How to protect grapes from birds

winsorw(8)September 16, 2008


Birds are eating my grapes, is there any way to protect them? I don't think using a net is practical because the vines are spreading out. I saw a document once that some people use paper bags to wrap the fruits. Any suggestion?


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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

I have the same dilemma. I'm thinking of getting some veil netting from the fabric store and cutting it large enough to bring the sides up from the bottom of the cluster to the top of the stem and tying them there by wrapping the string around the stem a couple of times. Making a bag essentially. I hope that made some sense. Twist ties might be a better choice than string and easier to undo if you just want a few grapes. Let us know if you figure our a different solution.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 7:02PM
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Well, I tried using a lunch bag with a twister around the stem. If I cut small holes, the birds destroyed it. If I didn't cut holes, the bag stays. I think this works ok so far but I'm not sure if this is the most practical way to do it. I saw shows about wine making, and I don't see anyone protecting the grapes:-) It makes me wonder how they protect their grapes.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 10:54PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I'd think that they would just poke their bills through spaces in wire or netting. You'd have to have something like a rigid cage that enclosed all of the plant or at least the part of the plant that had fruits, with the spaces small enough to keep the birds out, and the wire far enough out beyond the fruit that it couldn't be reached.

Family members that used to have a grape vine on an arbor outfitted it with hot electric wires to keep raccoons out of the grapes.

It worked.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2008 at 11:58PM
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dottyinduncan(z8b coastal BC)

We have a lot of vineyards in our area and they all have strong netting that they pull across the whole plant. When it is not "bird season" the nets are tied up on a frame but they stay available year round. The starling numbers are huge -- a flock can clean out a tree full of almost ripe fruit in an hour. I don't think they have enough natural predators. btw, they eat my grapes too and I was hoping your solution would work for me!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 12:52PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

I was wondering what bird species would be the problem. Starlings can also be a nuisance in local orchards. When I went on a tour of the plantings at WSU Mt Vernon there was a large cage full of trapped starlings. Being of foreign origin they have no natural predators here. I have read that they are eaten by peregrines.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 1:43PM
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botann(z8 SEof Seattle)

My neighbor's grape plants were completely stripped of leaves by deer. So far they have left the grapes alone.
No problems with birds yet either.

Can't you just cutoff the tips of the grape plants and throw a net over them?

One of my grape plants is host to tree frogs. A friend of mine gave it to me to 'hold' for him. Since it was summer when he gave it to me I planted it in the shade. I haven't seen him since. That was 12 years ago.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2008 at 5:30PM
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Ratherbgardening(PNW 7 or 8)

I don't think the birds I have problems with would peck through veil netting since I've used it on blueberries without any problems. If I get around to doing it, I'll report back whether or not it worked.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:16PM
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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Yes: If it's fine, like a veil they might not.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 12:44PM
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The veil will work for sure, I too use it for my blueberries and it works wonderfully. However, it's not practical for my grape bushes because they are spreading wide (my fault). Now, I'm trying ziplock bags with holes at either bottom corners and will post my results.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2008 at 3:15PM
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I'm not sure if it's just too cold for the birds to come out or ziploc bags do the trick but so far the bags are still protecting the fruits.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 9:33AM
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I would like to hear from winsorw what are the final conclusion about using the ziploc bags on grapes. Did it worked after all in long terms?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2009 at 9:12AM
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My wife and I visited a strawberry farm here in TN recently and I asked the owner how she protected her plants/fruit from birds.She said that she placed rubber snakes at the base of a few plants in each row and it seemed to scare away the birds and other critters as well. I wonder if this would work with grape vines? I'm worried that not only will the birds get to my vines, but the rabbits and other animals will do their share of damage.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:07PM
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Tom - I've used the rubber snakes and it worked for a day or two but then the birds came..

In one morning the birds ate almost 1/3 of my grapes. It's just July 10th and the grapes are just now starting to turn a bit of color so I can't pick them yet. Has anyone had any luck picking the grapes early and ripening them off the vine...or is this just me being desperate!??!?

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:22PM
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birds started eating the ripe grapes off the bunches before they are done ripening... i heard about foil strips so im cutting them now... anyone try this?

    Bookmark   August 2, 2010 at 3:34PM
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My naighbor has a cherry tree and he used the foil balloon strips and he had tons of cherries last year so I did the same thing with my grape vines...

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 11:29PM
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Flash tape works best if installed before critters find your garden tasty. Seems to scare birds more than than deer for us. Starts interesting conversations about garden decorations...

    Bookmark   June 25, 2011 at 5:22PM
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laurell(8 - Washington)

Back when AOL still gave away large quantities of CDs for free, I used to tie string through them and tie them to the peach trees at the house we rented. It kept the birds away.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Just went out and the birds got my grapes. Used the netting and they still got in. Ohwell trimmed the plant and wait till next year.....

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 11:25AM
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To George p,
Ziploc bags worked to a certain extent. Birds couldn't get in but raccoons could. One problem with ziploc was that some bunches had fungus growing because of moisture. So, I plan on punching holes this year.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2011 at 12:25AM
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geofiz(z8 BC)

try using the transparent, perforated plastic containers that you buy strawberries in that clip shut. these have
worked wonderfully for me against birds and rodents. not against racoons tho, for which I use an electric fence

MB in vancouver

    Bookmark   January 13, 2012 at 10:10PM
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This year (2012) I am using 2 fake snakes and a balloon (from w..mart), one of the snakes is a Halloween item. So far, all the grapes are still there. I will report again later.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 10:51AM
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The net is the only way to go where I am. They sell BirdX and DeerX. I used the DeerX net because it was much bigger and I could cut it. This year I put it on after the birds started eating the grapes and a couple of them found their way through gaps. I closed the gaps and haven't had a bird issue. Its true the vines grow through the netting so I have to trim the vine when removing.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2012 at 10:52AM
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tania(Zone10 Ca)

Now that ripening is at a go, the birds, and green beetles are having a ball with my grapes! My issues are: powdery mildew, the gardeners stealing grapes, and the birds and green beetles eating the grapes! I need a solution for all of that! Netting is not working! The beetles fit through the holes and the birds just land on it and peck through it! Today I actually sewed the netting around the cluster area. That will hopefully keep the gardeners out! I need a pouch that will keep powdery mildew out, prevent moisture build up, and that will allow the sun to ripen the grapes, without the birds or the beetles getting to them! Oh, and dark enough so the gardeners don't know they are ripe. I'll use plastic zip ties to tie on the bags, so they can't be easily removed. I hope I find a solution. I still have some clusters forming, so I can experiment and hopefully have a solution for next year.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2013 at 3:51AM
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