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I love growing my summer garden in large containers. It's much easier to control the soil quality, fertilizer, and water. I keep them near my back door for easy reach from the kitchen. My only problem is that birds will not leave them alone. One perfect beautiful tomato after another pecked to pieces.
My solution? I cut strips of low cost (I bought at my local Dollar Tree) silver metallic gift wrap and tied them to to the wooden tee pees that support the tomatoes. The birds seem frightened by them waving brightly in the sun. They have left the whole garden alone ever since.
By amy from MS Delta
This tip doubles as many things. Decoration as well as scarecrow. Take those DVD/CDs you were planning on tossing aside for whatever reason. I used a soldering iron, melted a hole in the edge of the DVD/CD.
If you don't want birds in your garden, especially if you have fruit trees, CDs can provide a bright flash that many birds avoid. Using CDs to keep birds out of your garden is a common and effective practice.
This is a page about protecting fruit trees from birds. While you may enjoy having birds visit your garden, perhaps you draw the line when they feast on your fruit trees.
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
What can I do to keep the birds out of my tomato and onion garden?
By Tracy from CG, AZ
Netting is about the best you can do. (03/22/2010)
By LARRY FLUITT
If you have any old computer CDs you can string them along a piece of string and when they twirl in the sunlight it scares off the birds. My mom used this in her garden and it worked. (03/24/2010)
When I set young tomatoes plants out birds clip them off at the ground. Is there anything I can do to stop this? I've tried pie pans and blow-up snakes.
By Timmy Miller from Morgantown, KY
You could put cages around them and cover the cages with something like nylon net. Around here we use frost cloth to keep (obviously) frost off, but it's light weight enough to leave on until the weather is really hot and by then the plants should be big enough to not interest the birds. (05/06/2009)
If this is happening with small plants, especially if the plant that is snipped off is still lying near the plant, the culprit might be a cutworm rather than birds. To deter cutworms, wrap a piece of light aluminum foil around the stem at the ground level. Or even slightly below the ground.
Harlean from AR (05/08/2009)
You could open both ends of a small can, like a tuna can and plant the tomatoes in the middle. (05/10/2009)
I save all of my toilet paper and paper towel tubes. Whenever I plant tomatoes, peppers, leeks, etc. I slip a tube over each plant and gently push it into the soil. They can be cut to any length needed. It keeps birds and cutworms from severing the stems. They will disintegrate after a while and can be left there to rot or thrown into the compost pile. The plant is usually mature enough by the time they break down that nothing else bothers the stem. This is a wonderful way to recycle, costs nothing, and works great. (05/14/2009)
Someone once suggested that making "streamers" out of cassette tapes you no longer want will help keep the birds away. We tried it, and it actually was a good idea. We pulled out long strips of the tape, and tied 10 or 12 of them together. And in this way made lots of bunches.
If you tie them to the wire tomato cage, the wind blows them, and they flutter and move almost continuously. The tape sort of reflects the sunlight as well. So the birds look elsewhere for tomatoes to eat.
You can also put them onto dowel rods with a thumb tack, and place the dowel rod into the ground close to your plants. Get creative. (05/14/2009)
Stayathomemomof2 from Muscoda, WI
Bird watching can be an enjoyable pastime, unless of course, it means watching them swoop in and make a shambles out of your garden plants. Here are a few things to try:
Netting or Fencing: Use specially designed plastic bird netting (available at garden stores) to drape over the mature plants birds are pecking at. Protect newly planted seeds by planting them in indented furrows and laying a strip of chicken wire over each row. Hold the wire down using small rocks or sticks.
Shade cloths or floating row covers: Shade cloths are usually placed over rows of plants and secured with stakes or supports, to protect them from intense summer heat (usually used on cool season crops). The cloths come in varying "shade percentages", each indicating how much light it allows in. Floating row covers are somewhat similar to shade cloths. They let light and moisture in, while protecting plants from insects, birds, and small animals. They are usually draped over plants or secured with stakes or canes.
Cages: Build a quasi cage using small twigs or branches (or leftover fencing) around individual plants.
Pseudo Predators: Scarecrows & mannequins make good garden sentries, plus they add a whimsical touch to the garden. In order for them to be effective, you need to move them from time to time and change their look. You can also find large inflatable balls with menacing eyes printed on the front at some home and garden centers (or online). Try fake plastic owls or making a faux predatory bird by sticking feathers into a large potato and hanging it from a nearby tree.
Reflective objects: Hang shiny things from nearby trees, stakes, or from the plants themselves. Try CDs, aluminum foil, small ornaments covered in mirrors (think disco balls) or reflective streamers. All of these tend to spin and flutter when the wind blows and bounce light around.
Noisemakers: Things that make noise AND move are also effective deterrents. Cut up an old detergent bottle to make a pinwheel that spins and whirrs on a stake.
Remember, nothing will deter birds forever, so a variety of tactics are usually needed. Pay attention this year to the plants they seem to be favoring. Then next year you will be able to put deterrents in place before they start to look for food.
About The Author: Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services.
I buy some shiny pinwheels and "plant" them with my veggies. As the plants grow, I adjust the pinwheels too, so they are "growing" too. When asked, as I have been often, I just tell them, "I'm growing pinwheels cuz the plants get lonely." *wink*
It definitely works for woodpeckers who confuse a rain downspout with a tree, too. (08/05/2008)
How do I keep birds out of my garden? I have tried fake owls, snakes, and wrapping wire around my tomato plants.
We have a problem with birds in the garden. I was wondering how to keep birds from eating everything when it ripens in the garden?