Making a Fruit Cage

I was going to make a fruit cage for my containers out of a PVC pipe frame. The question on my mind is if I should use hardware cloth, bird netting, or chicken wire. This is specifically for birds, not deer, so stock panels won’t really work. The birds already work around/under just draping the netting over the plants, so I’m sure they are smart enough to just fly through the holes.

Hardware cloth is rather expensive in comparison to the other two options unless I go with a PVC mesh, which seems like it would be fragile. Fragility is also a concern for the chicken wire, which is usually 20 gauge, and a huge one for the bird netting. Unless there is some kind of high end netting?

There are some moderate size ground animals about, a groundhog or raccoon or something. I’m not sure how much of a problem they’ll be.

Anybody have any suggestions?

In my experience chicken wire breaks down after a couple seasons. Maybe a UV resistant 1" plastic deer fence?

TSC online… 14.99 for Deer Fence… 7 ft x 100 ft. Polypropylene mesh UV protection…

Never used it myself… 4 Stars, 261 reviews.

I have used flash tape on my blueberry and thornless blackberry with great results.

Zero rigidity to that stuff, it certainly needs a frame of some kind to be attached to. Probably work well for this application I bet…

Be careful laying any excess down on the ground, snakes can get tangled in it very easily.

It is going to be zip tied to a PVC pipe frame, since I need something at least 7 feet tall. Preferably 8, as 7 foot ceilings make me nervous. My containers are all on a tarp on top of my driveway so I doubt snakes will be a problem.

Does flash tape really work under high bird pressure? The birds completely stripped my blueberries the last two years running, completely bypassing any attempt to net the plants. They are still green and the birds have already started. I live in a subdivision so I suspect I’m the only concentrated source of food in a substantial distance.

A year or so before I joined this board… my blueberries were just starting to produce good and I had a terrible time with birds … it was so disappointing… they finally get ripe and then birds get 90% of them.

I bought some very nice bird netting and tried that the next year and it helped… but I did not build any type of structure for it, just sort of draped it over my bushes, that helped but it was a pain to have to remove that, pick berries, put it back, etc…

The next year (last spring, I found my way to those wedding bags and bagged clusters of berries)… that worked well… but same issue, had to remove it, pick the rope berries, add it back. It was better than netting I think but still not ideal.

Mid blueberry harvest last year i saw someone post a pic of the flash tape… i think it was in use with thornless blackberries and was reported to work well. I ordered a roll of it from amazon, and put it out as soon as it arrived.

Prior to putting out the flash tape… I would see berries that were almost ready… then the next day those were gone (birds got them)… arg… after putting out the flash tape… those berries that were almost ready… were still there the next day and ripe. I harvested a bunch of blueberries last year and after putting the flash tape out, could not ever tell that the birds were getting any.

I can look out my master bath window and see my blueberry patch and the flash tape doing it’s thing… and I just do not see any birds landing in the bushes. My blueberries started ripening last week and I got the flash tape in place as soon as I saw some turning blue.

You could have more determined birds than me… I only put one piece of flash tape per bush… you could put one on each side, or 3-4 of them surrounding the bush.

Good Luck !

My birds are brutally determined. I have netting + reflective bird tape + fake owl + dogs and all my berries get wrecked every year.

Mine were kept away with this… nothing fancy… old tomato stakes… some stiff wire… short piece of string tied to the flash tape.

The slightest breeze makes it flap (a little noise) and flash brightly reflecting the sunshine constantly.


Time for the scientific method!. I’ve got enough blueberries in pots that I’ll leave one out and see if the tape works.

If it does I’ll lament the wasted money, but I bought all the PVC pipe some time ago so it is just the netting that I’m buying now.

The first year the netting worked fine when I just draped it over all the pots clustered together. Then the birds learned quickly and by the 3rd they got through no matter how I tried to secure the netting.

This is what I use after wasting money on many other kinds of netting, etc.
It’s great. Comes in several widths and is pretty easy to work with - NOT FLIMSY.
Not cheap. But it is worth it. They sell lighter weight netting as well . . . but this is the one to get.

I use steel poles. We have access to lots of bamboo poles - as it grows on our property. We sink a steel pole - (doesn’t have to be a heavy duty one.) And then we zip tie the bamboo to the pole and keep it as tall as we need. Then - we zip tie the net to the bamboo/poles. We even leave a ‘door’ that can be opened and closed - a ‘flap’ of sorts. Works great. We piece it together when we have to . . .

It holds up under a lot of wear and tear - and stores well for re-use. We use chicken wire, too . . . but it’s a pain to work with. I prefer the Tenax.

Tenax Multi-Purpose Netting


Well, I got my flash tape over the weekend and put out a number of long strips.

The very next morning I left my front door and 3 birds flew off from my potted plants. I’ve guessing this is a fail.

I had a similar experience - and then I built a ‘cage’ out of wood, PVC and the Tenax that I mentioned in another post. The birds cannot get in! (not unless I forget and leave the flap door open!)


I too graduated to a cage for my 30 plants. Netting is used grapevine netting off Craigslist - 17’ wide and 100’ long, stretched over nail heads to keep it taught. Have to remove top net in winter in case of heavy snow.


Yeah, my plan is something like PomGranny. I found out last weekend that the 1/2 inch PVC pipe isn’t strong enough to stand up properly with 10 feet between supports, so I need to cut to 5 feet and see if that works.

I have to make something I can take apart in the fall and the cage will have to sit on my driveway, so 4x4 posts won’t really work unless I make some kind of base for each one.

Do you know the name of the netting?

It looks like this vineyard drape netting below. My overhead netting is white hexagonal. My side netting is green diamond shaped. Both types are knitted lock-stitch - a type of netting that is doesn’t tangle or rip. I’ve had the netting for 10 years and it’s still great.

When is the correct time/stage to to start protecting your blueberries from pests?