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Anti-Bird Netting for Grapevines

Anti-Bird Netting for Grapevines

Why, When and How to put anti-bird netting over a crop of grapes

Anti-Bird Netting is a bird-friendly alternative to keep them away from berry crops. For the home gardener, growing grapes requires some commitment. Grape vine seedlings, when bought as a potted plant for transplanting, are not cheap, and so it requires financial commitment.

Then there is the waiting. After having be plant, one must wait two to three years in order to be able to start harvesting grapes:  a commitment of time. 

At least grape vines are fairly hardy and, for the most part, grow well; but, in order to bear well, they need to be prune early in the spring every year.

That is a commitment of labor and a commitment to acquiring the expertise to prune them properly. 

After so much investment of time, money, labor, and having learned how to prune, would it not be frustrating if the fruits of your labor were to be eaten by birds before you even got to try some yourself !

To avoid this devastating scenario, grape vines can be cover with bird barrier netting at a certain point of the yearly growth cycle in order to protect them from be consume by pests.

Anti-Bird Netting in grapes crop
GUACAMALLAS bird barrier netting keeps birds from harvesting your grape crop.

Anti-Bird Net : A Problem with a Solution

The problem is that birds will eat grapes before they are fully ripe. 

We wait for them to ripen, but then there are no ripe grapes because the birds pick them before they were ready to be pick

Lots of different kinds of birds like grapes, and, as soon as the grapes start to change color, birds seem to sense the increase in sweetness and go for them. 

It gets especially bad when a brood of little ones is about to leave the nest and grapes are be harvest to feed many mouths.

Acoustical and visual devices, such as bird bangers and scarecrows, are bound to fail, because, with time, birds grow accustomed to them and such devices are no longer a deterrent. Birds go back to eating grapes, in spite of the devices.

The only bird-proof solution is anti-bird net which is a physical barrier that prevents birds from being able to get to the grapes. Just as chicken netting keeps poultry in, bird barrier netting keeps birds out.

Grapes
Illustration 2: Anti-bird netting prevents larger pests from getting to fruit while it is ripening.

The Right Moment for Applying Bird Barrier Netting

The best time to cover grape vines with anti-bird net is not long after the bunches begin to form.

Just when that is, of course, depends on climate (in the United States it will vary by USDA growth zone) and the variety of grape.

Some varieties in a lot of grape-growing regions in the northern hemisphere will begin ripening towards the end of August.

That means that the grapes are already good size and turning in color by the beginning of summer–weeks before becoming fully mature.

You want to make sure that you get that bird barrier netting on those grapes before the birds start eating them, not after they have found them. 

Once the grapes are to the birds liking and they have start to eat them, they will be bound and determined to get back to their source of food even after a net is put in place.

They will look for any loose end or loose flap on the ground where they can slip through, and, if any, they will find it.

And, once inside, they will not seem to be able to find their way back out. 

Put the bird netting in place not long after the grape cluster begins to form, just before the berries begin to to color, and keep it there until it is time to pick the grapes.

installation of GUACAMALLAS in the vineyard
Anti-bird netting is easily installed and is an effective method of protecting a crop from bird damage.

How to Install Bird Barrier Netting

Before covering the the grape vines with bird netting, any necessary hedging (thinning of the canopy), cluster removal (removal of clusters to allow for larger remaining clusters), and cluster thinning (removal of individual berries from a cluster to ensure even ripening and/or larger berries on the cluster) should be performe.

Once bird barrier netting is in place the vines and grapes will not be accessible due to its small openings; but, spraying is still possible and sunlight will penetrate, allowing the grapes to fully ripen.

This netting is unlike the trellis netting that gets use for supporting crops, which has large openings, allowing one to reach through it.

If the fruiting zone of the trellising method being use is on the lower wires with no clusters on the top wire (or wires in the case of a wire on each side of the posts), side netting (also call zone netting) can be use.

This bird barrier netting is generally one meter (a bit over a yard) wide and gets place on both sides of the row of grape vines, with the two top edges getting fasten to a top trellis wire and the bottom edges brought together to a wire below the bottom trellising wire(s) just for this purpose and fasten to it, or just simply brought together and fasten to one another.

The fastening can be using string to tie the edges together, or by using fasteners, such as clips made for this purpose.  Some back-yard growers use clothes pins as fasteners. 

Why, When and How to put anti-bird netting over a crop of grapes

Anti-Bird Netting is a bird-friendly alternative to keep them away from berry crops. For the home gardener, growing grapes requires some commitment. Grape vine seedlings, when bought as a potted plant for transplanting, are not cheap, and so it requires financial commitment.

Then there is the waiting. After having be plant, one must wait two to three years in order to be able to start harvesting grapes:  a commitment of time. 

At least grape vines are fairly hardy and, for the most part, grow well; but, in order to bear well, they need to be prune early in the spring every year.

That is a commitment of labor and a commitment to acquiring the expertise to prune them properly. 

After so much investment of time, money, labor, and having learned how to prune, would it not be frustrating if the fruits of your labor were to be eaten by birds before you even got to try some yourself !

To avoid this devastating scenario, grape vines can be cover with bird barrier netting at a certain point of the yearly growth cycle in order to protect them from be consume by pests.

Anti-Bird Netting in grapes crop
GUACAMALLAS bird barrier netting keeps birds from harvesting your grape crop.

Anti-Bird Net : A Problem with a Solution

The problem is that birds will eat grapes before they are fully ripe. 

We wait for them to ripen, but then there are no ripe grapes because the birds pick them before they were ready to be pick

Lots of different kinds of birds like grapes, and, as soon as the grapes start to change color, birds seem to sense the increase in sweetness and go for them. 

It gets especially bad when a brood of little ones is about to leave the nest and grapes are be harvest to feed many mouths.

Acoustical and visual devices, such as bird bangers and scarecrows, are bound to fail, because, with time, birds grow accustomed to them and such devices are no longer a deterrent. Birds go back to eating grapes, in spite of the devices.

The only bird-proof solution is anti-bird net which is a physical barrier that prevents birds from being able to get to the grapes. Just as chicken netting keeps poultry in, bird barrier netting keeps birds out.

Grapes
Illustration 2: Anti-bird netting prevents larger pests from getting to fruit while it is ripening.

The Right Moment for Applying Bird Barrier Netting

The best time to cover grape vines with anti-bird net is not long after the bunches begin to form.

Just when that is, of course, depends on climate (in the United States it will vary by USDA growth zone) and the variety of grape.

Some varieties in a lot of grape-growing regions in the northern hemisphere will begin ripening towards the end of August.

That means that the grapes are already good size and turning in color by the beginning of summer–weeks before becoming fully mature.

You want to make sure that you get that bird barrier netting on those grapes before the birds start eating them, not after they have found them. 

Once the grapes are to the birds liking and they have start to eat them, they will be bound and determined to get back to their source of food even after a net is put in place.

They will look for any loose end or loose flap on the ground where they can slip through, and, if any, they will find it.

And, once inside, they will not seem to be able to find their way back out. 

Put the bird netting in place not long after the grape cluster begins to form, just before the berries begin to to color, and keep it there until it is time to pick the grapes.

installation of GUACAMALLAS in the vineyard
Anti-bird netting is easily installed and is an effective method of protecting a crop from bird damage.

How to Install Bird Barrier Netting

Before covering the the grape vines with bird netting, any necessary hedging (thinning of the canopy), cluster removal (removal of clusters to allow for larger remaining clusters), and cluster thinning (removal of individual berries from a cluster to ensure even ripening and/or larger berries on the cluster) should be performe.

Once bird barrier netting is in place the vines and grapes will not be accessible due to its small openings; but, spraying is still possible and sunlight will penetrate, allowing the grapes to fully ripen.

This netting is unlike the trellis netting that gets use for supporting crops, which has large openings, allowing one to reach through it.

If the fruiting zone of the trellising method being use is on the lower wires with no clusters on the top wire (or wires in the case of a wire on each side of the posts), side netting (also call zone netting) can be use.

This bird barrier netting is generally one meter (a bit over a yard) wide and gets place on both sides of the row of grape vines, with the two top edges getting fasten to a top trellis wire and the bottom edges brought together to a wire below the bottom trellising wire(s) just for this purpose and fasten to it, or just simply brought together and fasten to one another.

The fastening can be using string to tie the edges together, or by using fasteners, such as clips made for this purpose.  Some back-yard growers use clothes pins as fasteners. 

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