Gardeners who grow fruit trees understand the agony of watching the whole crop disappear – the result of a bird self-serve buffet. We try every imaginable measure to protect our fruit trees but seemingly to no avail.
So how do you rid birds from your fruit trees and protect the fruit? Rather than settle for the annoying annual netting process, I decided to create a short list of practical bird deterrent ideas that you could implement on your own fruit trees and hopefully save your bounty.
Practical Bird Deterrents to Implement in Your Garden
While netting is an option it isn’t always successful, and it becomes cumbersome when trying to reach the fruit yourself. It needs to be noted that ridding your fruit trees of birds does not include killing them.
Depending on your local laws many birds are protected and come with hefty fines should you proceed with this non-option. The idea of ridding them from your fruit trees is merely to scare them away or provide other alternatives.
1. Position a bird bath and bird feeder away from your fruit trees.
Creating alternatives for birds such as bird baths and bird feeders are greats option for protecting your fruit trees. If the birds are more attracted to your fruit tree, then you may still need to implement one of the other strategies as well, but this idea provides for them as well.
Some gardeners plant a fruit tree specifically for the birds and while this may be a good option remember that birds enjoy variety as much as we do and won’t settle for just one fruit type.
2. Hang CDs from on the tree limbs
This is a fright technique as birds dislike flashes of light. The CD’s catch the light as they spin in the fruit tree and project the light in a random fashion. This unnerves birds who are unable to find a path through the light flashes and will stay away from the tree. This is very effective on sunny days and less effective on days with cloud cover.
Place a thin piece of wire through each CD allowing a hook to be created at one end. Position them on the tree limbs in a random pattern so that they swing in the breeze. Using a fishing swivel between the wire and the CD will allow it even more movement and greater effect.
3. Wrap the tree in monofilament fishing line
Another light-fright technique though it may be easier to install than the CD’s. Wrap some monofilament fishing line around the tree in the same way you would wrap tinsel around a Christmas tree.
The line projects light as the birds fly towards it and it will scare them away from resting in your fruit tree.
4. Hang aluminium pie pans from the limbs
Aluminium pans act in the same way as #1 and #2 although it has an added benefit of creating noise as the pans collide with the limbs or each other. If you find the first two methods aren’t always successful or have more cloud covered days than sunny ones, then this might be a better alternative for your situation.
5. Build a scarecrow
While I have never employed this bird deterrent method many gardeners swear by them. The idea is to unsettle the birds into thinking that a person is standing by the tree constantly. This may work for a short time but eventually the birds realise that the scarecrow doesn’t move and end up sitting on it undeterred.
6. Install an avian alarm system
This is an expensive alternative that works on using noise as a deterrent. Motion sensors pick up bird activity and an alarm is sounded to scare them away. Not really practical for small suburban gardens it may be an alternative for medium to large rural blocks.
7. Plant other bird-attracting plant species
If many of the birds attracted to your fruit tree are native birds rather than introduced species, then grow some native plants that will attract them instead. Many birds are seeking nectar and so growing some flowering natives may keep them away from your fruit tree.
8. Set a high-pressure water sprinkler to come on at random intervals
This is a good alternative although a little more technical than some of the other options. The idea is to set a sprinkler operated by a timer that comes on at random times throughout the day. The spray of water scares the birds and there are no unsightly nets, CD’s or pie-pans dangling from your tree.
The disadvantage of this option is that it may scare birds too late, after they have already consumed or pecked most of your fruit.
While these are only a few ideas I’m sure there must be others that gardeners have tried throughout their gardening journeys. If you have any bird deterrent idea that hasn’t been mentioned here or want to comment on one that’s already listed leave your comment below.