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I’ve just done a little research to find some creative ways to keep birds out of fruit trees and want to share them with you.
When I moved into my current house, I was lucky enough to discover a number of mature fruit trees in my garden. I have two plum trees, 2 pear trees and 1 large nectarine tree. Unfortunately, the local bird population likes to get my fruit before I can pick it.
The problem is that the birds don’t wait until the fruit is ripe. Now, I don’t mind sharing but I would still like to be able to pick some ripe fruit for us to eat.
I’ve found that I can pick the plums before they’re fully ripe and they will ripen off the trees. However, by doing this, I do find that I’m sacrificing some of the sweetness. You see, most fruit will get sweeter if left to ripen on the tree.
Plus, pears have to be left on the tree until they’ve reached a certain ripeness stage. If picked too early, they just won’t ripen at all. It’s also quite discouraging to find half-eaten fruit on the ground under the trees.
So, here are some ideas that my research has uncovered. I’m going to try some of these to see which ones are successful.
1. Cover Your Trees With Bird-Netting
I’ve seen a lot of people who cover their entire trees with bird-netting to try and keep the birds away from the fruit. The idea is to drape the entire tree from top to bottom with the netting and then gather and tie it around the trunk.
You need to ensure that the fruit is well within the netting and not against it. Unfortunately, the birds will peck at any fruit that is right up against the net.
While this might be practical for small trees, and I’ve done this in the past, it’s really not ideal for very large trees. All my current trees are very mature and tall. There’s no way I could successfully cover them with netting.
2. Hang Old CDs On The Trees
The idea here is to thread some thin thread, like fishing line, through the center hole of the CD and then hang these on the branches of the trees.
The CDs are reflective and when the birds see their own reflection, it scares them away. There are many people that swear by this method.
However, after time, the birds will get used to the CDs and come back. Therefore, it’s best to hang them only as your fruit starts to ripen.
I’m going to go on the hunt for some old CDs I can try this with.
3. Use Aluminum Foil
Aluminum foil is not only reflective but it also makes a little noise as it spins in the wind. I have some aluminum foil plates in the cupboard to try this with. It’s just a case of poking a hole in the plates and then threading some fine cotton through it.
You then hang these on your trees and hopefully, they’ll scare the birds away. I’ll let you know if this method is successful.
Another idea is to just hang strips of aluminum foil in your trees. The sun will reflect off these and this will bother the birds as they don’t like looking at the glint of the foil.
You can also purchase special flash tape designed to keep birds away. This tape is reflective and the birds won’t like it.
4. Hang Some Decoys In Your Trees
Some gardeners have suggested hanging decoys such as fake owls and rubber snakes in the trees. Apparently, this will fool the birds for a while but they’ll smart up soon enough.
It’s still worth a try if you only hang the decoys while the fruit is ripening and then take them down after you’ve harvested it.
You can even purchase owl decoys with in-built speakers. These speakers will emit sounds of beating wings, predator cries or distress calls.
5. Hang Some Windchimes In Your Trees
I don’t know about you, but I simply love windchimes. The birds won’t be used to the sound of the chimes and this will supposedly scare them away. Even better if your chimes are slightly reflective.
Once again, this method may work for a while until the birds get used to the sound of the chimes.
6. Have Some Fun With Balloons
For this method, blow up some colorful balloons and then paint large eyes on them. Then, hang them in your trees. The birds will think that the balloons are predator birds and stay away from your trees.
7. If You Can’t Deter Them, Feed Them
Another idea is to provide an alternative food source for the birds away from your fruit trees. If there’s plenty of alternative food for the birds, they may just stay away from your fruit.
This certainly gives us quite a few bird deterrent methods to try. I’m going to try one method at a time to see what works best. It’s also a good idea to try different methods at different times so the birds don’t get used to any one of them.
Do you struggle with keeping birds out of your fruit trees? Have you found any one method works better than the others? I’d love to hear your experiences so please feel free to share them with us in the comments below.