to need to be repotted this year (they're in 12" pots now and need to move up to 16 or 20 inches for next year). Should I do this in the fall after berry production but before dormancy? Or should I wait and do this in spring before the leaves come out?

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For netting what I am going to do is build a small frame around all my plants and then wrap the netting around the frame. That what the netting doesn't touch the plants where the birds can stick their beaks through and get the berries.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 2:21PM
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My bird netting snags on everything. Don't want to snag the berries.

Here's a gardenweb thread that has pictures of 2 different types of cheap simple pvc frames for bird netting. One picture shows two side by side archways. (I have a single archway.) Another picture shows a pvc "globe" for a single plant.

Here is a link that might be useful: bird net frame pictures

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 4:51PM
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CaraRose... I think that you will have to do something to keep the netting off of the plant. 1. So the birds won't peck right through the netting holes and 2. Keep the netting from tangling with the plant branches. On individual plants, I use a frame to hold the netting away from the plant. On row blueberry plants, I use continuous wires to support the netting.

Is there ant chance that you would post a picture of your Northskies plants? I think that 4 of my "unidentified" plants may be that variety, but a picture of your plants would help me with my I.D.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 8:41PM
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Sorry, should have added that for those archway versions in the picture, I use rebar as posts (Not sure if that's what was used in the picture). Then slide pvc over that. You can buy rebar pre-cut to various lengths at home depot, etc. Get the thin stuff. Also check that at least one end of each bar is a clean cut. At my local home depot, most have squished/bent ends such that the pvc couldn't slide over the additional width.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:19PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

If you're like me and hate hate hate bird netting, you might want to try tulle fabric. It's inexpensive, very light, and excludes all but the smallest insects (as well as birds). It's not as durable, though, so you have to handle it with a bit more care.

As for the repotting question, if you're merely transplanting and not excessively disturbing the roots, you could probably get away with repotting any time of year. Ideally, though, you'd go a step beyond and completely refresh the potting mix (i.e. bare root the plant), and that's best done in late winter/early spring before it emerges from dormancy.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:20PM
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Thanks for the ideas and info :) Those pictures in the one post are going to be invaluable. I'll probably apply some of those ideas to netting my blackberry bed as well.

Northernmn- I'll try and get some shots of my northskies in a day or two, if this rain ever breaks.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Two years ago I draped the net over the bushes. Bad idea, it distorts the new growth, plus it tangles with the berries and pulls them off.
I like the tulle idea, but on a frame to keep it away from the plants.
Just bought a new bolt of 'Craft Tulle' which is slightly heavier, should last longer. Intend to also use it over my brassicas, wife freaks out at worms in the broccoli.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:30PM
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