How to keep birds away from fruit trees

How to keep birds away from fruit trees

Last updated on March 3rd, 2024 at 07:09 am

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 laws and, it’s important to make sure you do your research before you decide to kill, maim, poison, or capture any type of bird.

Learn more about the Migratory Bird Treaty Act over at “Fish and Wildlife Services“.

The Problem with Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees Tips Backyard Gardener

The biggest problem when planting fruit trees is not planting them but keeping the birds away from the fruit.  Like humans, birds seem to know when the fruit is ripe and ready to be eaten.

Most fruit tree gardeners love growing fruit and picking it from their own yard.  Just picking and eating the delicious fruit that was produced from your efforts is a treat to behold. Yes, I can relate.

It’s also a good feeling to look out your back window and see healthy, beautiful fruit on your trees.  It is even better when it’s time to go out and harvest the fruit.  Fruit that is organically grown in your own backyard is better than purchasing them at the grocery store.

Birds are a problem when growing Fruit Trees

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 into 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.

Plastic Animals

One good way of repelling birds is to place a plastic owl within the vicinity of the trees. If you find an animal that usually attacks birds and purchase the plastic version and place it nearby, usually real birds will be instinctual enough to avoid them. However, moving them around weekly will help and you should do this at least once per week, and the more often the better.

How to keep birds away from fruit trees
Fake Owls to keep birds away

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 Bobble Head Owl will move when there is the 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. These plastic owls can be purchased at almost any garden retail store.

Plastic Snakes to Keep Birds Away

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 for you.

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?

How to keep birds away from fruit trees
Scare tape helps keep birds away


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 the branches of 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.


What about ultrasonic devices?

From my 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 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 their 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.

How to keep birds away
Apple vines with protective nets on them

Protective Netting can get expensive if you have more than 3 or 4 trees.  Tree 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 or plants at least once per day making sure no birds are stuck.  The last thing you want is a dead bird trapped in your netting.

Are birds beneficial?

Yes, some birds are beneficial.  They eat all types of insects, especially bad insects.  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 something is missing from your yard. Something that, on the inside, you truly loved all along.

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