Those same garden plants that look so attractive or tasty to you also may be attractive and tasty to birds. If left uncovered, the garden can turn quickly into a bird buffet, leaving nothing for you to harvest or enjoy. Bird netting, available at many garden centres, helps to keep feathered feasting away from your garden plants. The netting is easily removable and can be lifted when you wish to tend to your plants. It’s lightweight enough to allow plants to grow, which means it needs to be weighted around its edges to keep it in place. An added benefit of the netting is that it also helps to keep out other critters, such as squirrels, which otherwise may ravage your garden’s plants.
- Pound one wood stake into the ground at each corner of the garden by using a hammer or rubber mallet. If the garden is longer than 8 feet, then add one or two stakes in the garden’s center as additional support for the netting. Insert all of the stakes deep enough in the ground so that they won’t fall out on their own.
- Set one upturned plastic plant pot over each stake. The plant pots help to hold up the netting and prevent it from becoming caught on or torn by the stakes.
- Set a roll of netting at the back of the garden, and unroll it toward the garden’s front, covering the stakes. The stakes keep the netting off the plants a bit; otherwise, birds may poke through the netting and reach the plants. Continue unrolling the netting until it reaches the garden’s front. Unroll a few extra feet of netting.
- Set rocks, bricks, small logs or other weighty objects on all edges of the netting, along its front, back and sides. The weights secure the netting’s edges on the ground. Use enough weights so no gaps remain for birds and other wildlife to walk into the garden.
- Remove weights and lift areas of the netting as needed to inspect and tend to your plants. Replace the netting and weights each time you finish working in the garden.
Things You Will Need
- Wood stakes
- Hammer or rubber mallet
- Plastic plant pots
- Rocks, bricks, small logs or other weighty objects
- Check the netted area at least every couple of days. If a bird or other animal found its way underneath the netting and became trapped, carefully remove some weights and lift the netting to give it an escape route.
- Bird netting is available in various lengths, often on rolls more than 50 feet long. Keep excess netting on the roll rather than cutting it if you may need the netting in a larger area in the future.
- Garden hoops that span a garden bed can be used in place of wood stakes as netting support. Such hoops are available from garden centers or can be made from any flexible, sturdy wire, even a coat hanger.
- Row covers, also known as garden fabric, can be used in place of bird netting. Their material provides a bit of shade but may cause plants to overheat in extremely hot weather because it is a bit like a thin blanket. Row covers should be lifted from time to time if plants require pollination.
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