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Hardiness Zone: 9a
CC from Texas
Depending on how high your fig tree is you could also try erecting a teepee over your tree made out of monofilament line. Some studies suggest erecting a pole near the center trunk of your tree and running monofilament line (fishing line) from the top down to stakes on the ground is enough to give birds the impression that there is an impenetrable barrier around the tree. The line is run down from the top of the pole at two-foot increments all around the tree to create a sort of teepee effect. Personally, I think throwing a net over the top of the whole thing seems easier.
I've also seen a garlic spray advertised (www.garlicbarrier.com) that is supposed to be effective at repelling birds, insects and various small critters from fruit and nut trees. I have not personally tried it, but I think it looks interesting. Let me know if you decide to try it and it ends up working. If you can figure out the ratio of garlic to water perhaps you could make or own. Mylar streamers, CDs, eye balloons and cats are other short term measures effective at warding off birds.
If you don't already feed them, I would suggest setting up some feeding and water stations for birds and squirrels in a part of your yard away from your tree-at least during the time your figs are ripening. This might be your best overall strategy. Animals and birds will almost always choose easy food and water over having to work for it, thereby leaving your trees alone.
We have 4 Brown Turkey Fig trees. You can put up netting, that should help. Try to buy the net that won't trap the birds. Put out bird feeders with wild bird seed. You can also make your own bird bath for moisture they are getting from your figs.
We 'used' to own a home with a fig (and pecan) tree and we're always having a race with the 'birds' and 'squirrels'. Of course, they got more fruit than us. So we put out bird food. That worked, but then that attracted more bird varieties and more squirrels. However, we figured out their 'feeding' times - early a.m. - and harvested the figs before their breakfast time.
Thank you for making me smile and remembering our earlier years. Good luck to you.
My grandfather would hang plastic toy snakes on the branches. They scared me silly the first time I seen them. You can also hang disposable pie pans in the trees. Have fun!
I hang pieces of old water hose and foil in our fig tree, it helps. The best way is to pick the figs early in the morning before the birds get all of them, also pick them late in the day. Give the tree a lot of TLC so it will make more figs than you need. I fertilize and water the tree every spring, I freeze about 10 gallons of figs every year from one big tree.
I can't beat the birds to the figs, because they start to eat the ones that are almost ripe, and leave nothing left!