Bird netting recommendation

Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum

Help Support Winemaking Talk - Winemaking Forum:

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
706
Reaction score
529
I'm dealing with around 1/2 acre so the enclosure idea is growing on me. I harvested this weekend and ended up with 10% of the crop. Rough year.
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.
 

acorad

Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
58
Reaction score
42
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.

Andy
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
706
Reaction score
529
@jgmillr1

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!)
 

OilnH2O

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2006
Messages
1,087
Reaction score
70
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!
 

Maheesh

Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2014
Messages
67
Reaction score
12
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?
 

acorad

Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2011
Messages
58
Reaction score
42
Accord, that is.
Hi Maheesh,

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.
 

gsf77

Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2019
Messages
85
Reaction score
18
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?
 

Johnd

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 10, 2015
Messages
6,992
Reaction score
7,541
Location
South Louisiana
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?
:gb

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.
 

Intheswamp

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 21, 2019
Messages
313
Reaction score
61
Location
South Alabama - The Enchanted Land of Humidity
The usual...
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.
 

wfournier

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
36
Reaction score
12
Location
Massachusetts
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 know this is an old thread but I am curious if you have any further updates on this? I've been considering doing something similar in my backyard style vineyard (64 vines in a roughly 20X110 ft area). Any changes to your support system? How has it held up? The smaller size makes overhead netting a bit easier to get going.

I've also considered bee netting as yellowjackets can be an issue as well as SWD but I think the SWD may be taking advantage of the damaged berries from birds and wasps. My concern with the bee netting is that the smaller openings will start to reduce the light hitting the vines and reduce airflow impacting ripening and maybe creating an environment move favorable for mildew and rot.
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
706
Reaction score
529
I know this is an old thread but I am curious if you have any further updates on this? I've been considering doing something similar in my backyard style vineyard (64 vines in a roughly 20X110 ft area). Any changes to your support system? How has it held up? The smaller size makes overhead netting a bit easier to get going.
I'm still improving the "super-trellis" model to suspend the nets above the vines. However the changes I've made are to (1) space wooden supports every other post rather than relying on a PVC support that can't take sheer forces from wind, (2) use the lighter weight nylon netting rather than the heavier woven style since it can take some tension to prevent sagging, and (3) leave the netting tied to the super-trellis year round while tying together adjacent rows during bird season. I don't have room to store 5 acres worth of netting in the off-season, so leaving it in place solves that problem. However the adjacent row nets must be untied from each other so that snow won't tear them off.
 

wfournier

Member
Joined
Aug 12, 2016
Messages
36
Reaction score
12
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for the update, looking back at the pictures you posted before it looks like you have support wires running the length of the row but not across. Is that correct? You had mentioned that the smaller mesh in the original netting resulted in fewer birds getting caught, is that still the case with the netting you are using now? I have wondered if getting the net further from the grapes alone would be enough to help with that as the birds might be less tempted by fruit that is further away.
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
706
Reaction score
529
Thanks for the update, looking back at the pictures you posted before it looks like you have support wires running the length of the row but not across. Is that correct? You had mentioned that the smaller mesh in the original netting resulted in fewer birds getting caught, is that still the case with the netting you are using now? I have wondered if getting the net further from the grapes alone would be enough to help with that as the birds might be less tempted by fruit that is further away.
I did run wire across the rows at the ends so that the net would be supported there and allow me to tie it to the wire so I could get equipment under the net while it was up.

I've had no further troubles with birds getting their heads stuck in the 3/4 netting with it standing off the vines. It seems that they are less willing to try and fight through the net when the grapes are so much further away.

One other change I made was to bolt 2x4's at the ends of the rows rather than the 3/4" metal pipes. The pipes are not as strong as they seem and tend to permanently bend over if there is sudden tension on the wire from high wind or striking the wire with the tractor. Wood is more flexible and should help keep tension along the wire.
 

Neb Farmer

Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2019
Messages
82
Reaction score
180
Location
Southwest Washington
Here is an interesting method to repell birds from your vineyard!


I saw this a few years ago while I was surfing the net looking for solutions to keep birds out of my grapes. I did not buy this , but if I had a few acres or more of grapevines, I would seriously consider it.
As it is, I use poly netting with about 1/2 inch holes to 'wrap' over the top of each row, fastening the bottom together with clothespins. Works well and the netting seems to hold up to several seasons of deployment and later removal. I can't find a current ad for the type I use, but i found them at the local agri store for about $30 apiece ( approx 10 feet wide, 30 feet long )

Good luck with whatever you use. there is nothing quite like nurturing a crop of winegrapes throughout the year, only to have birds make off with 75% of the crop!
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
706
Reaction score
529
Another option is to use a bird repellent spray. I bought this a season or so ago but didn't end up needing it. I plan to use it on my grapes that I'm not able to net this year. I can't vouch yet for its efficacy. Maybe along with plastic owls it will deter the starling flocks.

 

dwhill40

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2013
Messages
240
Reaction score
68
50x100 nets from Valley orchard supply. Covers three 10 ft spaced rows with enough to pile on the ground. The birds don't even try.
 

Latest posts

Top