Strawberry bed protection

andyinnycMay 23, 2013

I have a pair of strawberry beds located outside the fenced garden. They are doing really well considering that we haven't seen the sun (it seems) in weeks.

However, as the berries start to ripen, and even as the plants get more 'tasty', I'll need to protect them from deer, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits and mice.

Last year I covered both beds with Agri-Bond row covers. The benefit is that these provide a complete blanket to keep the squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and birds out. The downside is that they filter a lot of light that could go towards ripening the berries.

Choice two is to go with bird netting. This has the downside of potentially allowing the little #%*#!!% to chew through the netting (as the chipmunks do with my blueberries), wiggle through if they are small enough or eat what they can reach by landing on top or stepping near. Another issue is that I have had small animals become tangled in the past which is a bother to them and me.

Next year I'd like to get a mesh box built with hinged covers. Even then I'd need to decide on a hole size which could allow the bees in but keep out the mice, etc.

Thoughts? The kids are looking forward to ripe, unmolested berries.

Andrew

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copperfox(5b)

Your beds look great. Have you tried laying down a repellant around the beds like Plantskydd Deer Repellant? I live out in the sticks and we have deer galore. I use it on my things (and I have quite a variety) and so far so good. It is supposed to be effective if allowed to dry around 5 hours before a rain and stay working for a long while. It repells smaller varmits as well.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:47PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

How about chicken wire?

With the support pipes you have, you could take care of the entire bed in minutes.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 4:46PM
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andyinnyc

Well, I guess chicken wire is a stronger form of bird netting. It does rust, cut little kids, doesn't bend to get out of the way for picking, etc.

Does the chicken wire typically have holes small enough to keep chipmunks out?

Where's a good place that I might have locally to find chicken wire? The beds are 14 x 4.

Andrew

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 5:11PM
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andyinnyc

It also seems that chicken wire doesn't run in wide enough lengths to go over everything and be anchored to the ground.

Are there wider than 48" widths available?

Andrew

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 5:43PM
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ltilton

Try nylon net or tulle. They let in almost 100% light and you could cover your bed in 60 seconds with that piping in place.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:17PM
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steve333_gw(5a)

You can get/order chicken wire in various opening sizes, down to 1/2", which should be small enough to keep most rodents and out. Same for widths of the roll; I believe 5 and 6' are available.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 7:51PM
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