In McCarthy Park 1 we needed to net some of our fruit trees to prevent fruit fly damage, here are McCarthy Park 2 we also need to net them to prevent bird damage! We have lost so much fruit due to the huge number of parrots and cockatoos we are blessed with, so our tree netting method has been refined to make it easier and quicker.
First, the fruit tree has a star picket securely placed as close to the trunk as possible.
A length of PVC pipe (big enough diameter to fit over the star picket) has a dowel inserted on one end, with a hole in the centre. This piece of PVC also has holes drilled all the way through so a 6 inch nail can be inserted through one side, through a hole in the star picket, and back out the other side. Several holes spaced apart allows for the height of the netting to be adjusted.
The top support for the net is made from 20mm PVC piping, a four way joiner and four right angle joiners to soften the ends of the cut PVC piping. In the centre of the four way joiner, a hole is drilled so a 6 inch nail (with a large washer) can be inserted. These can be made to suit the size of the tree canopy.
Now all the parts are made, assembly starts with the vertical PVC pipe with the holes drilled inserted over the star picket but not with the nail going through any holes yet- we leave it low enough to put the netting on and then raise it. Then the top cross is added, with the 6 inch nail inserted into the hole in the dowel………..
Then the netting is placed over the entire structure………….
……….. and then from inside we raise the vertical PVC so it is well above the canopy, using the nail to go all the way through the pipe and a hole in the star picket at the required height……..
….. then we tie off the net around the trunk and star picket to keep it all secure!
We now have a tree well protected from fruit fly and birds. Of course the netting can only be placed on after the fruit has set to ensure all the lovely pollinators are able to get to the flowers and do their job!
We are watching these ones closely to make sure the nets go on after pollination. You can still see the insulation tape we used as ‘bandages’ when we relocated these trees from our old property. The tape is now brittle and peeling off itself as the trees grow and flourish. The intention is to gradually remove it during spring.