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Garden netting to foil berry-eating birds.

Garden netting to foil berry-eating birds

Beat the birds to the berries--that's thetrick in June and July. Birds have little else to do but check out berry vines for ripening fruit, and they're likely to start dining on yours before you get the chance. British estate gardeners protect their brambleberries, currants, gooseberries, and grapes with soft fruit cages--permanent pipe structures covered with wire screening.

You can foil birds more affordably bycovering your bushes or vines with poly-propylene garden netting. This sounds easy, but anyone who has ever tried it knows the frustration of dealing with a material that seems to have a perverse mind of its own. It snags on any twig, splinter, stake, trellis, thorn, or button that it touches, often causing broken plants, torn net, or outbursts of temper.

This relatively inexpensive structure willtame the net for you. Smooth PVC pipe offers no points of resistance to netting and supports it above and around the plants. The only tool necessary for assembling the framework is a hacksaw for cutting pieces to the right lengths. Ready-made fitting take care of the joinery, and the pieces can be assembled for use or disassembled for storage simply by pushing or pulling.

Our photographs show a structure coveringa 30-foot row of tayberries, but it would do equally well (with modifications for plants of different sizes) for any similar plant. It uses about 170 feet of 1/2-inch schedule 40 PVC pipe, 4 corner fittings, and 12 T-joint fittings. A standard-size 13- by 45-foot net covers the berries--and leaves plenty to spare. Total cost is about $50, and with reasonable care all materials will last for many years.

To pick fruit, slide the netting back alongthe pipe frame--or simply lift it and reach in as you move along the row. If wind blows the netting around, anchor it with wire bent through the netting and into the ground.

To provide solid support, vertical lengths6 feet long were pushed 1 1/2 feet into the ground. In spots where the gravelly clay loam was too hard to accept the legs, the builder softened it by forcing water into it with a root irrigator.

Photo: Frame-up is easy: pushtogether lengths and joint fittings of 1/2-inch PVC pipe; push legs into ground

Photo: Black garden netting slidesback and forth along pipe without snagging, can be lifted without tangling or breaking vines
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Jun 1, 1987
Words:396
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