The Q&A Archives: Blueberries...

Question: I planted 100 Blueberry plants which are now turning blue...can you tell me how to protect the plants from deers and birds? I am totally green this is all new to me! Thank you![The plants are 3yrs. old]

Answer: Birds seem to know exactly when the berries are ripe! In my garden, where I have only a half dozen blueberry bushes, I have installed permanent stakes at the ends of the row and half way down the row. I drape bird netting over the stakes which covers the bushes and keeps the birds from harvesting my fruit. Any enclosure you erect will also keep deer from browsing.

Since you have a larger investment, you might want to consider something more permanent. You can foil the birds by erecting a walk-in cage around the whole planting. Use 1-inch-mesh chicken wire and cover only the sides of the cage, not the top, with the chicken wire. Drape a net over the top of the cage when the blueberries start ripening.

You may need a couple of wires across the top of the cage to keep the net from sagging. Leaving the top open when there are no fruits allows birds in among the bushes to pick off insect pests, and avoids the problem of snow on the roof weakening the structure.

Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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