Have you seen those growers who produce crazy amounts of blueberries? And not any berries, juicy, sweet, quality, and presentable.
You might be tempted to think the growers are gifted or employ special methods. Or they have put in more effort than you. Nope!
How do they manage to protect their berries against birds? Each year more than 20% of the berries go to the birds. So if you’re looking to protect your berries, you’ll love this article.
Let’s get started.
What Are Blueberries And Blueberry’s Growing?
What are Blueberries
Blueberries are fruit plants with blue or purple berries. Although native to North America, you can grow them worldwide. And what’s more, you’ve over 50 varieties to choose from.
Some berries bushes grow to over 6 feet tall. Among the fruits, the berries are the healthiest of all. You get only 30 calories in a half cup of blueberries.
Now, here’s how you grow your blueberries.
- Choose wisely from varieties recommended for your area.
- Get at least two varieties for cross-pollination for quality berries.
- Go for young and healthy blueberries from a certified nursery.
- Space your bushes 5 – 6 feet apart.
- Water your berries after planting
- Prune your berries to become healthier.
- Harvest after 3 years, every 2-3 days.
- Take your harvest to a facility to be cleaned and packaged.
And that’s how it is done!
Bird Invasions Can Cause a Loss of Blueberry Plants
Who can resist freshly ripened blueberries? Surely, not birds!.
Birds love berries. And you can expect the following unsightly berry damages:
- Knocked off berries when they are hopping and foraging
- Eaten berries either wholly or partially
- Pecked or punctured berries
Be on watch out for the big bird, especially pigeons. They eat the whole of your berries. Small birds, for example, finches, peck, and puncture your berries. Robins, starlings, and other opportunistic birds also join the party.
And keep in your mind, birds are smart. I’m a bird watcher, and I’ve seen European Starlings in action. I once watched as a flock of starlings descended and feasted on blueberries as the aerial uncrewed vehicles stayed overhead.
All these damages will make you lose over 20% or higher of your harvest. Do you see how huge this can be?
The Role of Bird Netting in Blueberry Planting
If you’re going to reap maximum returns from your berries, take action on the birds. And unless they become extinct, like the populous passenger pigeon in America – it crushed from 3 billion to zero in 50 years. Your troubles will not be over soon.
Bird netting is the way to go.
Netting is a cloth textile mesh net spread over blueberries. The bird won’t reach your berries, so they remain safe. After being denied access, the birds move to try their luck elsewhere.
And a bonus – your net will provide a shading effect on your berries.
It is relatively inexpensive and will sort you out for years.
Introducing the Bird Netting in Details
The blueberry bird net protects your berries from all birds. The net is thin to allow the berries to ripen. Depending on the target birds, you can choose different mesh sizes.
Material and Size of Bird Netting
Here’s the deal! You need to choose the right material and size.
The net comprises 100% virgin High-Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE) resin. This ensures your network is of high tensile strength. It is knitted, and UV stabilized to make it durable with a 5 – 8 years guarantee.
The material is recyclable and popular worldwide. It also holds rain come sunshine. This lightweight and durable mesh netting offer your berries all the protection.
Blueberry netting is available in 3 types for your convenience. You can select the lightweight fruit tree and canopy bird netting. And there’s more; you choose your favorite colors, white, black or green.
There are three mesh sizes, 25 by 25mm, 15 by 15mm, and 16 by 16mm. Most blueberry growers use the 15 by 15mm bird netting to protect their berries.
Depending on the birds attacking your berries, it should suffice for small, medium-sized, and large ones.
The bird protection netting comes in different lengths and widths to suit your blueberry farm.
Bird Netting Accessories
Once you get the netting right – the mesh size, shape, and material add some accessories as well. Grab the ground cover pegs to secure your netting firmly in place.
Remember, you will often get inside the netting to do one or two things. To ease your access, use shark bite clamps for fastening the net. They are a quick, simple, and safe way of attaching netting.
You can also take the Polyester monofilament wire. It is lighter than metal and will make your installation easy and faster than wire.
Pick also shade cloth hooks for a complete range of plastic fasteners and connectors suitable for your nets.
When the blueberries begin to ripen, you cover them with bird netting. In a matter of hours, you can have your blueberry bushes protected from birds.
There are two ways to install bird netting. You can choose either a full canopy or a tunnel. The two methods vary in cost and are safe for your berries.
Unfold the net or, if using last year, untangle. It will unfold easily. Make sure you leave no gaps or openings in the netting. Secure your netting on the ground with weights such as bricks or blocks.
Once you install the net, you have to keep an eye on it. Monitor the birds visiting your region to know their size and their behavior to help you improve their control.
Make sure your net is well tucked at the edges of the fabric. Cover your berries to the ground. Carefully lift the net from your berries to pick.
Ensure you don’t disturb the netting to avoid breaking ripening berries after harvest. Removes the net and keeps it for your next year’s planting.
Some Examples of Bird Netting Around the World That Have Yielded Good Returns
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United States of America is the world’s leading blueberries producer. Other producers include Canada, Poland, Germany, Mexico, Spain, Sweden, and New Zealand.
These countries have witnessed success in bird netting. 55 countries spread across North America, China, Middle Asia, South America, Middle East, East Asia, Austria, New Zealand, and Europe use netting Supplied by Eyouagro. And all of them get good returns.
Growing berries is a process and involves some work. One of the main tasks is protecting your berries from birds. There are many methods to protect against birds, but none beats netting. Without protection, you can incur huge losses.
Nobody likes to wait for years for the birds to reap where they have never sown. Think of all the efforts you have put in. And worse, share your berries with the birds.
Protect your berries bushes with netting. Add give yourself some major blueberries harvest improvement.