Keeping birds out of tomato garden

jpc57May 25, 2012

I love birds, which is a good thing since I live on 3 acres in the country! There are more kinds of birds than I can count and love their songs.

But what I don't love is that they sit on the tomato stakes in the garden and crap all over the plants. Two of my favorite tomato plants (Black Krim) have been killed by bird poop. want to get this figured out before more plants die, and before the tomatoes are covered in poop.

So far I've tried nail a nail in the top of each stake and that worked for a day and they came back. Then I tied lengths of colorful ribbon from the nails and again, it worked for one day and they came back.

I have not done the tin pie plate thing because I have nearly 70 tomato stakes out there and do not want to go to that expense for something to throw away later and I'm not convinced would work.

The garden beds are in full sun but there are cherry and pear trees nearby that they're welcome to, and there's a pine not far from the garden, and there is a meadow nearby and lots of woods at the back of the property. Any ideas for a humane way to keep the birds from my tomato gardens? Thanks!

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Nunyabiz1(7)

I just have mine covered with a bird net, they can not land on the net so really no place for them to pitch.
You can also put a plastic Owl perched on the pole.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Djole(6)

Not sure which birds are you dealing with, but you can try feeding them under those trees that they are welcome at. Seeds and bread crumbs treat for a couple of days at the same place could do the trick. I've got lots of sparrows that are nesting in my garden, along with some random pigeons and other birds which i don't know the names of in english, i just feed them in the other part of the garden and they don't seem interested to hang out on the tomato stakes. Hope it works :)

Cheers,
Djole

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 10:32AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

jpc57,

I would have suggested a pie tin nailed or tacked to the top of the stakes, but if you have to buy them, I can see that being an issue for the number of stakes you have. Perhaps a plastic cup upside down on the stake top? That way it would be an unstable slick place for them to try to perch. Unfortunately, I think they might be likely to blow off and if you nail them on, that might stabilize them enough that the birds could perch on them. Maybe a hole in the rim area and a string tied to the stake that allows the cup to move but not to rise high enough to come off the stake?

Perhaps used CD, DVD, CDR/RW discs over the nail on the top? Most people have a stack of them that come in the mail, have an obsolete program on them or that didn't burn successfully. I think if I looked I could lay my hands on about 20 of them right now and I have not been saving them.

One year when I had a lot of trouble with starlings in the garden, I stapled mylar strips to the top of every wooden post in my Florida weave. It was fairly effective because it rattled in the wind.

Good luck!

Betsy

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 11:17AM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

Something along this line has been used on building ledges in Chicago for the last 30 years, and as a person who visited the Loop regularly for many years, I can testify that it made a significant difference!
http://www.homedepot.com/buy/outdoors/garden-center/bird-x/plastic-spikes-kit-10-ft-8905.html
Lowe's sells something similar.

This one says "pigeons and seagulls only," so apparently this sort of thing may not deter smaller birds.
http://www.nixalite.com/PlasticSpike.aspx

This similar product is supposed to keep cats from digging in the garden. I suppose you could cut them into small pieces and try nailing them to the tops of the stakes.
http://www.gardeners.com/Safe-Cat-Deterrent/31-954,default,pd.html
An alternative would be to cut chickenwire into small squares and bend the outer wires vertical.

But if your small birds don't mind the nails you put on the stakes ... and because they're small birds ... maybe they'd be equally happy to perch on small plastic spikes or chickenwire....

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 12:44PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Two of my favorite tomato plants (Black Krim) have been killed by bird poop.

Never heard of this. How does that happen? Is it bacteria or what that does it?

Dave

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 1:16PM
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sandshifter

I have the same quandry as you. I have both treseses and stakes. I think I've solved the problem with the treseses. I string a string horizontaly above the top of the trelese. Birds may land on it b ut after teetering back and forth for a bit, the fly away. If the string is too high the small birds just get under it. A second string strung below the first one seems to keep the smaller birds away. I am glad you mentioned that the nail idea doens't work. I was thinking about something similiar for the stakes. What I have in mind is attatching something very flimsy sticking up above the stake that would not support perching bird. Most likely several of them so a bird couldn't land beside it. Maybe something like cable ties or maybe thin gauge wires. There has to be something that will work (I hope)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 1:36PM
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jpc57

Thanks for all of the suggestions, everyone! I am still thinking about what to do.

Digdirt, the plants were small and they were bombarded with bird poop--maybe the poop is acidic, I don't know. But they're dead. Sigh.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 1:41PM
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garf_gw

Razor wire.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 4:16PM
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jpc57

I may have foiled the birds, literally--with foil! So far they haven't been back. I'd post a photo but I don't see a way to do that. :(

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 4:35PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

jpc57, here are instructions on how to post from Photoshop (a free photo-hosting service):
http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hosta/msg0513322013993.html?14

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 4:44PM
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