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Discussion in 'Grape Growing & Vineyard Forum' started by dwhill40, Aug 16, 2019.
Harvest done here and the buckets are bubbling.
That's tough. The netting enclosure also seems to deter the birds in that they as easily see the fruit compared to the drape over netting where it is more visible when they fly along the row.
The cost per row is about $50 in materials. I used 10ft 3/4" galv pipe for the ends and 5ft 3/4" pvc supports along the row. The top wire runs through a tee at the top of the pvc and ties at the ends around a metal tee on top of the metal post.
The biggest problems I've been having with the enclosure nets are that they will slide around on top of the wire from the wind unless you cinch them down with something like zip ties. And joining the nets is tricky. I sewed to them together this year using fishing line. I'll see how that does.
I used bee netting this year, it has very small holes. So small that I don't think the birds can see through it, so they don't know the grapes are there. Zero grapes lost to birds this year. However, the field rats have been like the plague.
How did your structure holdup and how did sewing them together work out for you?
The sewing held up ok. I thought I might be able to reuse the fishing line but the shifting net caused too much weight to be able to pull it back out in one piece.
The big lesson I learned this season is that the net must be secured to the top wire and have ties straddling the post in order to resist the wind wanting to lift the net off and slide it around the tops of the wires. (In other words, I had a windstorm cause a section to completely detach and blow into the neighboring block!)
I have vineyard bird netting (from Wilson Orchard Supply in Washington state) - it's either 3/4 or maybe even 1" - I've never actually measured. The netting is green with white lines along the length - and a double white line to easily see the "half way" mid-point to give seven feet to a side. But, at 14' wide it can be fastened two ways. One, let it drape to the ground, weigh it down (rocks, 2/4's, etc) to hold it down; or two, envelop the vines by bringing together underneath and tying with "bread clips." The clips are like bread bag holders, but larger: actually about 2" by 1 inch and easy to put on and take off. I've done it both ways but i think envelopment with clips works best for me. And, it withstands high winds although wind can cause the netting to move from the ground if not weighted down adequately.
We have resident birds - robins and flickers are the main problems - that leave the berries alone until veraisen then they go after the colored berries. They admire my owls but only rarely land beside them. (The bobbing head ones are best, but after 3-4 years don't "bob" as much!) An eagle or osprey "kite" on a long pole works best as it "flies" in the wind. But, it causes the smaller birds to hunker down and hide... and they like to hide in the vineyard because the have food nearby.... (Nothing is perfect!)
Robins, finches and flocks of other song birds migrating south, will try to land on the netting near a berry cluster and hang on and peck through the nets. I'm not sure if smaller diameter netting would do much more than give them a better purchase to cling to with their feet. A bird's beak can get through from the outside regardless of the size of the net. I have a lower wire on my rows from which I hang my drip irrigation line and if I don't enclose it inside the netting, I'll have birds land on it and try to reach up to get into the netting (where it is gathered) by pecking at it and pulling to get access.
Every few days one will get caught in netting. When that happens they go ballistic. They don't tear the netting getting out but sometimes get twisted and caught. Then - depending on the age of your children, the neighbors children, or your spouse - you find yourself learning how to capture and release these protected avi-fauna. I can tell you as well, that BB and pellet guns as a solution can work, but are not often - in fact are rarely - approved by any of your advisory team or authority figures....
I've found that ground birds - here, particularly flickers - will keep pushing/pulling at the netting on the ground with their bills until they get the netting to create a small opening which they make larger until they squeeze in. Once in, they are like in flicker heaven because they eat until they are gorged but also can't get out.
Any bird that gets inside compounds the problem. You almost have to open one end and try to allow them to find there own way out without calling their buddies to come in! If you try to haze them toward an opening, they will only panic. If they can't get out, as they panic they fly into the netting until they get caught - on the inside. Then it is even more difficult to get to them to catch and release.
Bird netting done right is a blessing. I think this year is the fifth year (I'd have to scroll through my Missoula Vineyard thread to see when I first stated) I've had netting, and this year has been the most successful. I put it on a little earlier, ensured there were NO openings around any vertical vine or post, clipped together at the bottom every 8-12 inches, double-clipped at potential trouble spots, and I have had no birds inside and none caught outside. Of course, mine is just a backyard vineyard and not acres of grapes - but I think the principles are the same!
For accordance, bee netting is what I need to do...can you share where you got yours, and the performance versus yellow jackets, the bane of my existence?
Accord, that is.
My winegrowing partner ordered the bee netting, so I really don't know where he got it from. There must be a number of places online that carry bee netting?
The netting worked 100% to keep the bees out. I simply draped it over the rows and let the skirts lay on the ground.
And it worked just as well for the birds. The netting is a little opaque and I really don't think they could even see through the netting to the grapes so they had no idea they were there.
However, I think the field rats that descended on my vineyard at night like the plague were very happy under the bee netting because they knew owls and other predators could not see them, so they ravaged my grapes every night without a care in the world.
I have some old time red and bronze scuppernongs that I layered and grew. For the last 3 years the deer have been eating these, I thought it was coons to start with until I put up a security system and caught them walking through my yard. Something's always eating something. Any ideas?
A short fence with a dog inside, or 6 foot fencing is an option.
There are also deer fences made of a white conductive tape, solar powered with batteries in the loop, effectively making an electric fence. Hunters use them to keep deer out of newly planted fields until the crop gets growing.
Gun, some McCormick seasoned tenderizer, some salt, a little pepper, flour, peanut oil, mashed potatoes, a salad. Well, you get the idea.
As for fencing, a TALL mesh fence or a good double electric fence.
They're hard to deal with. I'm going to be planting the vines soon. I've already got a four strand electric fence around the garden but will be adding another single strand about three feet outside of this one and about 30" high. It messes with there depth perception. I may just increase the fence height with some poles leaning outward from the tops of the existing posts with some nylon cord strung around it. Again...the depth perception thing.
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