Often, new fruit tree owners fear marauding magpies, pillaging pack rats, or devastating ducks. Well, maybe not the ducks. The solution? Warfare! Nets, traps, fake owls, snakes, oh my! Some, like these painted rocks that confuse strawberry snatchers, are wonderful deterrents and should be used. But, many times people choose to net their trees.
Notice anything about this plum tree? No net!
A free range plum awaits its fate: pecked by beaks or picked by digits.
When you net a fruit tree, you are inevitably going to damage some portion of the tree either installing or removing it. You'll catch and snare unsuspecting little birds (I've freed a few on clients' trees). And, when done, you send the useless tangle of plastic and broken branches to the dump.
At our house, we're fortunate to have mature plums, peaches and citrus trees. We also border wildlife habitat so the domestic feasting pressures are slightly higher than elsewhere. Did we say, "Hey hungry living thing, these are our plums and ONLY ours! Beaks off!"? No. We said, "Eat what you want. If we're too busy and occupied to get them, enjoy!" No need for nets. No abused tree. No sad birdies. Just a beautiful, bounteous plum tree that all get to enjoy. We invite you to take a look at your edible habitat and see your interactions with wildlife as a dynamic dance with neither one of you being more deserving of living and thriving. Feel like too many fruits are getting pilfered? Plant more, and let them gorge till plump. Still not working? Then maybe that rubber snake may just be what the farmer ordered.
Stations of the Plum: fresh picked, smoothie chunks, compost, and grab 'n gos.
Slicing off the uglies and keeping the rest for smoothies
Like I said above, nets end up trapping birds and killing them. This Saturn peach was netted and I found this scrub jay underneath it. Pobrecito.
Netting a tree does keep some of the bird and animal damage down, but it can also entangle and trap animals.
Scrub jay dead from becoming entangled with bird netting.
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