Prevent Birds From Damaging Your Vegetable Garden With This Harmless Solution

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While it's beautiful to watch birds fluttering around your backyard, discovering that they've been pecking at your tomatoes or eating through your vegetable garden can be discouraging. Luckily, garden fleece can be a humane way to stop birds from feasting on the peppers in your garden. Though this netting material is more often used to prevent frost or strong winds from harming your plants in the winter, the mesh is also useful for making sure birds cannot access the produce you've worked hard to grow.

Because garden fleece is designed to keep your plants a little warmer, it may be able to help vegetables, like your cucumbers, ripen a bit faster. These plant coverings are typically made of polypropylene or polyester, which lets sunlight, water, and some air pass through. Horticultural fleeces may also come in different thicknesses, but if you're using them in the summer, you'll likely want a lightweight version. On Amazon, the Gardeners Supply Company summer-weight plant cover is about $14. For those that have bushier plants that need protection, you may also look for something like the winter protection shrub jacket ($14 on Amazon).

Using garden fleece to prevent birds from damaging your vegetables

To ensure that birds won't touch your precious garden, take a look at your vegetables to see which plants need the most protection. You could choose to prioritize these plants or cover all your vegetables. Depending on what your intentions are, you may want to purchase a larger piece of horticultural fleece that can stretch across your vegetable garden or a small one that could cover an individual plant.

Lay your fleece over the vegetables you want to protect and then secure the fabric to the ground. This can be done by placing rocks, garden decor, or other heavy objects on the edges to keep the material in place. Doing this is essential, as birds or other animals could otherwise get beneath the mesh. When it's time to care for your plants, simply pick up the weights and move the fleece aside. This is an extremely easy method to keep birds away from your vegetables or fruits, and can also be used when sowing seeds to prevent your feathered friends from snatching them up before they germinate. Additionally, horticultural fleece will deter many insects as well.

Precautions to take with garden fleece

Though horticultural fleece can be a harmless and easy solution to send birds flying away from your vegetable garden, there are some things to keep in mind when using this covering. If you don't properly secure the fleece, birds or small animals won't just get near your veggies; they could become trapped in the mesh and get injured or die. This is why it's crucial to ensure your covering is not easily moved and that there aren't large gaps along the bottom where critters could sneak inside.

Because this mesh is small enough to keep out insects that can harm your vegetables, such as beetles and cabbage white butterflies, it can also prevent pollinators from reaching your plants. The bees and other beneficial insects won't be able to spread pollen around your garden while the fleece is in place. This can be combated by removing the garden fleece when your plants are flowering. Additionally, while birds and some insects won't stand a chance of getting inside, slugs and other pests that live in the soil will still be able to access your produce, so it's important to look under the fleece often. Garden fleece can be a great and safe way to prevent birds from munching on your vegetable garden, as long as you use it properly and continue to check on your plants.