Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Hi-tech low-tech fruit protection
Although the peaches on our two front-yard peach trees are not yet ripe, they have changed color from pale green to golden orange, attracting the attention of mockingbirds and bluejays. Rather than net the trees (which we tried a few years ago and had to remove when a bird got caught in the net), we are trying a technique we saw at a nearby farm - hanging old CD's from the branches, where the flashes of light scare the birds away. Our farming friends had attached the shiny discs near their blackberry bushes, and when I saw the blackberries they were ripe, with no pesky birds bothering the fruit at all.
In past years we have let the birds peck at the peaches without worrying too much, since we usually have more than we can use. However, this year the bird traffic seems heavier than usual, and I really want to dehydrate plenty of peach chips for my son, who loves them. After seeing the effective demonstration at the farm, we decided to try this technique.
I haven't seen or heard any birds on the trees since we attached three reflective discs to each tree two days ago. I was warned that the reflectors are only effective for a short while (days to weeks), so timing is important. The peaches should be ripe in a week or two. After harvesting ends, I can remove and save the reflectors to hang on the apple trees in the fall. Re-usable hi-tech low-tech fruit protection.