How To Install Bird Netting In Gardens

Birds can wreak havoc in backyard gardens. Pest birds like crows, starlings, and pigeons feast on ripening fruits and vegetables, decimate seedlings, and damage ornamental plants. Installing protective bird netting over your garden beds is an easy yet effective way to shield your crops from hungry birds and preserve your harvest.

Read on to learn how to successfully deter birds and critters from your garden!

bird nets for gardens

When to Use Bird Nets in the Garden

Bird netting can be installed in gardens temporarily or permanently depending on your needs:

  • Seasonal Protection – Drape lightweight netting over ripening berry bushes, fruit trees, veggie beds, or other plants prone to bird damage at key times in the growing season. Remove nets after harvest.
  • Permanent Protection – For valuable ornamental plants or fruits prone to heavy bird damage, install sturdy bird netting permanently over garden beds to safeguard plantings year-round.
  • Shield Seedlings – Newly planted seeds and tender transplants also benefit from a protective barrier against pests until they mature.

When Bird Damage is Most Severe

While birds can trouble gardens year-round, some periods see especially intense bird pressure:

  • Fruiting season – Birds ravage ripening fruits like berries, stone fruits, grapes, etc. Install nets when fruit begins to develop.
  • Spring and fall migration – Increased bird populations pass through areas temporarily causing heavy damage.
  • Cold weather – Birds desperate for food target gardens more aggressively.

Pay attention to when bird damage occurs in your area and prepare to take preventative action.

Bird Netting Materials and Features

Many types of garden bird nets are available made from various materials. Assessing the qualities below helps select the right netting for your needs:

Mesh Size

Mesh hole size impacts which birds can access plants. Options include:

  • 3/4″ mesh – Deters all common pest birds (sparrows, starlings, robins, jays, etc.)
  • 1 1/8″ mesh – Stops larger birds like pigeons, crows, grackles, etc.

Density Rating

Denser netting with more woven strands per square inch offers reinforced durability. Light-duty economy nets wear faster.

Material Composition

Nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polyester mesh withstand weather, sun exposure, and bird assaults. Stay away from low-cost cotton netting.

Gauge Rating

This measures the net’s thickness and tensile strength. Heavier gauge netting resists damage. Lighter nets can rip more easily.

Quality Certifications

Reputable brands benchmark net performance through independent testing labs to certify effectiveness, strength, hole size, longevity and more.

Types of Bird Control Nets

Tailor netting solutions to your garden’s needs by comparing styles:

Heavy-Duty Nets

  • Maximum strength protection
  • Withstand harsh weather and bird assaults
  • Long lifespan (up to 10 years)
  • Used for permanent coverage
  • High density rating over 210 strands/sq. inch

Economy Nets

  • Budget-friendly option
  • Weaker, less durable plastic mesh
  • Best for temporary/seasonal use
  • Prone to faster degradation (2-3 years)
  • Lower density rating (~100 strands/sq. inch)

Ready-Made Nets for Beds

  • Shaped to fit over garden beds
  • Available for raised beds, hydroponics, etc.
  • Install instantly without cutting to size
  • Often use lower-cost materials
  • Limited size options

Shrub Nets & Net Sleeves

  • Customized tubes securing around bushes
  • Use over valued ornamentals prone to damage
  • Cinch bottom with drawstring closure
  • More aesthetic than draping nets
  • Allow airflow and light penetration

How to Install Bird Nets in Gardens

Follow key steps for proper net deployment in plant beds:

Plan Layout & Calculate Net Size

Measure your planting area’s length and width. Add 1-2 feet excess margin beyond bed boundaries on all sides to allow space for plant growth and access inside the netted zone. Layout spacing between net edges and plants prevents sagging holes birds penetrate.

Set Up Supports

Secure nets over gardens using stakes, trellises, poles, wires, or other infrastructure. Perimeter supports must withstand wind, bird collisions, and net tension without collapsing. Steel posts anchored 1-2 feet deep provide reliable anchors. Run tensioned guy wires above beds between poles.

Cut Netting to Size

Use sharp shears or scissors to custom cut netting to required dimensions without fraying edges. Don’t skimp on coverage area hoping birds won’t find gaps. They will!

Secure Nets Evenly Across Area

Drape nets over garden zones without sags or spaces birds access. Use zip ties, clamps, clips, or polyethylene cord to firmly attach edges to supports all the way around at regular intervals. Secure nets a minimum of every 12 inches along borders. Stapling nets damages plastic mesh.

Seal Net Edges Against Soil

Bury edges several inches underground or secure them with landscape fabric staples, metal or wooden garden pins, or u-shaped sod pins. Mulch optionally on top to hide buried edges.

Create Access Openings

Install zippered gates strategically so you can enter netted zones for weeding, harvesting, and other care without fully removing nets. Make doorway openings wide enough for easy passage and equipment transport.

Avoid excess doorway gaps birds penetrate when doors open. Overlap entry flaps when closed or install weighted hems along openings to quickly reseal.

Ongoing Use of Garden Bird Netting

Regularly monitor and address the following factors after installing nets:

Inspect Integrity & Repair Holes

Check entire net surface area a couple times per week for rips, gaps, or other breaches allowing bird access. Damaged netting compromises protection. Patch holes with mesh tape designed for the purpose.

Allow Space for Plant Growth

As garden plants, bushes and trees mature and expand over seasons, adjust net positioning to prevent sagging against foliage which birds then perch on. Lift and resecure drooping netting to restore tautness across beds as needed.

Alternately, remove nets temporarily to allow access for pruning overgrown plantings before reinstalling protective barriers.

Seasonal Net Removal & Storage

Nets installed temporarily over ripening fruits or seasonal crops get removed once harvest ends. Take nets down carefully without damage for reuse next year. Ensure all edges detach fully when extracting from soil. Improper net removal tears plastic mesh.

Before storage, clean nets by hosing off dirt and debris. Allow nets to fully air dry before stowing to prevent mold, mildew, and rot over the offseason.

Fold or roll up dry nets loosely without tight creases. Place nets in breathable containers like mesh bags or cardboard boxes in shed or garage areas protected from UV light, moisture, and gnawing pests.

Professional Guidance For Bird Net Needs

Consider requesting experienced assistance for:

  • Commercial-scale protection requirements
  • High-value plantings needing premium nets
  • Technically challenging or dangerous installations
  • Problematic garden situations not resolving through self-help methods

The right professional advisor will assess your unique site, environment, and bird pressures. They’ll recommend suitable netting solutions and optional supplemental deterrents like noisemakers, flash tape, spray repellants and more for tailored defense.

Qualified installers ensure nets deploy properly over garden acreage without gaps plus conduct site visits periodically to check net integrity and make recommendations.

Choosing Bird Control Nets For Different Climates

Consider your region’s seasonal weather, sunlight levels, and other environmental factors when selecting bird netting materials and gauges.

Hot & Sunny Areas

Prioritize UV-resistant nets for longevity. Heat also accelerates plastic degradation. Opt for heavier density ratings and thicker gauge meshes to withstand summer swelter in arid climates.

Windy, Coastal Regions

Frequent gusts blow lightweight nets around, allowing bird entry. Source durable, dense nets with reinforced border edging. Use robust support infrastructure rated for wind-load capacity.

Rainy & Humid Environments

Moist climates breed mildew inside sagging nets with poor airflow. Water pooling on nets also stresses mesh. Choose weather-resistant netting to prevent rotting plus scale support structures tall enough for ample headroom and ventilation.

Freezing Temperatures

Bitter cold and snow load risk collapsing weaker support frames. Select robust construction materials. Some net brands offer extreme weather models.

Removing nets over dormant winter gardens optional. Keeping them on offers continued bird and wind protection.

Ready to install protective netting but feeling overwhelmed sorting through the options? Product experts can simplify selections tailored to your situation with insider insights like:

  • Ideal net characteristics based on target bird species and protected plants
  • Top regional brands suiting local conditions
  • Cost-saving advice preventing under or over-purchasing materials
  • Innovative installation products improving functionality
  • Guidance combining single-solution nets vs. layering multiple mesh sizes for enhanced protection

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