Blueberry Netting: Pros, Cons And Installation Guide

close up of a blueberry

Blueberry netting is essential when it comes to protecting blueberries, which are not only delicious, but packed with a range of health benefits. Rich in antioxidants, blueberries reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer, improve brain function, lower blood pressure and protect cells from damage. And, they make a pretty mean pie.

But, before you start warming up the oven, you have to protect your blueberry crops from avian predators. That’s where blueberry bush netting comes into the equation. In this guide, we’ll explain the pros and cons of netting for blueberry bushes, as well as when to cover blueberry bushes and much, much more.

Using netting to deter birds from blueberry bushes has its advantages and disadvantages. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know to learn how to keep birds off blueberry bushes.

blueberry bush up close

Understanding The Advantages Of Blueberry Netting

Blueberry netting offers a host of valuable benefits for both commercial growers and home gardeners. By acting as a protective barrier, blueberry netting effectively shields delicate blueberry crops from the threat of birds and other wildlife. This not only prevents substantial losses due to bird feeding, but also ensures a higher yield of undamaged, premium-quality berries.

In addition to its role in preserving crops, blueberry netting’s gentle yet effective deterrence allows beneficial insects to access the plants, promoting pollination and maintaining a balanced ecosystem.

And, blueberry bush netting prolongs the harvesting window by guarding against sunburn and safeguarding the berries until they are perfectly ripe, permitting growers to pick the fruit at its peak sweetness and flavor. This practical solution not only enhances the economic viability of blueberry farming, but also aligns with the principles of responsible and nature-friendly agriculture.

Wondering when to cover blueberry bushes? It should be applied before the berries begin to ripen and when they are still green or in the early stages of development. It’s important to put the netting in place as soon as you notice the first signs of color change in the berries. This timing is crucial to ensure that you protect the blueberries from birds and other pests that are attracted to the ripe fruit. Applying the netting early also helps prevent birds from becoming accustomed to feeding on the berries, which can lead to more persistent and challenging bird problems.

hand picking blueberries

Potential Disadvantages Of Blueberry Netting

While blueberry netting offers significant advantages in protecting crops from birds, there are also certain concerns that need to be addressed. If netting isn’t properly designed or maintained, it can potentially impede the access of pollinators like bees to the blueberry flowers, reducing the effectiveness of pollination and potentially affecting the fruit yield.

Another concern is the potential entanglement of non-target wildlife, such as small mammals, beneficial insects or even birds that inadvertently become trapped in the netting. Improper netting installation or maintenance could lead to damage to the plants or the netting itself, potentially affecting the overall health of the blueberry bushes.

All of these factors negatively impact environmental sustainability, so careful installation, regular monitoring and selecting appropriate mesh sizes are essential. By addressing these concerns through proper planning and responsible use, you’ll enjoy the benefits of blueberry netting, while minimizing potential drawbacks.

blueberry bush with fruit

Choosing The Right Blueberry Netting

Choosing the right netting for blueberry bushes is a critical step in ensuring effective crop protection, while minimizing potential risks. To make an informed decision, consider factors like netting material, mesh size and durability. Opt for netting made from high-quality materials that are both sturdy and lightweight, striking a balance between durability and ease of handling. The mesh size should be small enough to prevent birds from accessing the fruit, but large enough to allow beneficial insects to reach the plants for pollination.

When assessing durability, prioritize netting that can withstand weather conditions like wind and rain, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Select a netting design that offers convenient access points for harvesting, while maintaining a secure barrier. Before purchasing, measure the area you need to cover accurately to ensure you buy the right amount of netting.

Lastly, consider seeking advice from experts or fellow growers who have experience with blueberry netting to gain insights into the best practices and products available. This way, you can choose the right blueberry netting that aligns with your specific needs and ensures the successful protection of your crops.

Related: 5 Blueberry Bush Frost Protection Tips and Tricks

hand picking blueberries up close

Best Practices For Blueberry Netting Maintenance

Maintaining netting for blueberry bushes is essential to ensure its long-term effectiveness and prevent potential issues. Regular inspection is important, so be sure to check for any tears, gaps or loose sections that could allow birds or other wildlife to access the crops.
Address any damages promptly by patching or replacing affected areas with spare netting. Regularly clear debris, leaves or branches that could accumulate on the netting. Properly secure the netting to prevent it from coming loose due to wind or animal activity. During the growing season, monitor the netting’s tension and adjust it if necessary to maintain a secure barrier.

When harvest season arrives, ensure that access points are well-maintained for easy picking. By incorporating these best practices into your routine, you can maximize the benefits of blueberry netting, and enjoy a successful harvest while preserving the integrity of your crops.

Step-by-Step Installation Guide

Installing blueberry bush netting to protect your crops is a straightforward process. Here’s a simple, step-by-step guide:

  1. Gather Materials: Obtain the necessary materials, including the netting, sturdy stakes or posts, zip ties or clips and any tools required for installation.
  2. Measure Area: Measure the area you need to cover with the netting, ensuring you have enough material to provide complete coverage.
  3. Prepare the Area: Clear the area around the blueberry bushes of any debris, branches, or obstacles that could interfere with the installation.
  4. Set Up Stakes or Posts: Place sturdy stakes or posts around the perimeter of the blueberry bushes, creating a framework to support the netting. Make sure the stakes are firmly anchored in the ground.
  5. Drape Netting: Carefully drape the netting over the stakes or posts, ensuring it covers the entire area.
  6. Secure Netting: Secure the netting to the stakes or posts using zip ties or clips. Start at one corner and work your way around, ensuring the netting is tight and anchored.
  7. Create Access Points: If you plan to harvest the berries while the netting is in place, create access points by folding back sections of the netting and securing them with clips or ties.
  8. Inspect and Adjust: Carefully inspect the netting to ensure there are no gaps or areas where birds or wildlife could enter. Adjust the tension and fasteners as needed to maintain a secure barrier.

By following these simple steps, you can effectively install blueberry netting to safeguard your crops from birds and other potential threats.

Factors Involved In Maintenance And Upkeep

We mentioned it before, but maintenance and upkeep are crucial factors in ensuring the ongoing effectiveness of blueberry netting. Regular inspection is essential, involving a thorough check for tears, holes or any areas where the netting might be compromised and promptly by patching or replacing sections. Properly secure the netting to prevent it from coming loose.

During the growing season, monitor the tension and adjust it if necessary to maintain a secure barrier. By staying vigilant and proactive in maintaining the netting, you can extend its lifespan and effectively protect your blueberry crops season after season.

farmer spraying blueberry bush with herbicides

Alternatives To Blueberry Netting

While blueberry bush netting is an effective method for protecting crops from birds, there are alternative approaches to consider, based on your needs and preferences.

Chemical pest control for blueberries has both advantages and disadvantages. On the positive side, chemical pesticides can effectively target and eliminate a wide range of pests that can damage blueberry crops, potentially leading to higher yields and reduced crop loss. They do offer a quick and often immediate solution to pest problems. However, there are also drawbacks to consider. Chemical pesticides can harm non-target organisms, including beneficial insects and pollinators, disrupting the ecosystem’s balance.

There’s also a risk of pesticide residues remaining on the fruit, potentially affecting human health if not properly managed. Over time, pests can develop resistance to certain pesticides, necessitating the use of stronger chemicals or different methods.

Additionally, continuous reliance on chemical pest control may lead to environmental concerns and contribute to the decline of biodiversity. Careful consideration of these pros and cons is essential when deciding whether to use chemical pest control methods for blueberries.

Visual deterrents like scarecrows, reflective tape, or shiny objects can help deter birds by creating a visually confusing or intimidating environment. Sonic bird repellents emit sounds that birds find uncomfortable, discouraging them from the area. Using predator decoys, such as plastic owls or hawks, can also mimic the presence of natural predators and deter birds.

Applying taste-based repellents can make the blueberries less appealing to birds. Each approach has its benefits and limitations, so it’s important to evaluate your specific situation and choose the method that aligns best with your goals and resources.

Related: How To Protect Commercial Blueberry Farms From Birds

How Avian Can Help Protect Your Crop

Ultimately, using netting for blueberry bushes to deter birds can be an effective and environmentally friendly approach, but it does come with some challenges and considerations. Careful installation, maintenance and choosing the right netting material can help you make the most of its benefits while minimizing its drawbacks.

Additionally, Avian Control liquid bird repellent can protect your blueberries from birds. This product lasts up to two weeks and has proven effective results. Our formula is safe to use around crops, animals and humans. For more information, contact us at 888-868-1982.

Blueberry Netting: Pros, Cons And Installation Guide