If you want to keep birds from eating your fruit trees, your best bet is installing bird netting, which involves draping large nets over your trees. Bird netting is fairly inexpensive and lasts for several years if you take good care of it. But bird nets can be cumbersome and difficult to install. Another approach is to use fishing line to create monofilament lines (clear lines that stretch from the top of the tree to the ground in a teepee shape). These lines are not impermeable, but researchers at Montana State University found monofilament lines to be very effective at repelling birds.
Purchase bird netting from your local garden or hardware store. Look for a multistrand net because these are more durable than single-strand varieties. Choose a large net to cover your entire tree. Look for white or light-colored nets if possible; birds are less likely to get caught in nets that are easy to see.
Drape the net over your tree so it covers all the branches and leaves. If your trees are large, use a ladder to get closer to the tallest branches and toss the nets over the top of each tree.
Leave the nets in place all summer, removing and replacing them as needed for harvest or maintenance. Bring the netting inside for the winter, and store it in a dry place. Check your nets for holes before reinstalling them each summer.
Using a ladder, attach a wooden dowel to the top of your tree so that it extends about 2 feet above the highest branch. The dowel should be perpendicular to the ground. Use zip ties to secure the dowel to a branch that is also perpendicular to the ground, and tighten the ties so the dowel is securely held in place.
Attach 15 to 20 long strands of clear fishing line to the top of the dowel. The strands need to be long enough to touch the ground about 15 feet away from the tree's trunk (farther if the tree's branches are very wide). Use duct tape or another waterproof tape to attach the fishing line to the wooden dowel.
Stake each strand to the ground. Imagine a large circle is draw around your fruit tree, and attach each strand to a stake on a point around that circle. The fishing line should form a large teepee over your fruit tree. The tree's branches might stick out past the fishing line, which is fine. If the branches stick out more than a foot, widen your circle so the teepee covers more of the tree.
About this Author
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor's degree in legal studies, Hanna Terhaar began working full-time as a freelance writer. In the nine months she has been working professionally, Terhaar's articles have been published on sites such as eHow.com, DIY Chatroom and The Daily Puppy.