Justice is currently an engineering student and has a passion for doing DIY projects and gardening.
How to Keep Birds Away From Your Vegetable Garden
Birds can be quite the nuisance in the vegetable garden, especially if you’re trying to grow fresh produce that you intend to eat or sell at your local farmer’s market. A hungry bird may be interested in the vegetables in your garden, regardless of where you live.
Pigeons, who are well known for ripping cabbages to the core, are what causes this problem for many of us. Early in the year these birds can even dig up potato plants to get to the tubers.
Thankfully, there are some ways to keep birds out of your vegetable garden, including these ten suggestions that are relatively easy and safe to do in your own backyard!
The most traditional way to keep birds out of the garden is by using a scarecrow. You can make your own or purchase one, and they can be very effective. Be sure to place the scarecrow in a strategic location, such as near the plants that birds are most likely to go after. You may need to move it around from time to time to keep the birds away.
For the best results, choose a scarecrow that is bright and highly visible. Red, orange, and yellow are all good colors to use.
Also, when purchasing a scarecrow ensure that you choose one with an open face so that any approaching animal will see the face and not just hair hanging down. Scarecrows don't work well for deterring birds because they have limited visibility due to the dangling strips of cloth. In addition, if it's windy, birds may still come into contact with the hanging scarecrow.
A simple solution to keep birds away from your garden is to use netting. You can purchase netting at most hardware or home improvement stores. Be sure to choose a heavy-duty option that will withstand the elements and last for several seasons.
To install, simply drape the netting over your plants, securing it to the ground with stakes if necessary. You may need to adjust the netting as your plants grow, but this is a relatively easy and low-maintenance solution.
Even if you’ve taken precautions to keep out birds with netting, it’s still a good idea to spread birdseed around your garden so they’ll go elsewhere for their meals. The majority of birds are not very smart and can easily be lured away by food.
You should also keep your trash covered as an added precaution against unwelcome visitors. Removing any seeds, shells or other food sources you may have lying around outside will reduce temptation as well.
3) Scent Repellent
Birds have a strong sense of smell, so using a scent repellent can be an effective way to keep them out of your garden. You can make your own repellent by mixing together equal parts water and vinegar, or you can purchase a commercial product. Apply the repellent around the perimeter of your garden, and be sure to reapply after it rains.
For some plants, such as grapes, consider applying repellent every few days during harvest season. When used sparingly and appropriately, this technique is one of the most effective ways to keep birds away from your vegetable garden.
It's important not to over-apply repellents, because they could irritate the sensitive skin on your face or hands. Be careful not to use any products that contain toxic chemicals near children and pets. The goal is to discourage birds from coming into contact with the repellent while they are in the air or when they touch down on a plant (e.g., if they are hunting for food). The best time for application is early morning or late evening when temperatures are cool and humidity levels are low.
4) Garden Fleece
One way to keep birds from destroying your crops is by using garden fleece. Fleece is a lightweight fabric that you can lay over your plants to protect them from the weather and pests. It's easy to find at any gardening store, and it's an effective way to keep your plants safe.
The key to using garden fleece is finding a way to secure it around your plants. It’s also important not to use fleece that’s meant for outdoor use. Outdoor fleece is made with a stronger material that can protect plants from animals and bugs, but indoor fleece won’t be able to hold up against creatures that try to get at your crops.
5) CDs & Mirrors
If you're looking for a low-cost way to keep birds out of your garden, try using CDs or mirrors. Hang them from string or wire around the perimeter of your garden, and the reflecting light will keep birds from entering. You can also move them around occasionally to keep the birds guessing. CDs are inexpensive and easy to find. Mirrors work too but they may cost more than CDs depending on where you purchase them.
6) Chicken Wire
Another way to keep birds out of your garden is to cover the ground with chicken wire. This will prevent them from being able to scratch and dig for bugs and seeds. You'll need to make sure the chicken wire is securely fastened to the ground so that the birds can't just lift it up and get underneath. Another thing to keep in mind is that chicken wire can rust over time, so you may need to replace it every few years.
Be sure to attach some vertical supports near the edges of the ground cover so they don't sag down onto the plants when they are wet. Make sure you have at least four inches between where the top of the plants are and where you place your chicken wire on top of them.
7) Garden Spinners
Hang a few garden spinners in strategic locations around your vegetable garden. The shiny, colorful objects will reflect light and movement, which will scare birds away. Plus, they'll add a decorative touch to your garden. Place them 10-12 feet apart, starting about 10 feet up so the bird can see it.
Birds don't like moving surfaces so a breeze or other kind of wind blowing across the spinning surface might do the trick. If you have trees near your garden, move these overhanging branches out of the way; this is another possible place for birds to roost. You can also hang plastic owl-shaped figures near trees or bushes where you suspect birds are nesting or roosting
8) Motion-Activated Sprinklers
These devices will scare away birds with a sudden burst of water when they detect movement. Motion-activated sprinklers are an effective way to keep birds out of your garden, and they can also be used to deter other pests like deer, rabbits, and squirrels.
They work by triggering the sprinkler to release a spray of water when it detects motion, scaring away any nearby birds that might otherwise eat your vegetables. Motion-activated sprinklers may not be enough for some persistent animals that need repeated stimuli before moving on but for many small animals it is enough as one burst of water will usually do the trick.
One way to keep birds out of your garden is to hang windchimes around the perimeter. The chimes will scare the birds away and also add a touch of whimsy to your garden. You can find windchimes at most home and garden stores, or you can make your own out of recycled materials.
How to make your own windchime:
- Cut an old CD into small discs, paint them in different colors, and attach them together with wire to create two hanging strands.
- Tie these together with twine so they form one long strand, then attach a fishing line on each end for hanging.
- If you want to use more than one color of disc for this project, just cut up some colored cardstock paper into circles that are about the same size as CDs and tape them onto CDs before painting.
- Make sure not to overlap the discs when taping them on because overlapping discs will cause the chime to sound differently.
- When it's time to hang your homemade windchimes, tie both strings together and place one string inside a tube-shaped piece of PVC pipe.
- Slip another string through the other end of the pipe until it touches ground, then tie it securely in place.
- Hang the free end of the second string over a tree branch or fence post, making sure to position it six feet off the ground.
Windchimes should be hung every fifteen feet in order to provide maximum protection against birds. However, if there are large trees in the area, all areas near trees should have at least one windchime.
10) Toy Predators
One way to keep birds out of your garden is to put up toy predators. This can be anything from a fake owl or hawk to an inflatable snake. The idea is that the bird will see the predator and think twice about entering the area. As with any other method, it's important to figure out what type of predator has been visiting your vegetable garden, because different species react differently. For example, an owl might scare off smaller birds like robins, but would not deter geese and turkeys.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Justice Ndlovu