Protecting your fruit trees from birds and other animals

Fruit trees and vines are often grown in the back yards of Australians country wide. They help provide our families and friends will accessible, fresh and low cost fruit. When it comes to taking care of our fruit trees, pest control is important in ensuring the fruit remains as damage free as possible. Birds and other animals can quickly become a pest when it comes to protecting fruit trees, so we've gathered together some tips to help make things easier for you and your trees.

Keep branches tidy and pruned back from other trees and fences. This will help stop animals from climbing from branch to branch or from fencing.

Bird Netting
This is a key tool in preventing birds and other animals from getting to the fruit. The netting still allows the fruit to grow normally while also being protected. However, using the wrong type of netting or poorly erected netting could potentially harm wild life should they get caught up in it. Used safely and correctly, bird netting will help to protect your fruit from birds, flying foxes, possums and other animals that wish to feast of your fruit tree. Regularly check for any damage that may allow wildlife to get caught.

Shade Cloth
Shade cloth with a 30% block out rate can be used in place of bird netting. It can be tied or pegged over the tree and is a low risk to wildlife while also protecting the fruit. The shade cloth should be regularly checked for any damage such as rips and holes that wildlife may get caught up in. Shade cloth can also be stored away for the next fruiting season.

Tree Collar
Some animals will climb up the trunk of the tree to get to the fruit. Erecting a sheet of metal or plastic around the trunk of the tree can deter animals from climbing. The metal or plastic 'collar' will obstruct their climbing, preventing them from using their claws to climb. Attaching one near the bottom and also one near the top will sort out pesky critters that may try and jump.

Paper Bags
Some people like to use paper bags to cover individual fruit in order to keep it safe from pests. This is more common if you don't mind sharing your fruit with the birds and only need small amounts that are easily accessible down the bottom of the tree.

In addition to the above options, garden decorations like pin wheels or Mylar ribbon (a shiny metallic or holographic look) can be attached to the netting to help assist in deterring birds, as they are often frightened away by shiny moving objects.

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