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Netting the orchard

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  • #257897
    jaydatoo
    Member

    We have ummed and ahhed over this for a few years now. But looks like we are going to have to net the entire orchard if we want any fruit for ourselves. Last year the parrots took care of the fruit (with one or two bites out of each piece, leaving it on the ground, half way through it’s growing period) well before it was anywhere near picking stage.

    The couple of years before they at least left it until the week before we would pick.

    This year, we already have masses of parrots hanging around and there are mostly still blossoms on the trees.

    It’s devastating to put in all the work just to see it wrecked by the parrots. The orchard is 7 to 9 years old with about 50 trees..mostly apricots, pears, nashi and apples. Also a few of each of peach, nectarine, plum and quite a lot of multi grafts that I’ve been experimenting with the last 3 years.

    Hubby is very handy and is capable of making a strong structure. We have a friend that had his commercially built over about half the size of what we would need but the quality of the netting has let his down. It’s about 5 years old and he is constantly having to repair and maintain. From his experience we know we need better quality net and for the structure to be lower.

    Has anyone done this or have any recommendations on what type of net would be suitable. A google search this morning has uncovered this place and hubby is thinking this net looks suitable:

    http://www.haverford.com.au/birdnetting.html (the Black: Premium Diamond Mesh)

    Edited to add that we would need 1,100 square meters of netting.

    And now decided on the Stainless Steel Reinforcement 19mm Netting from the above link.

    #533714
    Snags
    Member

    Have you tried eagle kites or plastic owls on poles

    #533715
    Lady Bee
    Keymaster

    We net each individual tree as to net the whole orchard would be cost prohibitive for us. Bit of a pain to put on, but it works. We net shortly after flowering and then take the nets off after harvest. We use the white netting. I read somewhere (can’t remember where or when) that the black netting is harder for birds to see and they can get tangled in it.

    Sorry, Snags, but I have a chuckle about eagle kites. Our farm supplies produce store has those to discourage the sparrows etc from getting in the warehouse and making a mess. They use the eagle as a perch.

    #533716
    Snags
    Member

    Ive used a piece of hose to stop red wing parrots eating my tomatoes

    They thought it was a snake

    I moved it a few times, it did work for a few weeks until they got used to it.

    Ive used cds back to back on fishing line too, but it scares every single bird away even the bug eaters until they get used to it.

    I net my mandarins and peaches, this year I forgot the mandarins and the cockatoos ate all the seeds out of them like they did a few years back when I didnt net.

    My dad has an apple tree that he never has had an apple of for over 10 years the lorakeets have it marked on their calendar to come and eat the seeds out of unripe apples.

    Nets dont stop them either they get in and under or through

    Ive also caught a taipan and fruit bat in my nets.

    #533717
    jaydatoo
    Member

    We usually net each tree but I think each tree really needs it’s own structure to hold the net off it because the birds still seem to reach the fruit that sits close to the net. We also have to constantly be on the look out for tangled birds.

    Last year we were unprepared for the parrots to start so early. It would mean netting as soon as the blossoms come off. In fact, I caught a cocky at one tree this morning just breaking off the tips of one of the apple trees! I can’t even see that he was eating anything?

    You’re scaring me Snags! They haven’t found the citrus trees. They are in another area and so far I’ve loved the experience of growing citrus because (touch wood!) nothing wants to eat them! So it’s the seeds in the unripe fruit that the birds target?

    I’ve tried cds, snakes (moving them around every day)…no effect at all.

    That’s interesting about the black net. Will have to research that further. Although the one with the wire in it would probably ‘sparkle’ which could be an issue in itself.

    #533718
    jaydatoo
    Member

    We have a collection of plastic owls and the eagle kites are now in pieces. No effect. Hubby has the plastic owls around his carport now in an effort to keep the finches from preening in front of his truck mirrors…and pooing on the duco as a result!

    #533719
    Lady Bee
    Keymaster

    I heard recently that putting large feather dusters (black I think it was) in the tops of your trees helps to deter cockatoos – they think they’re large black birds, supposedly.

    Now I have no idea if this works, I haven’t found a feather duster yet! Does anyone still use them? I don’t want to relinquish my one and only duster to the orchard.

    #533720
    Snags
    Member

    jaydatoo post=358208 wrote:

    You’re scaring me Snags! They haven’t found the citrus trees. They are in another area and so far I’ve loved the experience of growing citrus because (touch wood!) nothing wants to eat them! So it’s the seeds in the unripe fruit that the birds target?

    The apples it was unripe but my mandarins were ripe,they didnt touch the green ones.

    #533721
    heatherc
    Member

    As already noted, white is the best colour to use as it results in less birds becoming entangled. This link gives some good information ways on the problems of netting and identifies the best ways to net trees for minimal impact on birds, bats and other wildlife.

    http://www.wildlifecarers.com/wp-content/uploads/No-net-loss-fact-sheet-Tree-Netting.pdf

    #533722
    jaydatoo
    Member

    thanks heatherc. will check it out.

    #533723
    jaydatoo
    Member

    What we are intending to do is nothing like a home job if you know what I mean. It will be constructed to a professional standard.

    #533724
    jaydatoo
    Member

    Further research has led me to these:

    http://www.fruittreenets.info/specifications.php

    Would work out cheaper, that’s for sure! And keep wasps out. We’ve had issues with wasps as well.

    #533725
    rivergirl
    Member

    Hi all, I’ve used vege net from Green Harvest on our Mandarin tree to deter the cockatoos.It works well. I plan to use the same net over our other fruit trees this year. It’s a fine net that can be used to keep out fruit fly as well. From memory I have read that this net is bird and fruit bat safe (they tend not to get caught in the net)

    #533726
    Rinelle
    Member

    Does anyone have any experience how long the nets last out in the sun? We have an apple tree that the parrots always take all the fruit from. That, or the fruit flies! But it’s hard to justify that expense if the nets are going to degrade in a couple of years.

    #533727
    rivergirl
    Member

    Hi Rinelle, just had a look at the Green Harvest website. They say the vege net is UV stabilised and has a 5 year manufacturer warranty. I have used my vege net for 2 seasons over the mandarine tree, and it is still in excellent condition.

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