when to net cherry trees?

oldryderMay 20, 2012

I have 2 dwarf cherry trees that are going to have a LOT of cherries this year. since the birds got them all last year I bought netting.

right now the cherries are still small and green

So .. when is the proper time to net the trees to prevent bird theft?

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Just when turning red, or at first sign of robbing, you don't want netting too early, netting is not too friendly towards branches/leafs.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:33PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I netted mine today. The birds have been attacking them for a few days. I would have ripe cherries if I would have netted a week ago.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 12:50PM
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I net mine tomorrow. The cherries are still primarily green with a hint of red and yellow. I don't wait for robbing. Mrs. g

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 5:41PM
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Hey Frank or Mrs. G, would you mind posting pictures of how your net them? I am trying to think in my mind of how you would. Where do you secure the ends of the net too? And, do you have some sort of structure to keep it further out from the tree, or does the net lay right on the tree? Would birds still be able to pluck at it, or if they are unable to land do they leave it alone?

:) Thanks.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Dear raiquee! I used to put four six foot bamboo poles in the ground around the tree. Then toss my netting over both sides and secure with twist ties. The tree is now too large to do that! I now simply throw netting over the tree itself (in both directions), gather the netting at the trunk and secure with garden twine. Hopes this helps. Same for my apricots and plums.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2012 at 6:38PM
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Where do you get your netting?

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 9:40AM
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I got mine mail order from Stark Brothers Nursery.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 12:04PM
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I hate those nets. They're too small for anything but the tiniest trees, and very snaggy when they catch on the twigs. Best thing I can say for them is they can sometimes snag a bird.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 2:28PM
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We have an 'Agway'/ Farm store. They sell wider sizes of bird netting in pre-sealed packages. It is stronger than regular bird netting too! Deters squirrels.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:02PM
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What cherry are you growing that is coloring already? I have grown North Star for many years. Not colored yet but soon.

As far as netting, at the first sign of pink I spray one
application of Malathion (short residual) in the hope of
controlling cherry fruit fly. Then I net the tree. No spraying after netting even if I do get powdery mildew sometimes.

As far as netting, I use a post pounder and put in 4-8' stakes suitable for staking up a tomato plant in each corner around the tree. Since these are too short, I attach another 4' stake that is perhaps 1/2" diameter to the top of the post with a large automotive hose clamp.
ON top of the smaller stake, I put on an upside down gallon milk jug. This is to prevent the stake from tearing the netting. Then I slide the top stake thru the loose hose clamp as high as I need to go and
tighten the clamp. This system makes it easy to adjust for
height as the tree gets taller.

The netting is a large plastic netting thaI I stretch out behind the tree. We use two garden rakes to lift the netting and carefully get it over the tree (short stepladder on each side of the tree is helpful). This is not easy unless you have the whole family out then everyone pitches in.

Once the net is over the tree, I staple the netting on the top sides of the 4 stakes. The bottom 1/2 is not stapled
but drapes down. The netting touches the ground so I put a
long wood stake horizontal along the ground to hold each side down in the wind and prevent birds from going underneath.

This system allows me to lift up the netting on the sides and put my 6' stepladder inside to pick the fruit. Usually
I make several pickings as the fruit in the center of tree
ripens last.

Fortunately my North Star is pruned to 8' height as too tall makes it hard to net.

Last year I got 28 quarts of cherries (after pitting)! This year the crop is lighter but still a crop. Since my
apples/pears/plums frosted out this year, at least I have
some cherries to pick once ripe. Out of 3 tart cherry trees, this one made it thru the spring frosts due to location.

Yes it is work, but if I don't net at the first sign of pink on the fruit, the birds will clean me out in just a few days.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2012 at 3:43PM
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I use netting from a company called 'Ross'. The netting I use is 7' wide by 21' long. Works very well. I keep my Montmorency cherry at just about 8 -10 feet tall. Mrs. G

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 12:33AM
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Went out to see if I had any fruit left and saw that the White Gold cherries had gone past blush to almost red - which naturally had begun to attract the birds, which it had never done before. It's not SUPPOSED to turn red! But the birds are awful this year, worse than they've ever been.

I went to look for the net I thought was a tree net, but it was a row net - useless. So I picked the reddest ones, to get something out of the crop, even though they aren't as ripe as I'd like. Then deployed the plastic owls, which have never worked.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 8:51PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)


I didn't catch your question...

Lapins and Stella are mostly done here. Lapins was excellent this year...Stella is so so... The robins are attacking them. This dry wx (today is finally wet) is pushing the birds to them hard. Kristin is getting there. Black Gold has 1 cherry...i think the frost or freeze did it in or maybe poor pollination. Lots of cherries...very good. Kids love them.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 9:32PM
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At the first hint of pink. I did mine(Northstar) a week ago. As said, the birds will destroy your crop in a couple days as soon as the cherries get pink.
As for netting, I constructed a cube of 3/4" PVC pipe with elbows and couplers. It's about 9' tall by 10'wide. I keep the tree pruned to 8' so I can manage netting and picking, etc. To attach the net, I found some plastic clips on amazon.com that snap onto the PVC perfectly. The look like a 4" section of pipe cut lengthwise in half. I just use the cheap plastic netting from Lowes. The structure yields 100% protection and since it's slightly larger than the tree, I get no damage to shoots and leaves. And I can open up a corner and get in comfortably to pick.

It might be a bit elaborate for some but it goes up fairly easy and gives great results.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 11:29AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

You need the commercial "heavy" netting, otherwise you loose too many birds what get tangled up in these light made nettings.

If you don't want to spray against fruit flies, I found this illustration, it's in German, but you get the idea.

Here is a link that might be useful: Netting against cherry fruit flies

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 1:26PM
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