- How to Keep Birds From Eating Your Berries
- How to make your berries bird-resistant on the cheap
- Other ways to put reflection (and recycling) to work for you in the garden
- Blueberry Plant Protection: How To Protect Blueberry Plants From Birds
- How to Protect Blueberry Plants from Birds
- Scare Away Pest Birds
- Refresh Your Landscape
- Have the Birds Professionally Removed
- Let Avian Enterprises Help Your Blueberries
- Blueberry Damage Prevention
- Prevent Blueberry Crop Damage
- Protect Blueberries from Bird Damage
- Electronic Bird Control
- Other Crops We Protect
- Which Bird Gard Should I Buy?
- Feed Fruit and Berries
- What is the Nutritional Value of Blueberries for your Parrot?
- In what forms can my Parrot eat Blueberries?
- Can Parrots eat dried blueberries?
- What about blueberry juice?
- How often can your feed your Parrot Blueberries?
- Is there such a thing as too much blueberries?
- Are there pesticides in blueberries?
- How to serve Blueberries to your parrot – without the mess
- Do you need to cut blueberries for your parrots?
- What about the mess?
- Growing Blueberries
- Understand Critical Temperatures for Blueberry Plants
- Use Row Covers and Nursery Foam to Combat the Cold
- Invest in Wind Machines to Properly Protect Plants
- Turn to Sprinkler Irrigation for Increased Protection
- Don’t Forget to Protect Blueberry Crops from Birds with Avian Control!
How to Keep Birds From Eating Your Berries
By Erin Huffstetler | 04/05/2018 |
This post may contain affiliate links. View our disclosure.
Sharing your berry harvest with the birds wouldn’t be so bad, if they were actually willing to share. But their idea of sharing seems to entail them taking a bite out of every ripe berry and leaving you with the remains. If you’re tired of battling the birds for your berries, here are some cheap and easy things that you can do to protect them. These tips will work for strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and any other berries that you’re growing in your garden.
Trick Birds With Fake Fruit
Have a strawberry patch to protect? Paint a bunch of rocks to look like strawberries. Then, place them around your plants about a month before you expect them to fruit. Once the birds discover the berries are fakes, they’ll (hopefully) dismiss your patch as a source of food long before your real strawberries come in.
Use Reflective Materials to Deter Birds
Scare birds away from your berry vines and bushes by placing reflective materials on or around your plants. When they see (and hear) movement, it’ll scare them away from your garden.
Use a commercial product, like scare tape, which is essentially a roll of non-sticky, double-sided, holographic streamers that you cut and tie to trees or stakes.
Or create a homemade version of scare tape by cutting chip bags into ribbons. The shiny aluminum on the inside of the bags will act as the perfect light reflector.
Reflective materials, like pinwheels, CDs and pie plates, can also be used as a deterrent. Since birds tend to wise up to this trick eventually, don’t put your reflectors out until your berries start to ripen. Then, be sure to put them away as soon as you’re done harvesting. Changing the location of your reflectors throughout the harvest season will also help to maintain their efficacy.
Scare Birds Off With Fake Predators
Some people use decoy owls to keep birds off their berries. A cheaper solution is to scatter fake snakes throughout your garden. Pick up several at the dollar store. Then, place them around your garden. As with the reflectors, it’s best to limit their use to harvest season, so they remain effective. Be sure to let your family know about your bird-deterrent strategy, so you don’t accidentally scare them, too.
If you have a large number of berries to protect, consider using a scarecrow instead. Give him a scarf, or add a pinwheel to his hand to create movement.
Plant More Than You Need
If you don’t want to go to heroic efforts to protect your berries, the simplest solution may be to plant extra, so it won’t be a big deal if the birds get some of your harvest.
Keep Birds Out with Netting
As a last resort, consider using netting to protect your berries from birds. This is the most expensive option on the list, and it also happens to be the most annoying to implement. When you wrap berry bushes, you have to be careful to leave space between the bush and the net, otherwise the birds will just peck at berries through the netting. To net a strawberry patch, you have to build some sort of row cover. This requires time and materials, and can be cumbersome to lift when picking berries. Plus, you have to have a place to store your covers during the off season.
But, perhaps the biggest problem with netting is that it just doesn’t work all that well. No matter how tightly you think you’ve wrapped your berries, birds will find their way in. Mockingbirds are notorious for this. And it’s pretty much inevitable that birds, snakes and small animals will get tangled in your nets, resulting in injury or death.
If you still think nets are your best option, be sure to use netting with a wide enough weave for bees and other pollinators to get through, otherwise you won’t have any fruit to protect.
Don’t Wait Too Long to Protect Your Berries
Birds don’t wait for berries to be perfectly ripe, like we do, so you need to put your deterrent measures in place as soon as your berries start to ripen.
More Help With Birds and Other Garden Pests
How to make your berries bird-resistant on the cheap
- Cut each loop open to make a strip. We’re interested in the inside reflective surface of the bag, which will deter the birds.
- Tie each strip around a stake.
- Place stakes in the ground near your plants. The streamers will help prevent birds from eating your strawberries, tomatoes, and other garden produce.
And there you have it. Those birds will be so annoyed by those reflective streamers fluttering in the breeze, that they’ll go eat your neighbor’s strawberries instead.
Other ways to put reflection (and recycling) to work for you in the garden
- Discarded or scratched CDs work great to hang in and around fruits and fruit trees to deter birds. Save the ones that come in junk mail or pick up some one-hit wonders at a yard sale.
- Make a “wind chime” out of old tin cans, lids, and utensils to hang in your garden. Not only will the reflective surfaces deter birds, but the noise the items make will also act as a deterrent.
What other natural methods have you used to keep birds away from your strawberry patch? I’d love to learn new techniques — share them below in the comments.
I walk over to the allotment, intending to bodge my shed roof back together. If my shed roof was a metaphor for my life – that is, scraps of plastic, a few sheets of corrugated iron sheeting secured by broken limbs from trees, and under all that a very large hole and rotten timber – then I’d be very broken and badly patched. Thankfully, it is just a shed roof. I can choose to look at it as a metaphor, or I can accept that repairing it hasn’t been much of a priority, and just resecure the corruguated iron sheets with frozen fingers: winter has danced across the garden.
Well, my fruit cage is in a similar state to my shed roof. I pull apart the broken timber and remove the netting. This is the first rule of fruit cages (and one that I have singularly failed to follow, much like choosing to fix the shed roof in summer, rather than in the depths of winter): never leave the netting on over winter. If the wind doesn’t whip it to shreds, snow will weigh it down until the frame breaks; plus, it’s also important that the fruit gets a little wild, cageless time.
Without the faff of netting, the idea is that you will then get on with weeding, and after you do that, the birds can move in for a welcome winter feast. They will eat any leftover fruit that may be rotting (this is particularly important with grapes, because rotting fruit can cause diseases to spread very quickly) and dig around in the soil for larvae and eggs. When they have had their fill and you have finished weeding, you can then mulch.
Do this on warmer days, though; you don’t want to trap frozen soil under a bed of mulch, as it will take longer to warm up in spring. A layer of well-rotted homemade compost, bark mulch or leafmould will do wonders for this year’s fruit, by adding new organic material to the soil food web (all the good guys from microbes to worms that make the soil magical and help plants feed). It will also suppress weed seeds from germinating in spring and protect the top layer of soil from eroding in the worst of what winter has left in store for us.
Not everyone has a fruit cage, of course, but much the same principles apply to plants in pots and borders, too. Get on top of the weeding now, encourage the birds to come in – put feeders up around fruit bushes, so they can have a good rummage – and mulch when the weather allows. Do this, and your fruit will largely look after itself until you need to start worrying about caging it again later in the year, to protect your bounty.
Some of the best pollinators for fruit bushes are fat bumblebee workers, yet I’ve seen many a confused bee eyeing up its next meal only to realise that it is not able to get anywhere close because the netting is too fine. So, if you are thinking of investing in netting for your precious fruit, make sure the mesh is wide enough for pollinators to get in and out. Soft black fruit netting is the best: it is not cheap, but it will last for years and it is flexible, which means it will stretch over odd-shaped spaces, and is easy to repair.
Blueberry Plant Protection: How To Protect Blueberry Plants From Birds
If you grow blueberries in your yard, chances are you have had to battle the birds to get your share of the bounty. You may have even lost the battle and thrown in the towel. It’s time to take back your blueberry bushes by protecting the blueberry plants from the birds. The question is how to protect blueberry plants from birds? Read on to find out several ways to protect blueberries from birds.
How to Protect Blueberry Plants from Birds
Blueberry plant protection may involve more than one tactic. Birds, like most any other creature, become accustomed to things over time, so what may initially work suddenly ceases to deter them within a couple of weeks. So blueberry plant protection may become an ongoing, ceaseless process. That is, of course, unless you try exclusion. Exclusion just means you’re going to prevent the birds from entering the blueberry patch by means of netting.
Protecting blueberry plants from birds with netting can be as simple as draping netting over the bushes or building an actual reverse aviary. If you are going to drape the netting directly over the bushes, wait until after the shrubs have bloomed and the fruit is forming. If you do it when the bush is in bloom, you’re in danger of damaging them and with no flowers you get no fruit.
Carefully drape the netting over the bush or stretch of bushes and tuck the edges around all of the fruit. Cover the plant to the ground if possible. This will keep the birds from hopping under the netting and getting at the fruit that way. As far as the netting goes, that’s all there is to it. However, there is a possibility that some little bird might get tangled in the netting, so keep an eye on it.
Otherwise, to create a reverse aviary, use 7-foot bamboo poles or the like to create a structure that surrounds the blueberries and then cover that with netting. Staple the net into place. You could also use hoops to build a tunnel covered with netting if you have a long line of berries or purchase a crop cage or bird control pop-up net that fits over raised beds.
There are other ways to protect blueberries from birds besides netting. There are chemical repellents that are said to keep the birds away, but it sounds like the results are short term – about 3 days post application. Commercial growers also apply sugar syrup to blueberry shrubs. The downside of this is that while it does indeed repel birds, it increases the incidence of Japanese beetles and yellow jackets.
Audio scare tactics are another way to dissuade the birds. Cannons, gunfire, firecrackers, taped noises, radios, you name it, have all been tried. The call of hawks does seem to work for a time but blueberries ripen over such a long period, the birds eventually get used to the sound and go back to gorging on the berries. A combination of audio and visual scare tactics seems to work the best. An example of this is an owl model that is powered by a solar cell, and shrieks at intervals.
Some people try lighting, such as strobe lighting, to deter the birds. There are also other products available that claim to keep the birds from crops. Most of them are just that, claims. The best way to keep the birds from the blueberries is via exclusion with netting or by trial and error with the combination of visual and audio scare tactics combined with chemical deterrents.
- Frighten pest birds
- Mix up your landscape
- Call a professional
As a farmer, you know there are many potential threats to your blueberries. From drastic temperature changes to animals and pest birds, it’s important to know how to protect your blueberries. When it comes to protecting blueberries from birds, it pays to have a plan in place. As agricultural methods continue to evolve and improve, so do your options for pest control.
Scare Away Pest Birds
From high pitched alarms to the old-fashioned scarecrow, there are many methods that can be used to keep birds away. Place the objects around your blueberries to stop birds from entering the premises. Make sure to move them around so the birds don’t get used to their placement. Although these may work temporarily, it’s likely that the birds will eventually return.
Refresh Your Landscape
Your property may be the cause of your bird problems. Mix up the area around your blueberries to make it unpleasing to the birds. Here are a few changes to try:
- If you have any open water it needs to be filled in
- Don’t leave any food around your property for the pests to eat
- Anywhere you think would make a good nesting spot should be covered to keep birds out
Tip: These tactics may stop birds from living on your land, but it won’t keep them from making a mess everywhere.
Have the Birds Professionally Removed
If all else fails, you can try having the birds removed by a professional. Hire a Wildlife Expert to come out and see your bird situation. They can set traps for all the birds. Once caught the wildlife expert can take the birds somewhere new and release them. Keep in mind, the birds will still have the ability to return to your blueberry bushes.
Let Avian Enterprises Help Your Blueberries
If you’re tired of using products and tactics that don’t last, try Avian Control, a product of Avian Enterprises. It works by teaching birds to steer clear of your blueberries. It is long-lasting, easy-to-use and costs as low as $12.50 per acre. Contact us at 888.868.1982 to learn more about how you can benefit from Avian Control.
Protecting Blueberries From BirdsHave Avian Enterprises help you keep the pest birds off of your precious blueberries. Brand: Avian Enterprises Protecting Blueberries From Birds
Blueberry Damage Prevention
Call us toll-free at 888-332-2328
“Most years we practically write off the crop in the area. This year with Bird Gard there was absolutely no bird damage at all!”
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Prevent Blueberry Crop Damage
According to Cornell University, some studies have estimated up to 30% damage to commercial blueberry crops due to pest birds. Berries in general, are a great food source for birds and consumption increases during dry seasons. There are three types of preventable bird damage; whole berry removal, fruit knocked of bushes, and holes pecked in attached fruit. Smaller pest birds will puncture the fruit which is difficult to detect during harvest, leaving them open to infection and jeopardizing pack quality. Call for a free consultation from our crop protection experts. 888.332.2328
Protect Blueberries from Bird Damage
Starlings, robins, crows, cedar waxwings, and many other pest birds love blueberries. If you have an infestation of one or a few of these species of birds at your blueberry farm, you could be losing a substantial portion of your blueberry crop. A Bird Gard system will repel all pest birds from your blueberry crop by offering maximum coverage, and provide sound protection beyond the blueberry field edges.
Electronic Bird Control
Bird Gard units are designed to effectively and permanently remove birds from your blueberry crop. Our bird repellent technology uses a built-in microprocessor in our electronic bird control units continually randomizes the order the sounds play, the time interval between sounds and the relative pitch of each bird sound to give the impression many birds are in distress in the Bird Gard protected area. This random technology prevents birds from becoming habituated and keeps birds out of your blueberry crop all the way through harvest.
Other Crops We Protect
Which Bird Gard Should I Buy?
Bird Gard has a variety of products to repel birds from one acre to thousands of acres. Choosing the right one depends on a number of factors. to see a comparison of all Bird Gard units or you can also contact a live human using the information below.
Call us toll-free at 888-332-2328 M-F 7:30 AM – 4:00 PM Pacific Time.
You can also email your questions using our Contact Form.
Feed Fruit and Berries
Many birds, such as catbirds, mockingbirds and robins, eat fruit and berries all summer long, while most other birds have a diet of insects and seeds. But strangely, lots of seed and insect eaters as well, start to crave a diet of fruit in preparation for migration.
Why do birds crave fruit? It seems that while the birds are storing lots of fat reserves for their long trip, a diet of fruit, with it’s concentrated amount of antioxidants, might also be needed to reduce the stress and inflammation that birds experience during their migration. Birds such as sparrows, thrushes and warblers that strictly eat seeds during the summer are some of the birds that suddenly switch to a fruit diet in the fall. A single bird can consume up to three times its weight in fruit in a single day! These birds are not accustomed to clinging to fruit and berry bushes and their beaks are not designed to eat fruit, so they can appear rather comical while they’re gathering these foods!
What can you do to help birds during fall migration? Offering nourishing fruits and berries, especially during late summer and fall months is one way you can help our migrating birds. Fruits and berries to offer can be apples, banana slices, blueberries, cherries, pears, strawberries and/or watermelon pieces, to name just a few. All of these fruits can be served on a platform feeder or a specific fruit feeder, often designed to keep the food fresh while giving birds easy access to the food.
And planting fruit and berry bushes for the birds is extremely helpful also. Apple trees, crabapple trees, blueberry bushes, chokecherries, winterberry, etc. all can help birds prior to their migration, as well as provide important nourishment during their stopovers on their way south. Just remember to be sure to plant native species! This way you can make sure you are not introducing a non-native, invasive plant to your area. Also, many non-native fruits and berries do not provide the correct degree of sugars, antioxidants, etc. that our native birds have adapted to.
In the video below, the type of tree is not identified, but it may be a black cherry tree, which are common in North America. It’s very obvious that the cardinals and other birds on the tree are ravenous for its berries!
Here’s a quick summary:
- Catbirds, mockingbirds and robins eat fruit all summer long
- Sparrows, thrushes and warblers only eat fruit during fall migration
- Offer migrating birds berries and fruits during the late summer and fall months
- Offer fruit like apples, banana slices, blueberries, cherries, pears, strawberries and watermelon pieces
- Fruit can be served in any platform feeder (deck, ground or hanging feeders)
- Plant native fruit trees and plants for the correct amount of sugars and antioxidants our native birds have adapted to
- For North America, these fruit trees include apple trees, crabapple trees, blueberry bushes, chokecherries, winterberry, etc.
Helping fruit-loving birds during fall migration is easy and may attract more birds with a little extra planning…Happy Birding!
You have probably heard before that fresh fruits and vegetables are essential to your parrot’s diet. This is very true. In fact, fresh fruits and vegetables should account for between 20 to 25 percent of your parrot’s daily diet. There are some fruits and vegetables that can be harmful, or even toxic, to your parrot.
Knowing and understanding which fruits and vegetables your parrot can or cannot have is essential in keeping both their health and their beauty. Which brings us to a commonly asked question about a parrot’s diet – can parrots eat blueberries?
The simple answer to this question is yes. Parrots can absolutely eat blueberries. In fact, blueberries are one of the healthiest fruits you can give to your bird. Like all fruit, however, blueberries need to be given in moderation and should never account as a main meal source. They should always be served with a variety of other fresh fruits, as well as vegetables, seeds, and dry bird food.
That’s the simple answer, but the question “can parrots eat blueberries” can also lead to a variety of other questions. What is the nutritional value of blueberries for your parrot? Is it okay to feed your parrot dried blueberries? Are there pesticides in blueberries that you need to worry about? Do blueberries need to be peeled before serving them to your parrot? And how can you prevent blueberries from becoming a mess all over your floor? Today we will answer all of these questions and more, so let’s not waste another minute:
What is the Nutritional Value of Blueberries for your Parrot?
Blueberries are often labeled as a “superfood” because they are so low in calories, yet so nutritious at the same time.
They make an excellent and healthy treat choice for humans, and the same is true for parrots.
But exactly what nutrients is your parrot getting when they eat blueberries, and what are the benefits?
Vitamin C is essential for your parrots overall health, and is a vitamin that they need to intake daily. This nutrient does numerous things for your parrot including boosting its immune system, washing heavy metals from the body, and aiding in healing. Without the proper amount of Vitamin C, you may start to see your parrot engaging in self destructive behaviors like biting at, or even pulling out, their feathers.
Vitamin B6 is a nutrient that helps to turn food into energy. Not only that, but it also helps to promote brain development and prevent diseases of the heart.
Vitamin A is essential in your parrot’s diet for numerous reasons. Firstly, it helps to promote growth and development. It can also help to boost the immune system, promote good vision, and boost yellow and red pigmentations. Unfortunately, Vitamin A is the most commonly deficient nutrient in a parrot’s diet, but blueberries are an excellent source for a healthy treat.
Potassium is both a mineral and an electrolyte that, like other nutrients, does many things for your parrot’s overall health. Not only does potassium help to reduce the risk of heart disease, but it can also help to promote muscle mass.
Magnesium is an extremely important mineral that plays a role in calcium processing, as well as the promotion of strong bones and beaks. Magnesium is also essential for healthy skin and feathers.
Free radicals (unstable molecules that can damage cells) are not only a problem for people, but also a problem for parrots.
In fact, free radical damage has been linked to numerous diseases and degenerative conditions by causing irreversible damage to the cells within the body.
Maintaining a diet that is high in antioxidants is one of the best ways to help your parrot combat against free radicals.
Blueberries have some of the highest levels of antioxidants of all fruits and vegetables, and can therefore be an excellent addition to your parrot’s diet.
In what forms can my Parrot eat Blueberries?
Now that we know just how powerful and healthy blueberries can be, let’s talk about some different forms of blueberries.
Can Parrots eat dried blueberries?
The answer to this question is yes. With that being said, fresh blueberries (or fresh fruit in general) is always recommended over dried fruit.
Why? Because while there is no problem in feeding your parrot dried fruit, it’s important to remember that in the drying process, fruit shrinks.
This means that in order to fulfill your parrots required portion, they will need more of it. And as healthy as blueberries are, they are also high in sugar content.
So when you feed your parrot dried blueberries, they will need a larger portion, which also means more calories and a higher sugar intake.
In return, dried fruit should be limited, and fresh blueberries are always the better choice.
What about blueberry juice?
Yes! Your parrot can have blueberry juice too.
With that being said, many juices are loaded with extra sugar, so you want to make sure you are providing them with an organic blueberry juice.
Alternatively, you can make your own blueberry juice at home, though this requires a lot of blueberries.
Once the juice is made (or bought), you can give it your parrot as a stand-alone drink, or you can mix it in with their next meal to add some flavor.
How often can your feed your Parrot Blueberries?
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, fresh fruits and vegetables should account for 20 to 25 percent of your parrot’s daily intake.
With that being said, blueberries should not account for this full portion.
Rather, fruits and vegetables should be mixed and matched to ensure that your parrot is receiving the different types of nutrients offered by each fruit.
As a general recommendation, you should give your parrot fresh blueberries once per day, 2-3 times per week.
In between they can have other healthy snacks like apples, oranges, or bananas.
Is there such a thing as too much blueberries?
Unfortunately, yes. Regardless of how much your parrot loves blueberries, they need to be limited in how much they have.
Firstly, if your bird is eating too many blueberries, they may not have room in their stomach for anything else, and this can prevent them from getting a balanced and nutritious diet.
There is another reason as to why you can feed your parrot too many blueberries as well.
Remember the term “free radical” that we used earlier? Too many free radicals can wreak havoc on your parrots system, but not enough of them can cause problems too.
In fact, your parrots system requires a certain amount of free radicals to keep the immune system functioning properly.
By loading your parrot up on an excessive amount of antioxidants, you can actually cause too much free radical damage, in turn causing your parrot’s immune system to slow down.
Are there pesticides in blueberries?
Pesticides are a type of chemical used by farmers to help keep animals, pests, and insects away from their crops.
Unfortunately, these pesticides are used on many fruits, and can be very toxic and harmful to birds.
In the wild, birds that intake pesticides can suffer from dire consequences.
At home, pesticides are not as much of a concern because we can wash our fruits. With that being said, no matter how much we wash, there are still usually trace amounts of pesticides within the skins.
So what about blueberries? Are pesticides something that you need to be concerned about?
Unfortunately, yes. Like many fruits, pesticides are used on blueberries. The bad news is that, unlike apples, blueberries are very small, and removing pesticides is not as easy as peeling off the skin.
So what can you do to ensure that your parrot isn’t intaking pesticides when they eat blueberries?
The best solution to this problem is to buy organic.
Organic blueberries are not treated with any form of chemical, and are therefore not a cause of alarm for your feathered friend.
If you find that organic blueberries are too expensive, consider offering them as an occasional treat as opposed to a regular part of their diet.
How to serve Blueberries to your parrot – without the mess
You should only be feeding your parrot organic blueberries. In return, there is no need to peel them before feeding your bird.
Even though your blueberries are organic, they should still be washed. You never know what type of germs or bacteria they picked up on their trip to the grocery store, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Do you need to cut blueberries for your parrots?
No. Blueberries are small enough that most parrots can eat them just fine.
With that being said, if you have a smaller bird and are concerned about the blueberry being a choking hazard, you can cut it in half first.
Blueberries can be served in a bowl, or can be served one by one into the claw of your parrot.
What about the mess?
It’s no secret that parrots are messy eaters, and blueberries are a messy food.
When you combine the two, you are asking for disaster. Don’t fool yourself – when you feed your parrot blueberries, there will be a mess.
To save your floors and carpets, place your bird in its cage and move the cage away from any furniture or carpets before feeding them blueberries.
Alternatively, you can chop the blueberries into smaller pieces. This will not eliminate the mess, but it will help to reduce it.
In conclusion, yes, parrots can have blueberries – just be sure that they are organic, given in moderation, and served away from all furniture and carpet!
TINO CARNEVALE: Blueberries would have to be my favourite fruit of all time and today I’m out at mum and dad’s place to plant them a crop.
Not only is their fruit absolutely divine, they’re a very attractive shrub too. Now I’m evenly spacing them out on this raised bed here so I can create an edible hedge.
I’ve got high bush varieties. They get to about a metre and a half to two metres tall and I’m planting three different varieties – the Brigitta, the Blue Rose and the Denise and they’ll all crop at different times meaning my harvest period will be extended.
While blueberries are relatively easy plants to grow, a lot of people struggle with them. As always, the answer is in the soil.
Blueberries require good drainage, so I’ve mounded up this bed so gravity can work for me. I’ve going to dig the hole about twice the size of the pot and because they come from the forests of North America, they like a humus-rich soil, so I’m going to add a bit of compost to the mix and just stir it through.
Another soil requirement of blueberries is a low pH – around 4 to 5.5. Now this beautiful loam here is a neutral pH, so to lower it, I’m going to use spent coffee grounds and pine needles. Now the good thing about pine needles is they mimic the plant’s natural environment. You can use sulphur or sphagnum moss for this, but I like these materials cause they’re free.
Now blueberries can be quite expensive, so I’m going to show you a way of propagating from one plant to make many plants. It’s a technique called mound layering.
Start off by cutting branches back to two or three buds from the ground and then cover the whole plant with rich compost. Over the next few months as new shoots break the surface, you’ll need to keep adding to it.
After about 6 to 9 months, you can scrape this mound back and those shoots would have formed roots down their stem. You can cut them off and plant them in the ground, giving you a whole new crop. Now remember, if you treat your blueberries well, you’ll get the best tasting berries in the universe.
COSTA GEORGIADIS: Now when most of us think of fruit, we tend to think of the staples – apples, oranges, bananas, but there’s a whole world of native fruit out there that’s equally delicious, easily grown, but often overlooked. Let’s see what Angus has got in store for us.
- Learn about harmful temperatures
- Cover up bushes
- Use wind machines
- Try sprinkler irrigation
- Trust Avian Control
Early spring is the prime time for growing and cultivating blueberry plants and bushes, but it is also a reminder that the last hints of winter could pop up at any time. Sudden drops in temperature are bad news for blueberry growers, as frost can severely damage blueberry bushes and buds. Learn about five helpful tips and tricks for blueberry bush frost protection in the months of spring to start your harvest at its best.
RELATED: How to Grow Berries in the Backyard
Understand Critical Temperatures for Blueberry Plants
One of the first steps to protecting blueberry bushes from frost is to understand the temperatures at which they can be damaged or destroyed. The extent of frost damage depends on how mature your blueberry plants are. The more mature the blueberry plant, the more easily the fruit can be damaged by cold.
- Unopened blueberry buds are damaged at 21°F
- Blueberry buds that have ruptured are damaged at 25°F
- Fully opened flowers are damaged at 29°F
- Fully formed blueberries are damaged at 30°F
Use Row Covers and Nursery Foam to Combat the Cold
In the event of a frost, nursery foam or floating row covers can help to insulate blueberry bushes and crops. When installed properly, they can potentially offer up to 2°-3° of additional protection to the plants. When a row of nursery foam is double-layered, the heat gathered around the blueberry plants can offer up to 10° of additional protection. Row covers and nursery foam can be found at most gardening supply and home improvement stores.
SEE: Spring into Blueberry Growing Season with Bird Control
Invest in Wind Machines to Properly Protect Plants
In the event of a less-severe frost that occurs later in the spring, wind machines can be used to heat up the air around blueberry plants. Wind machines can provide a few degrees of warmth to blueberry bushes by mixing warm air with colder air floating above low-level plants. It is important to note, however, that wind machines are not useful in the event of especially cold temperatures or freezes.
Turn to Sprinkler Irrigation for Increased Protection
One of the tried-and-true methods of protecting blueberry crops from frost is with sprinkler irrigation. Sprinkler irrigation works by coating blueberry crops in a thin layer of water, heating them up as the water goes from liquid to solid form. When used as directed, sprinkler systems can beat the frost to the punch and allow you to control the temperature on your own terms.
ALSO SEE: Protecting Berries from Birds
Don’t Forget to Protect Blueberry Crops from Birds with Avian Control!
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5 Blueberry Bush Frost Protection Tips and TricksLearn some tips to protect your blueberries against damaging frost with Avian Enterprises. Brand: Avian Enterprises 5 Blueberry Bush Frost Protection Tips and Tricks
From a picker’s bucket, fruit is transferred in crates to the packing shed. Here, quality assurance programs are adopted to ensure the quality and freshness of the berries. In packing sheds the fruit will be quickly chilled using force fans.
Different methods of fruit sorting are used throughout Australia. In recent times, machine packing has been used successfully, but the majority of Australian blueberries are packed through human sorting chains. All blueberries travel in refrigerated trucks to ensure they arrive fresh to their destination.
Australian blueberries are supplied to wholesalers, independent fruit shops, supermarkets and international markets such as Asia and Europe. Cooperative marketing groups have been created to allow small growers to efficiently supply both the domestic and export market. Retailers can have blueberries on their shelves within 24 hours of picking to enable consumers to buy, and enjoy, the freshest blueberries.
The Australian blueberry industry requires firm guidelines about fruit maturity at harvest; growers need to continually enforce this quality control during picking. In the present market environment, all blueberries produced in Australia can be sold for the greatest returns on the domestic market.
There are still many Australians yet to try a blueberry. In 2017/18, only 52% of households purchased blueberries. ‘Point of sale’ promotions, trade shows and farmer’s markets have provided a valuable opportunity for recruiting new consumers. Fresh blueberries compete with processed snack foods along with other fresh fruit. This is a concern as blueberries often command a premium price over most other fresh berries and other processed fruit.
In a recent survey of consumers, 79% of those interviewed indicated that price was a major influence on their purchasing decision. Many commented that while they enjoyed eating blueberries, they were too expensive to eat regularly.\xC2\xA0 Luckily for consumers, as the production continues to grow, prices are likley to stabilise making blueberries a more affordable weekly staple purchase.
There are three main berry industries in Australia. The strawberry industry is the most significant, blueberry intermediate and the various Rubus species smaller. Production and sales of these fruit are steadily increasing, reflecting global trends in berry crops (also known as soft fruit) and the interest in their benefits to human health. Within the blueberry industry, ‘Pick Your Own’ and organic operations are trending.
Blueberry establishment and production costs
Blueberry production is capital intensive with high development and labour costs. However, the short time interval between establishment and first returns coupled with high demand and reasonable prices will offset the high costs.
Challenging conditions that Australian blueberry growers face include drought, severe storms, water restrictions and extreme heat and fires. Availability and costs of harvest labour are becoming an increasing problem in all regions.
Growers redevelop blueberry beds when they are reaching the end of their lives. This varies for different varieties and can be determined based on the productivity of the plants.
As a new industry, growers are keen to adopt industry best management practice. All fruit for the fresh market is hand-picked to maintain the highest quality. Developing varieties suitable for mechanical harvesters and varieties that are well suited to Australian climatic conditions are ongoing goals.