How to Keep Birds Away from Blueberry Bushes with Blueberry Netting
Each year blueberry farmers lose a large amount of their precious crop to pest birds. Birds love to gorge themselves on blueberries, sometimes decimating a bush in a matter of days. Protecting the bushes is the blueberry farmer's number one concern. There are many methods to keep birds away from blueberry bushes including scare devices, visual bird deterrents and animal decoys. The best way by far to protect the bushes is with blueberry netting.
Blueberry netting is available in two sizes 14' x 100' and 14' x 200'. There are three mesh sizes, 1/4", 1/2" and 3/4". Most blueberry farmers use the 3/4" mesh to protect their blueberry crops. Depending on the birds that are attacking your plants, the 3/4" mesh should be sufficient. If you require a lager piece of netting than the 14' x 200' size, you can easily "sew" pieces together with twine or heavy string to get the desired size. Once the blueberries are harvested, you can fold up the netting and use it again next year. The blueberry netting is made from a U.V. protected plastic that should last for several seasons if not kept in place all year long.
Installing Blueberry Netting
Installing blueberry netting is not a difficult process. In a matter of minutes, you can have your blueberry bushes protected from pest birds. There are several methods of installing the netting. Install the netting several weeks before the fruit ripens.
- One is to simply drape the netting over the bushes to protect ripe berries until you are able to harvest them. When using the draping method it may be best to use a smaller mesh net such as the 1/4" mesh blueberry netting, this will help to keep the birds beaks out of the mesh holes and attacking the fruit.
- Another more all-encompassing method is to build a blueberry netting "cage" around the bushes. Purchase some PVC pipe at a local hardware store and make a cage around the bushes you wish to protect. Drape the netting over the PVC cage and secure with blueberry netting plastic clips. You can even leave an opening along one edge with overlapping netting like window drapery; this makes it easy to open the netting for harvest. When building a netting cage around young plants, give them plenty of room to grow.
- Protect a long row of bushes with “teepees” made up of bamboo poles and bird netting. Lash the poles together to create teepees for the row ends and V-shapes for the center. The simply drape the structure with the blueberry netting. Use the garden netting clips to keep the netting in place.
Now that the blueberry netting is installed, you can sit back and enjoy the "fruit" of your labor with all of the harvested blueberries.