keeping birds out of blueberries

jimfnc(7aNC)June 9, 2012

Have struggled in past with losing half or more ripe blueberries to birds. Finally bought netting & first day trapped 2 birds & chipmunk in the netting (not just inside but tangled to point of stuck). Removed the netting, and trying stuff to keep birds away. Went to Party City, and bought reflective garland, 12 feet of hard wire & 1 inch or more mylar flower like design ($1.49 ea) and aluminum tray covers for party food-$0.59 ea, and 1 mylar ballon $1.99, and for 10 bucks the birds stay away & wife says garden looks like a party.. It was cheaper than netting..

The balloon flops around with slightest breeze, and garland and pan lids very reflective. Ripe blueberries are not disappearing (so far). (Also have a plastic owl, but they perch on that.. It's early but so far working.

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Well, I hope it continues to work for you. The problem that most people encounter is that it only works for a short time, and then the birds figure out its harmless and ignore it.

The best solution I have found was to invest in a large piece of 40% white shade cloth. I have a 20 x 100 that covers my entire patch of 12 mature bushes. While it did cost me around $300, it is guaranteed to last 20 years, and that is outside full time year around I would assume. I only have it out for about 2 moths of the year, so I figure it should last the rest of my lifetime. It is also MUCH easier to put on and off than anything else I have found, the tight weave doesn't catch very much on the plants and it slides right over.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 12:26PM
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Hi Denminmi,

Could you please post the picture of your shade cloth cover? I'd like to see how it works. Thank you.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 2:45PM
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this winter was so mild I took the time to build a cage around my 10 bushes. I put in posts. Ran wire from one end to another and bought some good bird netting. It's not perfect but it works for now. This late fall I will fix a few spots that need tweeking.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 3:58PM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Whenever you use netting-- or the row cover -- you must secure it so no gaps exist where critters can enter.

Further, you must support it *above* the bushes.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 5:54PM
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Birds will crawl in through gaps between netting and the ground, just like any other varmints.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I use bird netting and it works well for me. My issue is they get into some before I get around to using the netting. I make up for it by buying more plants. I also use a holographic reflective material that also helps, It makes noise when it moves and seems to scare the birds off.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 1:09AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

The light netting will kill birds, I'm using row covers.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 11:22AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Netting won't kill birds if secured all around.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 1:41PM
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The light netting does tend to snare and get tangle. But I bought a strong netting for my caged blueberries and it so far seems to work.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 6:33PM
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I have found that the netting works much better if it can lie flat on the ground for a foot or so after the netting hits the ground. That way the hungry critters are standing on top of the netting as they try to push their way in. Last year I tried staking the edges down, which gave the animals plenty of leverage to open a nice entry hole. I am also experimenting with a hardware cloth fence sitting on the ground under the netting.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 7:59PM
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I use tulle fabric, which is what wedding veils are made from. I was frustrated with the bird netting grabbing and popping off the blueberries, and the birds, chipmunks getting stuck. I bought bolts of it at the fabric store. It lasts a few seasons. The dark blue and dark green colors are almost invisible. However, you can buy it any color, even with sparkles in it if you want to be the talk of the town! It's so small that the branches or animals don't get stuck. I think a bolt is 54" by 40 yards. In the past I wrapped them and used tooth picks to hold it together where it was needed. This year I sewed three rows together which has made it more manageable. I have a row of seven bushes so this works, but you can also wrap them individually. I tried reemay row cover as well in the past but it is sticky and fragile and you can't see through it. I've also made a temporary structures out of PVC piping with the bird netting. with that you can keep the bird netting taunt and and away from the blueberries and it's the easiest to harvest becuase you can step into the structure. But I started having visions of creating a giant screen house over my entire yard, so I had to walk away from that or be committed!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Here's a picture of my blueberry cage: From plants

PVC supports with rebar spikes in the ground to hold them upright. Bird netting over the top and down to the ground in front and held down lightly with leftover PVC. Two foot high half inch fence all around the blueberry bed to keep the rabbits away year round. The PVC is clamped to the deck and there is bird netting between the deck rails. Keeping birds out is still difficult but so far this year we haven't trapped any. It's been a strange year...the birds have left alone my sour cherry tree for the most part.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 6:46PM
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