weather icon Clear

Early harvest, fencing protect fruit from birds

Question: I have eight California seedless grape vines that are 3 years old, and this year, they are sprouting a lot of grapes. How do you keep the birds from eating up the grapes? I have a fig tree that I sprayed with a bug killer, and that kept the birds from eating the figs. What is good to put on the grapes so I can eat them instead of the birds?

We don’t spray anything on our grapes to keep birds off them. Unlike some other fruit, which we can harvest a bit early and allow it to mature off the tree, you can’t do this with grapes or figs. They must mature completely while still on the vine or tree.

The only safe alternative is to use bird netting to protect the plant and fruit. Bird netting must be securely fastened or tied to the ground or to the trunk. You must not leave any spaces for birds to go under it or force their way through it.

I am unsure that I would be very comfortable spraying fruits with an insecticide to repel birds.

Bob Morris is a horticulture expert living in Las Vegas. Email him at extremehort@aol.com or visit his blog at xtremehorticulture.blogspot.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Renewal pruning will reinvigorate hibiscus

Renewal pruning, cutting deep inside the shrub and removing larger wood, results in a flush of sucker growth from the remaining stubs that will be succulent and produce lots of leaves and flowers.

Bird pecking can indicate fruit is ready to harvest

Plums and pluots improve in flavor when they are kept on the tree longer and harvested closer to their mature date. These fruits are normally harvested from the end of July to the first or second week of August in our climate.

Trees normally grown as shrubs tend to sucker a lot

Sucker removal and how often it’s done depends on the plant, how old it is and how the suckers are removed. Trees sucker more if they don’t get enough water.

Garden roses struggle when temperatures rise

Some plants don’t grow well in rock, and roses are one of them. Nearly all landscape plants in the rose family like soil improvement and a moist environment when planted in desert soils.

Watering cactus too often can lead to plant death

Be careful when putting cactuses on an automatic water or irrigation timer. They are watered so infrequently that it sometimes makes sense to water these plants manually with a hose rather than automating the task.

No simple way to prevent tree suckers

Some plants grow suckers at the base of the plant and others produce suckers, or new growth, a distance away from the plant. So far, the only practical way to eliminate them is to slice the roots and remove these plants, roots and all.