How to keep birds away from fruit trees. Before we get ahead and find the right way to keep birds away from your fruit trees it is important to note that it is illegal to kill most migratory birds. Except for pigeons, house sparrows, and European starlings. Each state has its own laws make sure you do your own research before you decide to kill, maim or capture any type of bird.
The Problem with Fruit Trees
The biggest problem when planting fruit trees is not planting them but keeping the birds away from the fruit. Birds always seem to know when the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten.
There is a lot of enjoyment when we can go outside and pick fruit right from your own yard. Just picking and eating the delicious fruit that was produced from your own efforts is a treat to behold.
It’s also a good feeling to look out your back window and see a gorgeous, glorious fruit on your trees. It’s an impressive thing to harvest fruit from any fruit tree.
But along with the joys that fruit trees can bring, there are many problems. They seem to attract more unwanted creatures than any other plant or tree in the world. Worms, flying insects, grubs and more than anything else birds.
It’s frustrating when you put all the effort of watering, fertilizing and constant care only to have these creatures gobble up your fruit.
It can seem almost impossible to get rid of these pests. After all, they can come in from any angle and make a quick getaway with the majority of your fruit.
They can sit undetected in the branches and munch away all day. A bird certainly has its versatility on its side. Those little guys can be a real hassle to catch or repel. However, there are several different ways you can deter the birds from eating the fruit on your trees.
One good way of repelling birds is to place a plastic owl within the vicinity of the trees. If you find any animal that usually eats birds and purchase the plastic version, usually real birds will be instinctual enough to avoid them. However, moving them around on a weekly basis will help and it’s important to move them around at least once per week and more often is better.
The owl image above will help keep birds away. It is the straight no movement type of fake owl. There are several types that work well and the best one is the Bobble Head Owl.
The Booble Head Owl will move when there is wind blowing from one side to the other. It will scare the birds away. The stationary type does not work as well unless you move it often…2-3 times per week works best.
You can also use plastic snakes, hawks, or scarecrows. But again… you need to move them around. You can, of course, purchase these at your local gardening store.
If you want a different version or a more lifelike representation you may have to look online. I am sure you will find something that works.
Purchasing a plastic animal of some sort will cure the bird problem for a while. However, some birds are just really brave and will continue to eat from your tree no matter what you put out there.
Does reflective tape work?
Yes, it does I personally like to use reflective tape designed for scaring birds. Not only at home but at our store nurseries. The more they move around the better they work. You can purchase reflective tape at most gardening or big box stores.
Almost any reflective surface combined with a noisy object will prevent the birds from coming too close. You can also cut strips of aluminum foil and cut a hole on one side attach a string and tie it to branches on your tree.
I usually use this in combination with a large assortment of wind chimes and other plastic animals for maximum effect. Once you have a plastic animal along with reflective and noisy items, most birds will decide to go elsewhere.
Are birds beneficial?
While flying birds might take a little more than their share of fruit, you should still consider leaving one tree exclusively for them. While they might seem like a pest sometimes, birds can help remove other insects and worms in your garden.
Sparrows, Robins, Chickadees, Meadowlarks, and Orioles are famous for eating all sorts of worms, beetles, grubs and other harmful insects.
If you’re used to having birds and then all of a sudden you’ve scared them all away, you’ll feel like there is something missing from your yard. Something that, on the inside, you truly loved all along.
What about ultrasonic devices?
From my own research, these devices are not effective and the main reason is that there is no scientific evidence that these devices work. You can do your own research if you need to or Google the following search terms “do ultrasonic bird repellers work“.
There are some folks who swear by these devices but it’s possible they might have something else that is in there yard that is keeping the birds away?
Bird Netting Works Best
Bird netting is by far the best way to keep birds off of your fruit trees. It does take some work to pull over netting up and around the tree but it can be done with the help of friends or relatives. It works because the birds cannot go through the mesh netting.
It works on fruit trees, vegetables/herb gardens and any type of garden plants that birds love to eat.
Protective Netting can get expensive if you have more than 3 or 4 trees nettings do cost anywhere from 10 and 30 US dollars depending on the size you are looking for.
Will It Harm Birds
The one caveat to this is that sometimes birds will get stuck in the net. It is important that you check your tree at least once per day making sure no birds are stuck. The last thing you want is a dead bird trapped in your netting.
Paul Guzman – Husband, Father, Grandfather, Gardener, and Webmaster of GuzmansGreenhouse.com