A guest blog by Adams County Colorado Master Gardener Heidi Stark
This has been a magnificent fruit year on the Front Range—peaches, apples, plums—so many luscious varieties that tempt the backyard gardener. However, those darned squirrels have figured out that my fruit trees are a smorgasbord for their summer dining. We have covered our trees in the past, but the trees have gotten rather large, and I wasn’t sure if my mesh netting would adequately cover the peach tree.
About five years ago, I purchased a bolt of wedding tulle.
It was 25 yards long and about 54 inches wide. Since I am a sewer, I unrolled
it, laid it on the grass, and cut it equally into four lengths, then sewed it
together in an oblong. I had hoped it would cover my trees and keep the
critters out. This year, I watched the webinar Carol O’Meara gave on April 30,
“Protecting Gardens from Animals” (link for this recording is https://youtu.be/uYDMT0zFZmk). One
picture on the Power Point was a tree using an umbrella frame as the support structure
for the cover. Since I had recently acquired an old patio umbrella, I removed
the canvas. We pounded a 10-foot piece of conduit into the ground right next to
the tree trunk and placed the umbrella frame over it. It stands about 12 feet
tall. We lashed the pole to the tree trunk with a couple of bungee cords.
Getting the mesh cover over the tree is tricky. It’s a little easier with three people lifting the cover up using additional long poles and even our pole pruner. Once we had the cover draped evenly over the canopy, we clothes pinned some sections of green bird netting to the mesh to make sure the cover reached the ground. Using garden staples, we tacked the netting down to the ground.
We have now transferred the mesh cover to our Honeycrisp apple tree to keep those pesky squirrels out of our treasured apples. Within a couple of weeks, we will harvest the crop and the cover will go back into the garage for the next year!