Protecting Tomatoes from Birds

Category Birds
Eventually most gardeners become tired of sharing their tomatoes with the local bird population. This is a page about protecting tomatoes from birds.


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May 14, 2009

Birds had always beaten me to my ripe tomatoes, forcing me to pick them green. I found a simple yet effective solution; light-weight, red, plastic balls! When a tomato begins to ripen, hang a red ball directly on the plant next to it (it needs to be very light weight). The bird will peck at the bright red ball instead of the tomato. When you pick the tomato, move the red ball near the next tomato to be picked.

If you have a hard time finding the red balls, go to

By rex from Canyon Lake, TX

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June 19, 2009

Birds are eating our tomatoes before they ripen, we have net over the plants, but no help. Is there something else we can do?

Hardiness Zone: 9a


By nancy from Beaumont,TX


June 20, 20090 found this helpful

You could try hanging toy rubber snakes on your plants. They help, but then you or someone else may forget they are there, and have a whole different set of problems!

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June 20, 20091 found this helpful

Are you sure the birds are eating the tomatoes? Could it be bugs and in the birds are coming in to eat the bugs, if it is the birds they may be going after the moisture in the tomatoes, put out several shallow bowls of water and see if that helps.
Or could it be rats.

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July 10, 20120 found this helpful

My BirdBusta clip cannot protect the plants, but it can be used with a paper cup (attached, and used sideways) to hide the tomatoes from birds - and of course, most other fruit. The clips cost about 75 cents each, and can be used many times through a season. I lost 3 tomatoes from about 230 tomatoes last season.

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June 19, 2009
By Ellen Brown


I need help keeping birds from eating our tomato plants, we have tried the scarecrow and owls, also the pie tins. Robins are destroying our plants all day long, up to a dozen a day, mostly the ones close to the ground.

Bobbie from Monroe, MI


One of the best ways to keep birds out of your tomatoes is to slip growing clusters of fruits into old nylon stockings or pantyhose while the tomatoes are still green. Cut the stockings into strips (15 to 20 inches longs) and tie a knot in one end. Then slip each the stockings over a cluster of tomatoes. Don't worry if the tomatoes are still small. The stockings will continue to expand as the tomatoes grow. When the tomatoes are ready for harvest, simply untie or cut open the closed end of the stockings.

Another strategy is to harvest your tomatoes while they are still a greenish-pink color and let them ripen at room temperature. You can also place them in a cardboard box in single layers separated by newspaper (up to 3 layers) and slide them under your bed or store them in a dark closet. It will take them a little longer to ripen this way, but it will also extend your harvest.




Birds Eating Tomato Plants

If you're certain it's the birds eating the tomatoes, Home Depot carries a product called "bird netting". It's a very lightweight black nylon net. My garden has bush bunnies (saw the droppings) that ate my strawberries, so I tented a fine wire mesh fencing over one and some cheesecloth over the other. I'm waiting to see if either works.

I didn't know about birds eating tomatoes. I just re-planted seedlings on my patio, which is a hangout for Scrub jays, Black Phoebes, Mourning Doves, and Robins. I'd love to know if you try the netting and how it works. (07/25/2006)

By D.B.White

Birds Eating Tomato Plants

You might try hanging red Christmas bulbs on plants. The birds will peck them thinking they are the tomatoes. They won't like that kind of tomato and will leave them alone. (07/26/2006)


By southernlady

Birds Eating Tomato Plants

You could also try hanging old CDs on fishing line on the plants or above them. They don't like the reflections from the light on them. (07/26/2006)

By kayray

Birds Eating Tomato Plants

For protection, you can use a BirdBusta(R) clip with a paper cup covering the tomato.
See . (12/10/2006)

By Peter M.

Birds Eating Tomato Plants

I have had some success using a lunch size paper bag. I put the tomato in the bag just as it is turning pink and tighten the bag at the end to hold it on stem. The tomato will continue to vine ripen in the bag. (07/23/2007)

By Charlie

Birds Eating Tomato Plants

Take the tape out of a old VHS or a cassette, put up stakes at the end of the row and one in the middle, and string up the tape over the plants. Birds absolutely will not bother. I read this years ago, and do it every year. After they get some growth on them, you can take the tape down. Birds only like tender young plants. (05/20/2008)


By Jan

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