The Q&A Archives: Birds and Tomato Plants

Question: I hope this isn't a stupid question. My tomato plants are staked. Well, the birds are using my stakes as a perch to land on. They stand there and do their business on my tomato plants. So, my tomatoes are getting covered with bird dirt. Do you have any suggestions on how to keep birds away and doing their business on my plants? This really bothers me.

Answer: That does sound pretty awful. Here are some ideas you might try. Some gardeners have had success using commercially available bird scare devices such as inflatable owls and scare-eye balloons. You can also buy strips of shiny mylar--you can tie a piece around the top of the stake so it flutters in the wind and scares the birds. Unfortunately, birds usually get used to these devices pretty quickly. You might also try to make the tops of the posts inhospitable to would-be perchers. One idea that comes to mind is to put a whirligig of sorts on top of each post so that, at least when the breeze is blowing, the birds can't land on a spinning top. Or you could try cutting the stakes at a very sharp angle--so they come to a point at the top. This might make the perch a little less comfortable for the birds. Or you could try pounding several nails in the top of the stake, so they poke up about an inch. Again, less comfy for the birds, so maybe they'll go find a tree instead.

Or, you could do the old fashioned thing and try a scarecrow! Just dress it in loose clothing so it flutters in the breeze! Good luck with your bird problem!

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