Bird Netting Tips

This year is the first one where I planted several blackberry varieties in a single row in the ground. I figured it would be a good idea to net the blackberries once fruit started to ripen and sure enough robins and blue jays for the past few weeks have tried to find a hole in my netting. The netting width of 15ft is just enough to go up across and down the other side. I have practically stapled the netting every 1ft all around the patch but the birds continue to find a way in and of course can’t find their way out so my wife or I have to go out and lead it out of the net. Does anyone with experience using bird netting have any suggestions besides leaving my dog outside all day to scare the birds away? The number of earth staples is so high now that it’s a chore to pick them all up and replace them all just to harvest the berries. Wish there was a better solution. I just want to be able to enjoy harvesting the fruit but competing with the wildlife makes everything more difficult.

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Get a wider net. Birds have all day, every day to find holes or gaps. The best net I’ve found is this one. Comes in lots of sizes and lasts like no other net I’ve ever owned.

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A few years ago, I planted a big double row of blueberries. Last year, the bushes bore a decent crop and I tried some flimsy netting, but birds got half the crop. At least a dozen catbirds died in the nets. This year I bought more serious netting. It has been way more successful and I’ve harvested gallons of berries. Even so, I’ve had a few break-ins. For example, I rescued and released a mourning dove by hand.

Lessons: Birds will find ANY gap, at least on the way in. If the netting is only just big enough to touch the ground, requiring staples, you’re almost doomed to partial failure. You really need a few inches of excess along the entire perimeter.

One option, obviously, is a bigger net. I’m assuming that you don’t want to go that route.

Another option, a bit out-of-the-box, would be to remove the net, cut back the highest canes. If you can manage to drop the overall height 2-3", you should be OK.

Alternatively, you might try another way to secure the base of the net to the ground. I’ve had good success with rebar. You could simply lay the rebar on the bottom edge of the net; or, if necessary, you could fasten the rebar to the net with zip-ties.

From my experience, the following 3 factors are very important when selecting bird net for tree protection:

  1. Net size - the bigger the better. Get the largest size you can afford to cover your crop. Make sure to have helpers to stretch a net, it’s a must! It must to be stretched to get to the listed size.
  2. Net manufacturing style - knitted bird nets are the best - they do not tangle, are easy to stretch, and do not break that easy.
  3. Net material - Polyethylene (PE) or High Density (HDPE). I own PE nets, cant’t comment on HDPE.

I believe majority of PE knitted bird nets are manufactured abroad in Asia, so they share same properties, just come in different packaging and size.

Last year I was looking at americannettings nets but decided to go with 30’x30’ nets from Amazon. They served me well covering apple trees - one net per tree.

All three nets listed below ARE identical as per my experience working with them, except packaging. Get whatever fits your size and is cheaper.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BVBB2LJL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

Bird Netting for Garden 30x30 Ft, 3/8" Mesh Garden Netting,Heavy Duty Deer Netting,Protect Vegetable Plants and Fruit Trees,Garden Mesh Fence for Blueberry Bushes

Brand: MEANCHEN

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YTJS3W6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

POYEE 28x30ft Pond Netting for Leaves Leaf Net Cover Pond Net with Small Fine Mesh Protecting Koi Fish from Birds Cats Stakes Included

Brand: POYEE

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RRQ8VP6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Koi Pond Netting Kit 28 x 30 ft Black Heavy Duty Woven Fine Mesh Net Cover for Leaves - Protects Koi Fish from Blue Heron Birds, Cats & Predators – Reusable & Stakes Included

Brand: AlpineReach

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I bought a 15ft wide by 100ft long net from them earlier this year for $88.97 before tax and shipping. The only larger sizes which they offer are 30ft by 30ft and 30ft by 100ft. Since my patch is 21ft long, 30ft is probably not going to be long enough to go up, along the length of the patch and back down to the ground, so my only option would be 30ft by 100ft for $148.50 before tax and shipping. I’m not looking forward to spending over $100 on bird netting again this year and may just deal with the length I bought until next year. I’m not seeing the “lots of sizes” you’re talking about, unless you’re looking at a different product page than the one linked below.

Wish they had the option to order custom sizes, so I didn’t have to waste money and material twice buying 100ft long netting for a 21ft long patch.

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Yeah I bought the 30x100 maybe 6 years ago. I’m still using it, and still have most of it left, unused for the future. It’s a lot of money but it’s netting for a very, very long time so I bit the bullet.

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Besides using quality netting of sufficient size and being able to suspend it off the plants it is also important to get it into place BEFORE a the crop begins to color and ripen. If the birds get a taste before the net is installed they will try all the harder to get through once the net is there. A couple balloons, fake owls, CDs or other scare tactics might help too

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Thank you all for the suggestions. I’m going to deal with the net I have for this year and buy a larger one next year. Will try to sell the length, approx. 60ft, of 15ft wide net I have left to recoup some of that investment. I’m sure there are some blank CDs in my house somewhere that can be hung up to scare the birds.

I have been growing blackberries in my backyard for three years now and only this year when I planted them in the ground was there any significant bird pressure. I’m guessing part of that is because the new patch is near a fence between a mulberry tree and lilac bushes, so the birds feel more secure there than between my house and garage. I will be placing the netting on the berries earlier in the season next year.

I put in 2 raised beds 48’ long each for 23 blueberries and made pvc cages 5’x5’ (3/4" pvc) and attached bird netting to the outside with zip ties and snap clamps


they work well and are portable so once the Stanley (blueberry) was done, for example, I moved one to a redhaben peach with 5 peaches on it

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These are great, but I have one concern – will they be big enough as the blueberries grow? I made a similar structure from PVC but it is shaped more like a hoop house. it’s ~8’ tall and the bushes have grown to 6’+.

Your Stanley is a highbush variety so I assume it’ll grow like mine.

p.s. Bending PVC is challenging. LMK if you ever decide to do it.

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I planted all these 2 mo ago and so I do have some time before I have to make something bigger but I hear you

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Below is a photo of my setup this year. I needed a trellis for the semi-erect blackberry varieties and used the t-posts to support the bird netting as well with caps on Amazon and #16 AWG support wire.

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Netting like this is lethal to birds! They can’t see it well, and it’s big enough mesh to entangle and kill them. I made the mistake of using it, just once, and I should have known better, as I’m an old wildlife biologist. It’s similar to the “mist nets” used to trap and band them, only in that case you hide nearby, watch closely, and immediately, gently disentangle them before they struggle and die.

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Hi, I have not had any trapped birds; I guess when you see these cages, they are striking and really stand out with the super bright white PVC and do not look natural at all so I would respectfully disagree.

In addition our birds go after raspberries (esp black ones) and have a lot to eat and I don’t net those. We also have 30 mulberries which I am sure will keep them happy in a few years

Hope you never have any trapped birds. Slinging the netting between PVC poles is pretty typical for intentionally trapping them. Thanks for caring.

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Maybe some shiny metallic aluminum strips placed around could help the birds see. Or come CD’s. Or print a few and place them around the netting lol

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:smile_cat: :smiley_cat: :smile_cat: