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snaglpus

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Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 2,749
Reply with quote  #1 
Good day, you know I really don't like using bird netting but in my area, birds are everywhere.  As soon as the figs on my Marseilles White started lightening up, one sparrow started attacking my figs.  It got 2 figs yesterday so I netted the tree and that little ^*(&^$##^^&(!!! bastard got the one on the top!  

So, here is my question:  Do you guys use bird netting?  If so, how do you keep birds out?  

I've got over 70 trees in my orchard and it looks like if I'm gonna use bird netting, then I'm gonna have to install poles around each tree and draw the netting tight around them to keep those bird completely off the tree.  My neighbor chopped down his 10 tall patch of bamboo.  I went and got a truck load of it today.  My idea is to build a cage for each tree using the bird netting.  The problem is I have no idea how to build the cage with 4 inch thick round bamboo.  Any ideas?  Thank you in advance.

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Dennis
North Carolina/Zone 8a
alanmercieca

Registered: 05/31/11
Posts: 2,238
Reply with quote  #2 
your idea is the only kind of idea that I feel would be logical for your situation.  Some people put a banana net around each area of figs although if you have even one fig tree let alone more that is a huge project.  I have never tried netting a tree and the only thing that comes to mind is tying the tops of the bamboo together like a tepee.  I wish I could be more help although it's a trial and error kind of thing

I just noticed this Bamboo Sweet Pea Frame
They used some sort of joints that I recall seeing sold somewhere I forget where.  You could arch it too although that would take away the height advantage of the bamboo.  Then again if you joint them together and then you arch them that may work.


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Hardiness zone 7a - 8a, My plant blog -   http://foodplace.info/Plants/index.php?option=com_content
snaglpus

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Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 2,749
Reply with quote  #3 
thanks Alan.  that just might work.  Then I could use the tee pee in winter to block out the wind.  Hmmmmm...
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Dennis
North Carolina/Zone 8a
alanmercieca

Registered: 05/31/11
Posts: 2,238
Reply with quote  #4 
You are welcome.

Yes just as long as the bamboo is strongly tied with strong weather resistant rope and as long as it would not blow away.  It would need to be firmly planted.  Here in NC we can get some very strong winds at times and since you are zone 7B I'd take it that you are more likely to get strong winds than us here in 7A

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Hardiness zone 7a - 8a, My plant blog -   http://foodplace.info/Plants/index.php?option=com_content
noss

Registered: 06/08/09
Posts: 2,062
Reply with quote  #5 
Dennis, We used large diameter PVC pipe for the frame over the large Celeste out back and it keeps the birds off the tree, but not the squirrel out.  We used PVC pipe ells to join the pipe together.  Perhaps you could do the same with the bamboo.  What we did was insert the long pipes into the ells and drilled holes through both and used small screws to hold the pipe together.  It works very well.

How large are you going to let your trees get?

Do you know those dark green fence posts you can get at HD, or Lowe's--The ones that have the fin on the bottom so you don't have to cement the posts in the ground?  We got those and they are on each end and in the middle because we used six hoops.

We put the pipes in the concave side of each post and used car radiator hose clamps to secure the pipe to the posts, on clamp on the top and one on the bottom and they are very secure like that.

This may be too much trouble for you, but that's what we did and it works well for us.

I'd love to have a big hoop house like James Robin has, though.  :)

noss

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noss Lafayette, LA Zone 9a Wish List: Col de Dame Blanc, Col de Dame Noir, Col de Dame Gris, Scott's Yellow, Tony's Brown Italian, any other fig that is good in the rain/humidity and has a real figgy flavor.
JD

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 1,126
Reply with quote  #6 
Dennis,

Here is my nickel's worth:

I like the idea of the bamboo frames if you have easy access to your plants. I can see your property populated with what looks like a nation of green teepees.

One other thought to consider is a scaled version of  what Ken has done with EMT and 17 gauge wire. Constructing a few of those (with 8' centers and 7' sides) versus having to individually cover each tree might be effective as well as cost and time efficient.


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JD
Tallahassee, FL
Zone 8B
tmc2009

Registered: 05/15/11
Posts: 760
Reply with quote  #7 

I used PVC pipe also last year to lay the net over it.  I didn't even have to glue it so you can dissassemble it if you need to.  I have it over one of my raised beds for blueberries.  I had it tie wrapped to the frame but something just tore right through it last year.  I think it was a racoon or skunk so I was thinking of replacing the net with rigid wire, maybe a chicken wire.

Attached Images
jpeg FruitCage02_2010.jpg (38.17 KB, 58 views)


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Tom
Massachusetts Zone 6b

hoosierbanana

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Registered: 10/23/10
Posts: 1,785
Reply with quote  #8 
You may want to take special precautions with your bamboo to prevent early rot. This is from wikipedia:

Harvesting

Bamboo used for construction purposes must be harvested when the culms reach their greatest strength and when sugar levels in the sap are at their lowest, as high sugar content increases the ease and rate of pest infestation.

Harvesting of bamboo is typically undertaken according to the following cycles.

1) Life cycle of the clump: As each individual culm goes through a 5-7 year life cycle, culms are ideally allowed to reach this level of maturity prior to full capacity harvesting. The clearing out or thinning of culms, particularly older decaying culms, helps to ensure adequate light and resources for new growth. Well maintained clumps may have a productivity 3-4 times that of an unharvested wild clump.

2) Life cycle of the culm: As per the life cycle described above, bamboo is harvested from 2–3 years through to 5–7 years, depending on the species.

3) Annual cycle: As all growth of new bamboo occurs during the wet season, disturbing the clump during this phase will potentially damage the upcoming crop. Also during this high rain fall period, sap levels are at their highest and then diminish towards the dry season. Picking immediately prior to the wet/growth season may also damage new shoots. Hence harvesting is best at the end of the dry season, a few months prior to the start of the wet.

4) Daily cycle: During the height of the day, Photosynthesis is at its peak producing the highest levels of sugar in sap, making this the least ideal time of day to harvest. Many traditional practitioners believe that the best time to harvest is at dawn or dusk on a full moon. This practice makes sense in terms of both moon cycles, visibility and daily cycles.

Leaching

Leaching is the removal of sap post-harvest. In many areas of the world the sap levels in harvested bamboo are reduced either through leaching or post-harvest photosynthesis. Examples of this practice include:

  1. Cut bamboo is raised clear of the ground and leant against the rest of the clump for 1–2 weeks until leaves turn yellow to allow full consumption of sugars by the plant
  2. A similar method is undertaken but with the base of the culm standing in fresh water, either in a large drum or stream to leach out sap
  3. Cut culms are immersed in a running stream and weighted down for 3–4 weeks
  4. Water is pumped through the freshly cut culms forcing out the sap (this method is often used in conjunction with the injection of some form of treatment)

In the process of water leaching, the bamboo is dried slowly and evenly in the shade to avoid cracking in the outer skin of the bamboo, thereby reducing opportunities for pest infestation.

Durability of bamboo in construction is directly related to how well it is handled from the moment of planting through harvesting, transportation, storage, design, construction and maintenance. Bamboo harvested at the correct time of year and then exposed to ground contact or rain, will break down just as quickly as incorrectly harvested material.


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Brent, DE/PA z7a
TucsonKen

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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 1,221
Reply with quote  #9 
I'm late to the party because I've been out of town and haven't checked the forum for a few days, but depending how close together your trees are you may find it much more efficient to make one big "tent" over several trees rather than constructing a lot of individual cages. And, staying with the tent idea, if you use lightweight rope or strong wire to make a big, overhead grid (of virtually any size, supported by one of your bamboo poles at each intersection), then you don't even need to anchor the bottoms of the poles in the ground--they'll be held in place by the ropes (or wires). Of course, around the perimeter you will need to anchor the ropes to the ground, in the same way that old-style tents needed taut guy-lines, staked to the ground to keep the tent from falling over. Once the framework of poles and rope grid is in place, you can drape the netting over the top and bring it down to the ground at the edges.
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Ken
Tucson, Arizona
Zone 8b
snaglpus

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Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 2,749
Reply with quote  #10 
Thanks everyone for your comments.  I have a lot of trees to cover.  I plan on keeping my trees at 6 feet tall.  I got plenty of bamboo but most of this stuff is already starting to decompose and most is over 3 inches in diameter. 

The birds have stopped hitting my Marseilles White and are not going for my Petite Negra and Atreano.  So far they've gotten on off each tree, they are brebra and the figs are not ready to pick yet so today I have to cover them.

I'm going to play around with the bamboo and try the 4 stick tee pee and see how it works.  I really would like to net my entire orchard!  But that may cost too much.

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Dennis
North Carolina/Zone 8a
terowan

Registered: 03/13/09
Posts: 95
Reply with quote  #11 
Dennis, I have been keeping my fig trees pruned about 6' tall and just covering them with bird netting without any support.  The birds do eat the few figs that are at the top but it is not a big share of the harvest. 

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Tim
Zone 8a
Newport, NC Near the coast.
TucsonKen

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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 1,221
Reply with quote  #12 
Dennis--If you need a source, this guy sells bird netting for just over two cents a square foot: http://www.amigoni.com/bird%20netting.htm. I found him very good to work with. Whether you're covering individual trees or your whole orchard, you can protect a lot of trees for a very reasonable cost.

I saw that JD had linked to my earlier post on the subject (thanks JD!), so I won't add anything other than to say it has been extremely convenient to simply walk through a single door and have full access to all of my trees, rather than having to lift up and then re-position the netting each time I want to access a tree. Good luck!



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Ken
Tucson, Arizona
Zone 8b
snaglpus

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Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 2,749
Reply with quote  #13 
Hello Tim, I wouldn't mine sharing if my trees were 8 feet tall.  Most of my trees are small meaning I don't have a lot of figs on them.  The birds have found a source for food and are starting to check and see if the green ones are ripe.  So far, they've hit the brebras.  So if I can cover the entire area I will.

Ken, thanks for the link for bird netting.  I'm gonna order a couple some of the larges rolls he has and stand up several of my bamboo poles around the edges and center.  That should work fine.  Hooray!

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Dennis
North Carolina/Zone 8a
snaglpus

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Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 2,749
Reply with quote  #14 
We I started playing around with the bamboo yesterday because I saw a Brown Thrasher eating one of my figs at the bottom of my Atreano tree.  The fig was a brebra and wasn't even ripe, but he opened it up pretty bad.  He just started when I saw him and as soon as he heard the door open, he was gone!  I had gun in hand and he was about to be a pile of feather!

But this is the first time that the figs off my tree are red inside.  I am shocked!  The past 2 years I grew this tree in a big container and the interior was amber in color and very sweet.  This year, with me planting it in the ground and letting the tree spread its wings the tree is growing well.  It is full of brebra so I am expecting an awesome main crop.  But I am amazed at the interior color!  Anyway, I built a test cover for my tree.  I am still planning on getting the huge rolls of netting, but for now this will do!  The structure is pretty strong, the wind can't blow it over, but it will be a pain with it is time ot mow and weed wack!  Oh, well, the things we do for figs! Comments?

Attached Images
jpeg Picture_449_1.jpg (997.53 KB, 34 views)
jpeg Picture_450_1.jpg (986.08 KB, 32 views)


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Dennis
North Carolina/Zone 8a

go4broek

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Registered: 10/20/10
Posts: 1,203
Reply with quote  #15 

that will work! You can save money on landscaping bricks by using those "U" shaped metal wire stakes used to hold down drip tubing instead. Easier to carry too! ;-)


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Ruben
Cibolo, TX/Zone 8b
Wish List: Dalmatie, Italian 258, Martin's Unknown (not the Italian), CdD-N, NdC, Signora, Latarolla, Stella!
Check out my online journal @ http://davesgarden.com/community/journals/vbc/go4broek/83546/
alanmercieca

Registered: 05/31/11
Posts: 2,238
Reply with quote  #16 
That looks like a great job yet getting that roll of net is definitely a good idea (heaver the duty the better)

Quote:
Originally Posted by snaglpus
We I started playing around with the bamboo yesterday because I saw a Brown Thrasher eating one of my figs at the bottom of my Atreano tree.  The fig was a brebra and wasn't even ripe, but he opened it up pretty bad.  He just started when I saw him and as soon as he heard the door open, he was gone!  I had gun in hand and he was about to be a pile of feather!

But this is the first time that the figs off my tree are red inside.  I am shocked!  The past 2 years I grew this tree in a big container and the interior was amber in color and very sweet.  This year, with me planting it in the ground and letting the tree spread its wings the tree is growing well.  It is full of brebra so I am expecting an awesome main crop.  But I am amazed at the interior color!  Anyway, I built a test cover for my tree.  I am still planning on getting the huge rolls of netting, but for now this will do!  The structure is pretty strong, the wind can't blow it over, but it will be a pain with it is time ot mow and weed wack!  Oh, well, the things we do for figs! Comments?

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Hardiness zone 7a - 8a, My plant blog -   http://foodplace.info/Plants/index.php?option=com_content
TucsonKen

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Registered: 07/05/09
Posts: 1,221
Reply with quote  #17 
I'm a big believer (sometimes too big) in using what you have. It looks like you found a great short-term solution!
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Ken
Tucson, Arizona
Zone 8b
paulandirene

Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 398
Reply with quote  #18 

I saw this on my morning walk. Someone has used one of those expandable 'party tent'-type frames as a support for their bird netting. Pretty good idea, especially I see these types of frames with bad fabric for sale quite often.

0718040700a.png 

waynea

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 928
Reply with quote  #19 
How creative, just fold up and store when not needed.
MGorski

Registered: 05/11
Posts: 196
Reply with quote  #20 
I'm thinking only something sturdy like chicken wire will protect my figs against birds and larger animals. I have the feeling raccoons will be a problem here. My plants sprawl over a large area so no way to use a single containment area to cover them. It's good to see what methods people use to save the harvest.

Mike in Hanover, VA

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