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10 Smart Ways to Keep Birds Away From Fruit Trees

10 Smart Ways to Keep Birds Away From Fruit Trees

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Growing fruit trees in your yard can be a great experience. Many of the fruit trees that people plant in their yards are incredibly beautiful.

Whether you’re planting a cherry tree or an apple tree, it’s going to be important to care for the tree properly. Sometimes you might have issues with the fruit getting messed up by local birds.

The birds are naturally going to see the tree as a potential source of food. You want to be able to harvest the fruit yourself, though, and this means that the birds are getting in the way of your plans.

Is there a reliable way to keep birds away from fruit trees? Read on to get information about how you can protect your fruit tree from birds.

1 – Place Bird Netting Around the Canopy of the Tree

One of the best things that you can do to protect the tree’s fruit is to place bird netting around the canopy of the tree. Netting is going to make it very difficult for birds to properly approach the tree to try to steal the fruit.

Ideally, you should buy fine-mesh bird netting and then drape it over the top of the tree. You can then gather the netting toward the bottom of the trunk and tie it with plant ties to keep everything in place.

A white, flexible, fine-mesh net is the safest type of netting that can be used for this application according to RSPCA. The white color is more visible to animals, while the fine mesh size is small enough to prevent animals from getting tangled and caught.

There are also smaller mesh bags available to cover each individual fruit. This can be a great alternative to bird netting, depending on the size of your tree.

2 – Place Predator Decoys Near the Tree

Owl Decoy in Tree

Another handy trick is to place predator decoys near the fruit tree. These decoys are going to look realistic enough that they will scare the birds and make them want to stay away.

Some of the best predator decoys that you can buy are owl decoys. You can easily position these decoy owls around the tree and they will do a good job of scaring off many birds.

It is possible that the birds will grow wise to your rouse eventually. You can mitigate this by taking the time to move the decoys around a bit each day.

Doing this will keep the birds guessing about whether the predator decoy is real. You could also try switching out decoys and using multiple different types of predator decoys.

3 – Try Ultrasonic Repellent Devices

Ultrasonic Repellent

Ultrasonic repellent devices are great for keeping animals away from certain spots. You can buy devices such as this that will work to scare away birds, too.

These repellent devices will play noises that the local birds will be able to hear. Generally, the devices are going to play predator noises that will work to scare birds away.

It’s easy to use devices such as this to keep birds from going near your fruit trees. You can easily position these devices right where you need them to be.

Many of them will be solar-powered repellent devices that you can stake into the ground. You won’t need to worry about charging them up, and they’ll just keep on working due to being exposed to sunlight.

The affordable nature of this repellent option makes it worth looking into as well. It could be a good method to pair with some of the other ideas on this list.

4 – Hang Bird Scare Tape Near the Tree

Reflective CDs Hanging Near Berries

Hanging bird scare tape near the tree is going to be another option that you have available to you. Birds get confused when they see shiny things, and you can use this to your advantage.

Bird scare tape is a type of reflective tape that is designed to confuse birds and scare them away from areas. If you can find a convenient spot to hang reflective tape near the fruit tree, then it should help to keep birds off of the tree.

This type of tape is very affordable and you’ll be able to get as much of it as you need without spending much cash. It has been proven to work remarkably well and should be part of your bird deterrent strategy.

If you don’t wish to use reflective tape, then you could actually use other reflective things that you have at home. Some people have hung up aluminum pie tins to try to scare birds off.

Another option is to use old CDs or DVDs that you don’t need any longer. They’re reflective and they’ll be able to get the same results as using the reflective tape that you can purchase from the store.

5 – Get Some Wind Chimes

Wind Chimes in Tree

Do you own any wind chimes that you could use near the fruit trees? Wind chimes actually work really well as a deterrent because they scare the birds in multiple ways.

The chimes will reflect light and this will confuse the birds that try to fly by them. Also, the chimes will make noises which will make the birds wary of getting too close.

If you can hang multiple wind chimes near the fruit trees, then they should be able to do a good job of keeping birds away. This could be used instead of hanging reflective bird scare tape if you own wind chimes.

It would be more expensive to go out and buy wind chimes just to do this, though. Bird scare tape is going to be much more cost-effective if you don’t already own multiple wind chimes.

Wind chimes might look a lot nicer in the yard than dangling strips of tape. That alone could be enough for you to want to buy some pretty wind chimes and hang them up in specific locations near the trees.

6 – Install Small Windmills Near the Trees

Windmill Near Orange and Avocado Trees

Windmills can actually scare birds away because the moving blades will confuse them. You could easily install some small windmills near your fruit trees as a bird deterrent.

It works better than you might think to keep birds from getting too close to your fruit trees. Plus, many people find small windmills to be very aesthetically pleasing overall.

If you decide to do this, then it’s recommended to mount the small windmills on poles. The poles should be somewhere between six and ten feet tall to get the best results.

You can make poles out of simple PVC piping. If you want to keep the birds guessing, then you can move the windmills around from time to time so that they won’t learn how to avoid them.

7 – Paint Eyes on Balloons

Balloon Over Field of Grapes to Scare Birds Away

This idea is sort of similar to the predator decoy idea, but it won’t cost you much money at all. If you have some simple balloons at home, then you can paint eyes on them to scare the birds.

When the birds see the eyes on the balloons, they’re going to assume that the balloons are predator birds. The birds that have been bothering your fruit trees will likely be too scared to come by for a while.

If the birds do get too close to the balloons, then they’ll pop them. The loud noise that occurs when the balloons pop will undoubtedly scare them away.

Anyone who has extra balloons and a bit of paint at home can utilize this idea. It will be a good replacement for the predator decoy idea if you’re short on funds.

8 – Remove Deterrents When Fruit Trees Aren’t Blooming

Young Fruit Trees

You have heard it mentioned that the birds can get used to the deterrent methods that you use. This means that it’s going to be safer to avoid using deterrents when you don’t need to.

If the fruit tree isn’t currently blooming, then there is no need to use any of the deterrent options. You should remove the bird netting, the decoys, and other things that you might be using until it’s time for the tree to bloom and produce fruit.

Doing so will help to keep the birds from getting too used to the deterrent methods that you like to use. It should be possible to put the deterrents up again when it’s the right time and they’ll work very well.

It might seem annoying to have to take the netting off, but it’s truly for the best. You’ll need to be proactive to keep the deterrents working and to protect your fruit tree.

9 – Provide an Alternative Food Source to the Birds

Robin Near Bird Feeder

Have you thought about playing nice with the birds? The birds just want to eat something, and this means that you can try to provide them with an alternative option.

Consider installing bird feeders on your property so that the birds will leave the fruit alone. You can put birdseed in the feeders that will appeal to the local birds that you’ve been having problems with.

Placing multiple feeders on your property can help you to keep the birds from wanting to bother with the fruit tree. This will work especially well if you’re making it difficult for the birds to eat the fruit on the tree by using the deterrent methods above.

It’ll be so much easier for the birds to eat the birdseed in the feeders that they’ll just do that. This is a very good idea that you should consider trying if you want to solve this problem.

The downside will be that you’ll have to keep restocking the feeders regularly. You also might attract more birds to the yard due to having bird feeders, but it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

10 – Install a Bird Bath Away From the Tree Area

Birds Near Bird Bath

Birds also like to be able to use bird baths. You probably already knew that, but you might still be wondering why this will help you with your fruit tree problem.

Well, you can use the bird bath to draw the attention of the birds away from the fruit tree. Sometimes birds will like to eat fruit because it’s juicy and it helps to quench their thirst.

If the birds have easy access to a bird bath where they can get a drink, then that’s going to be appealing to them. Installing a bird bath or two near the places where you installed the feeders will make sense.

When you keep the fruit tree protected with deterrents, it’s going to be so much easier for the birds to use the bird bath than it will be for them to eat the fruit from the tree. They’ll have access to birdseed and water if they just stay away from the fruit tree.

Installing a bird bath isn’t going to be difficult either. You can easily buy a bird bath from a department store or an online retailer.

Final Thoughts

You’ve been given a large number of options to consider when trying to protect a fruit tree from birds. There are plenty of things that you can do that will produce good results.

Using multiple deterrent methods will usually be the best thing to do. If you use only one deterrent method, then birds will get used to things too quickly and they will adapt.

Try placing bird netting around the canopy of the fruit tree to protect it from the birds. You can secure the netting and it’ll make it so that the birds won’t be able to easily access the fruit.

Placing predator decoys near the fruit trees will keep the local birds very scared. They won’t be able to tell that the decoys aren’t real at first, and you can move the decoys around every few days to try to keep the birds guessing.

Ultrasonic repellent devices can play predator noises and keep birds from wanting to come by. You can stake a device such as this into the ground and it’ll stay powered via solar energy.

Hanging reflective bird scare tape is another thing that you can do. Birds get confused by reflective objects, and they’ll be more likely to stay away from areas where reflective things are present.

You can also get good results by trying to be nice to the birds. Provide the birds with bird feeders elsewhere on the property so that they won’t need to try to eat the fruit from your tree.

It’s also wise to install a bird bath so that the birds will have a reliable water source. If you’re able to do all of this, then it’s far more likely that your fruit trees will remain safe.

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Randy Koenders

Monday 3rd of July 2023

We tried netting in the past but it was ruduculously difficult to get the thing over our tree...and even tgen birds would get up under, and sometimes trapoed. Better than all the methods above, this year my wife and I used green fruit bags available on Amazon. We covered most of the cherry clumps by either putting the bag over the end of the branch, or cutting off the bottom of the bag to make a sleeve that could be used to cover bunches further up the branch. Pare away leaves around the clump before bagging. This took us about 2 hours to cover all major clumps. These green bags on the tree deterred many birds, but a few did come in to get the uncovered cherries. We had a bigger harvest than ever before.

Liza Brown

Friday 19th of May 2023

I didn't have problems with birds eating my cherries until I hung a bird feeder nearby just to enjoy the birds...instead I was feeding loud obnoxious blue jays who ate all the food in 24 hours (a few times before I grew wiser) and then ate all my cherries--so that method I don't recommend.

One problem with netting (which I was all set to buy today and have been researching) is that fruit ripens indeterminately and the netting can make it less easy to pick. Plus it can be quite tricky to get it up as well.

I came to this article to see other ideas, so thanks!I like the ideas of wind chimes and then I can move them to other places in my home once the short cherry season is over!


Saturday 7th of January 2023

please no not promote bird netting, this can kill birds when they get tangled in the net.


Friday 13th of January 2023

Hi Cathy, Thanks for bringing this up! I've looked into it and found that it really depends on the type of netting that is used. The finely woven type of flexible netting is considered wildlife friendly, while the netting with wider diamonds is the kind that birds and other animals can get tangled in. I've updated that section of the article to reflect this.