How to Keep Birds Away from Tomatoes

Growing Vegetables
Birds Eating Tomatoes

Tomatoes are among the most popular vegetables to grow, so they can be found in almost every garden. Many people choose to grow tomatoes because they are fresh, tasty and very healthy.

Generally speaking, it's not difficult to grow tomatoes. However, there are certain common problems most gardeners face while growing tomatoes. Worms and cracking are among the most common problems. Cutworm can eat the young transplants overnight and tomato hornworm can strip a plant bare of its leaves and smaller stems in a couple of days. Not to mention leaf miners and flea beetles who destroy leaves in large numbers.

Another pervasive problem are the birds. They simply love tomatoes as much as we do. Mockingbirds seem to be the worst: they attach tomatoes frequently and they can ruin your whole tomato garden.

Here are some tips on how to keep the birds away from your tomatoes:

Build Cages

The most effective protection against birds is to build cages or cubes (square boxes) around your tomatoes. Most of them take a form of wood frames covered with metal chicken wire. This method is very effective against birds. However, the downside is that it makes maintaining your tomatoes and harvesting very difficult. Another problem with cages is that they can quickly ran their course so they need to be replaced.

Give Birds Water

One of the main reasons why birds attack tomatoes is because they are thirsty. If you place a nice water source for them in your garden, chances are that they will go to the water source and leave tomatoes alone. A carefully places birdbath will occupy the birds so they won't attack the tomatoes. After all, a birdbath is a much easier water source that allows them to drink as much as they want and relax. Just make sure to place the birdbath in a shade and ensure that there's always plenty of water for the birds. The advantage of this system is that you don't need to build protection around your tomatoes, so maintenance and harvesting is easy.

Build a Light Fence

Another thing you can do is to attach lighter metal fence over the tomatoes. If you have a post in the yard near the tomato bed, use it to attach the net. Make sure it covers the tomatoes fully but that is also easy to move so you can approach the plants.

Use Moving Objects

Birds are scared of moving objects, so you can use this to scare them off. Simple objects such as wind spinners will keep the birds away. This is a type of a stationery kite supported by a pole. The wind will spin its parts and move the whole device around.

Another thing you can try is to suspend something from a line. It will move around in any direction. It's best to choose shiny objects for this, such as old DVDs, CDs or aluminum pie pans. Another advantage to shiny objects is that birds are generally scared of things that reflect the light in all directions. Therefore, it's best to choose objects that will not just move but also sparkle in the sunlight. You may also install some type of a "flying snake" object and install it to the main line.

Another thing birds are scared of is the noise. Most of these objects, such as DVDs or pans, will make noise when they get pushed around by the wind or when they hit each other. The sound is not so loud to be annoying but it's enough to scare birds away.

Photo credit: Scot Nelson

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