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Protecting Berry Bushes from Hungry Birds and Rabbits

by Barbara 28. June 2009 07:28

Question about protecting blueberry bushes from birds.

Q: "How do I keep birds from eating my blueberries? This is the second year for the bushes which are covered with green berries. Would a Bird-X bird repeller do the job? I don't want to deal with bird netting if I don't have to."Thanks. Jack

Answer: Your best choice is not the bird repeller unless you install multiple units of the smaller units, the Bird-X Peller 1 and the Bird-X Peller 2. Each unit has only one speaker. You would have to have at least two units or install the Super Bird-X Peller with four speakers. These are noisy, you would have to have AC power and your neighbors might be unhappy.

I recommend that you either drape the plants with standard 3/4 inch mesh bird netting or build what is called a walk-in blueberry cage. Essentially that is a frame over which you drape the netting. That way you can secure the bird net so birds cannot get underneath. After harvest, which usually takes a few weeks per variety, you can remove the netting. The netting should last for years since it is UV treated.

Remember that rabbits and other rodents enjoy the young branches of blueberry plants. To keep them out in the wintertime, surround the bushes with tall chicken wire fencing

Blueberry bushes require little care, if you are in the right climate zones, keep the soil acidic and provide enough water. In 1964, I gave my dad a half dozen small bushes. Four of them survive to this day in western Pennsylvania and continue to produce huge numbers of berries 45 years later. Each spring the bushes are covered with bird netting that is anchored along the edges with bricks. Rarely a bird will get underneath and need to be rescued.

Thanks for your question. Enjoy those pies!
Sincerely, Barbara