Possum/Bird Netting

Discussion in 'Fruit & Vegetable Growing' started by Letsgokate, May 30, 2018.

  1. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wondering if anyone has had any experience with tried bird netting that has a stainless steel wire through it. It supposed to be ok for possums as well. Just wondering if anyone has used it or knows anything about it whether it is indeed strong enough to stop possums. We have big issues with possums eating fruit trees so are looking to build a total exclusion area with all fruit trees in it. We have been putting it off in the hope we could avoid it but the time has come. What the frame of the structure will be is still to be determined and may depend on whether we can use some sort of netting or whether it needs to be something like chicken wire. Not looking for suggestions of other options to try, we have tried pretty well most of the, sonic devices, water sprayer, sprays, chicken wire cages over passionfruit vines etc etc we have lots of possums. Thanks

    This netting is the type of thing I am talking about https://www.haverford.com.au/produc...-steel-reinforced-netting-9ply-1ply-s-s-1-3mm
     
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  2. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Wow Letsgo where did you find that listing?

    But you couldn't install it like in their photo because possums could get in between the turnbuckles & hooks around the frame.
    But still a very good idea & just proves that there is more ways than one to use a product. Looks like it is made from electric fence string which does have several very fine stainless steel wires running through it that do not rust.
    I mention this because cheap stainless from China will rust/corrode in time & break.
    The horse fence stuff doesn't break & one reason why many horse people wont use it in the their fences as it can do severe cut/tourniquet/strangulation type injury to a horse leg caught in the fence.

    But having said all that, it could be chewed through because the plastic threads cut easily leaving just the very fine wire strands which the animal would push through in the end due to the way the mesh is knotted like fish net. The stainless wires are very springy & wont hold tight knots permanently. They tend to slip over time or with pressure against them.

    I have a similar possum/bird/rat problem & my solution (as I can afford it) is to build/weld 3 sizes of frames of light steel tube to form sides, ends & roofs for garden beds or bathtub beds so there is still room for me to walk around the bed.
    They would be 3.5m long x 2m high for the long sides; 2.5m long x 2m high for the ends & 3.5m x 2.5m for the tops with galvanized 15mm square aviary mesh welded on. The end frames would have hinges to act as gates.

    This all makes for very expensive crops but it is better than the angst I currently suffer on a daily basis from the critters eating my hard work.
     
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  3. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    There all sorts of new innovations coming up all the time just takes a google or seeing them somewhere. Yeah we won't be installing it like they have. I'll contact them and another place and see what they say. It's not cheap but haven't worked out how it compares to chicken wire. But the final cost is what comes into it, some sort of hoop type house might work which would be quicker and maybe cheaper to build. Where as I don't know if a hoop house would hold the weight of chicken wire.

    We have also tossed up the idea of totally netting it for fruit fly as well. Not just fruit fly, I have just about every pest you could imagine here. The bugs must like our climate in our yard. Some sort of possum net would make it easier and not rip any fruit fly net if we choose to put it over at a later date.

    Ideally it would be good to have a net that could be used for fruit fly, bird and possum exclusion in one go.

    We plan on putting all fruit trees under it as one big orchard which as you say makes it expensive. But at the rate the possums eat new leaves, eat any ripening fruit and the birds and then it will be fruit bats. I won't have any fruit off the trees so I either forget the whole fruit growing or put them in some sort of exclusion area.

    There is a property down the road that has a huge fully enclosed area, looks like a commercial enterprise. Have no idea what he is growing or what he is trying to keep out. I'm going to drop a note in his letter box and ask him if we can come and have a chat to him about it. :)
     
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  4. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Clissat if you do a search on Possum fencing people seem to do these types of things with the wire bent down, not sure if it would work in your situation. It doesn't have a roof so wouldn't work for birds as well.

    [​IMG]

    This is the site where I got the above pic and they have more information about this type of fencing. http://goodlifepermaculture.com.au/tag/possum-proof-fence/
     
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  5. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    The single stainless steel strand on the netting is extremely thin. I just had a search around the house with a vernier caliper to find something of comparable thickness, it's about the same as a sheet of writing paper folded in half.

    It would probably be ok for a while, but the plastic would be easily chewed through & open up like ClissAT said.

    Chicken wire would be a cheaper & stronger option. Or chainwire if you want to be sure that nothing short of a stampede is getting through it :)

    You can strengthen up a hoop house by running 6 or 8mm concrete rebar through the poly pipe, it still bends fine, but stops it collapsing so easily. Or a fabricator would be able to roll some steel pipe to make a frame out of & shouldn't charge too much to do it.
     
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  6. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    That's a good idea about the rebar inside the poly pipe. I must remember that one!
    It's a nice diagram you provided there Andrew for the fence but possums just love doing acrobatics so I cant see it working for more than a few seconds.
    Apart from that, they would 'drop in' from the trees which they use as highways, then simply climb out when finished.
    That fence style would be ok if no overhanging trees.
    Have you ever seen possums walking along power lines in town? A bit of floppy wire netting would be no challenge for them.
    At my place they come in from the bush via the tree highway then use the various fences around the gardens to get to my house, climb up the house stumps to the verandah roof, where they walk hanging up-side-down along the overhead timber frame of the roof to get from one end to the other.
    Why walk the right way up along the floor when you can acrobatically walk up-side-down ?
    They walk along the passionfruit vines from shrub to shrub, up the palm trees, down the dragonfruit, etc, never touching the ground.
     
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  7. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Andrew some great info there. The rebar inside the pipe would certainly strengthen it to allow it to carry the weight of wire. Certainly know about chain link fence we have put some here and it’s great to work with, but a bit to heavy for our purpose.

    The point about the net with wire was as mentioned so we could put fruit fly net over it, if we ever wanted to. It’s something we will avoid doing and don’t want to do now but just trying to future proof the idea if you like.

    Another thought was say 30% commercial for horticulture use shadecloth. Would this give too much shade to the fruit trees? It would also provide protection from strong winds.

    Clissat you have them bad there. We have seen them climb along our telephone cable as well. I do like possums and birds but not when they are eating my trees. We gave a few possums a hose up the rear end a few weeks ago.
     
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  8. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Letsgo there's a commercial black netting that is stretched over suspended wire on posts.
    Its usual purpose is against flying foxes or hail.
    That might be what you have down the road from you.
    Anything denser than that will prohibit light to the trees.
    The stretched netting is used over lychees, stone fruit, etc.
    Sometimes right after a bad hail storm when the grower is replacing the netting, you might get large pieces for free that you will have to stitch up small holes.
    They often appreciate you taking the old netting as it saves them the cost of the disposal.
    You might only get 2-3yrs out of it but it was for free.
     
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  9. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Clissat, what is down the road from us is a white net, nice and tight and fully enclosing his area. Unless we talk to him it is only a guess what it is.

    There is a horticultural commercial 30% shade cloth, in white it’s only 16-20%. In black or green it’s 26-30%. With a 10 year pro rata UV stability warranty. Places like Netpro Canopies sell it. Vege Net is listed as 10% shading give or take 2%.

    Point I am making is this type of shade cloth in white isn’t even twice the shading as Vege net so I wouldn’t have thought this would have been too much shading on fruit trees. But is it good, strong enough to keep out possums.

    At this stage we are open to anything, even combinations. Have to explore ideas before we can rule them in or out.

    Cost also comes into.
     
  10. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I think it makes sense to chat to your man down the road...he'll have similar (if not the same) conditions to you and presumably if he's running a successful commercial enterprise, will have worked out what's most cost effective. (May not necessarily be the cheapest option up front, but there's a lot of false economy sometimes in simply taking the cheapest route).
    If he's been there a while he'll have experimented with different netting as they don't last forever - much cheaper then reinventing the wheel yourself!

    I do always wonder how commercial growers without netting keep possums at bay. I wonder whether having enough open ground around your orchard/food forest is enough to dissuade them - as they have to make it across large distances of open ground - and as Clissat notes, they don't seem to like being exposed on the ground too much. Still this isn't helpful unless you've got a very large bit of land.
    I love the idea of the rebar in the hoops - but if you're talking about covering a whole orchard...could you make them big enough?
    Personally my biggest problem is the moths/caterpillars and beetle larvae. (And now the neighbour's extremely tall hedge which is throwing shade over the veggie patch from about 1pm)
     
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  11. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Oskar, you make a lot of good points. As you say the cheapest option may not be the best, we also don’t want to have to redo this down the track because the first go didn’t work. That is where there will be lots of research and options bought up to be discussed.

    Unfortunately we don’t have a big open area, but lots of trees, which are nice but certainly bring about their own issues. Even if we chopped down all the trees our neighbours still have plenty. We often see possums walking along the fence.

    I had bagged some of my citrus and the birds made a small whole and in each bag and ate half of each fruit.

    We don’t think a hoop house made out of pipes will work for us as for exactly the reason you mentioned about being big enough. I’ve seen some pretty big ones on YouTube. It would be to be braced etc and don’t think would work out that cheap either.

    Hubby came up with an option of maybe building it out of rebar mesh being bent over to make like a hoop house, which would be self supporting in the arch, obviously secured to posts on the ground. Then covered with something like the low percentage shade cloth mentioned above. But lots more research and discussion yet.

    I have the fruit fly net over the a large area of the veggies so that works great for that area. But yes the caterpillars have certainly been an issue in other areas.
     
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  12. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Ok current thoughts are. Keeping in mind we are very much in the concept stage and working and exploring all options on net/wire and what to build the structure out of.

    Final size still to be worked out, but about 14 x 4m give or take. To build a structure out of reinforcing mesh 6m x 2.4 - 200mm x200mm that would be wielded together. The mesh would be self-supporting in a hoop house type design secured to the ground onto posts. Then covered in the above mentioned 30% shade cloth, in white it’s only 16-20% shading.

    I’ve been in touch with Netpro canopies and they have said the shade cloth would be strong enough and suitable for our purpose and keep out most pests including possums and anything that keeps out possums will also keep out birds and flying foxes.

    My fruit trees are in root pouches approx. 250L size sitting on plastic pallets to keep them off the ground. 1 tree per pouch

    Potential problems:

    To make sure fruit trees aren’t too close to the edge so leaves aren't sitting on the shade cloth as the possums might still try and chew through. They were always going to be pruned to a manageable height.

    Pollination – The shade cloth won’t keep out fruit fly or small insects but will keep out many other insects for pollination and of course the bigger bad bugs. Possible solution – I have native bees with a hive ready to be split that could be placed into the area. I have also thought about buying some good bug eggs and have them released into there.

    My only concerns would be having enough flowers continually for the bees etc so I’ve thought I could plant ground covers in some of the pots that could cascade down flowering at different times. I’ve heard citrus don’t like to share so would put them in with other fruit trees.

    Another thought is, is the area mentioned big enough to keep native bees in all the time? If not I either move them in and out as needed OR open the orchard enclosure door every morning and close it every night a bit like chooks with the native bees home close by.

    I don’t think 16-20% shading would be an issue they will get sun most of the day in the area they will be. It would also act a bit of a wind break.

    Any other potential issues with this idea? It's good to have a conversation about all this and nut out potential issues and ideas and hopefully others benefit from it all as well.

    I should add we will be moving the current fruit trees that will put them further away from some trees that we know possums live so they will be in a more open area but there will still be trees and fences nearby, we don't have a big area that is totally clear.
     
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  13. AndrewB

    AndrewB Well-Known Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I've been wondering about bees in greenhouses myself the last few weeks. They only normally use one hive entrance, but I was thinking it would be nice to have a hive in the wall so they could choose which way to go, so that if food was running short inside, they could still get it from outside.

    It would be easy enough to try out, just drill an extra hole in the hive. If they don't like the idea they will just plug it up.

    On the reinforcing mesh, something to consider is that it has a very rough surface that could tear up your shade cloth, especially in high winds if there is a bit of movement. It will also go rusty & stain the shade cloth. You could get around these problems by giving it a nice thick coat of paint first.

    On the possums, you need a good dog! Mine would be overjoyed at having things to chase around all night. I doubt she would ever catch one, but they would get sick of the attention pretty quick :)
     
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  14. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    You bring up an interesting thought on 2 hive entries. Steve is our forum expert on bee hives as he makes them. Would be worth his input on this.

    Thanks re the rough mesh potential damaging shade cloth, something to consider. Can you come and paint it for us ;) be a cow of a job.

    We have a good dog, yellow lab but she is an inside dog. Every night when she get let out before bed she races over to one tree or another chasing something. We do let her out when we see a possum in a tree, she races around it trying to climb up and barking at the possum :)
     
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  15. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Tonight I watched a new video on youtube about the comparison of cost of building a hoop house to geodesic dome.


    This was USA & Canada prices but the principle is the same regarding the amount of material used to build the 2 structures.
    Geo domes take a lot less material, is much lighter to construct with shorter lengths & you end up with a much higher structure that will withstand more wind. He mentions the 4V dome design which you can find plenty of info about by googling or searching youtube.
    But the down side it is a circle on the ground so you cant have long rows of plants.
    A 32ft wide dome is the same 800sqft ground space as a 40ftx20ft tunnel house yet costs 2/3 the price. My geo dome will be 4m high when I finally get around to putting it up once the shed is built.

    Another video I watched showed a method someone recently came up with to cover domes with rectangular lengths of clear plastic which has to date been a problem. They found a cheap product at Home Depot that makes a good clip/clamp to hold the plastic on place & gather it at the same time so it lays flat on the dome shape.


    I don't know what a test cap is but I figured if I went to Bunnings & started looking around I would soon find similar caps. Or I could just buy a big hole saw I cut them out of old blue drums or similar plastic.
    Also you could use any type of fabric or mesh to cover but these structures.
    As for the moisture that builds up in the top of the dome, it is easy to let it out by making a 'chimney' like those found in American Indian teepees. You just cut a flap in the plastic towards the top of the dome on the leeward side & glue a long stick that reaches the ground to it so you can fold it open or closed.
     
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  16. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Hey everyone :tease:

    The Tony Goodrich boxes sold by a few different people have two entrances and the bees use both, but these entrances are both facing the same direction at the front of the box. Most standard OATH hives have a rear vent hole which the bees will use also. I had a hive where the front entrance flight path interfered with another hive so the bees blocked the front and started using the rear vent as the main entrance.

    So you could easily create another entrance, then it will be left up to the bees to decide what they're going to do.

    There's been a few trials with green houses and native bees. There's simply not enough diversity to make the bees thrive and they slowly reduce. You would need to supply different kinds of Pollen, Resin and Nectar. They've had trials in Australia trying to use bees like Blue Banded Bees to pollinate Tomato crops in green houses because they need buzz pollination but i don't think that went very well, one issue would be the supply of the bees all year round. I know they're still trying to get native bees to do green house pollination, so you might be up there as a Pioneer Kate.

    I have some hives under someones shade cloth structure and when i go there i see a few bees hovering and bouncing off the ceiling, like they want to go up and out in to the sky but can't figure out how to get past this mesh, even though the two sides of the structure are completely open. A lot of the bees do fly out the sides of the structure but the mesh seems to confuse some bees.

    Native Bees are excellent pollinators of crops like Macadamia trees so they love the trees, but when the hive is placed in a field of trees and that's all they have they slowly reduce. So bees dont do well in monocultures.

    I think if you had one entrance with access to the closed in green house and one entrance with access to the outside world you should start off with a really strong hive because they may take a hit to their progress. If the hive is newly split and weak you run a higher risk of losing it to pests. You could just do the normal monitoring to check this, like counting bee activity within a certain number of minutes and keep a weight check on the hive. I'd give it a try and just monitor the progress. Once you've set it up just leave it for a couple of weeks. Some people set up a project then the next day they panic and change it all and confuse the hell out of the bees and make it worse. It may take a week for the bees to work out what they want to do with it.

    I think for the two entrances, i'd suggest just using the existing front entrance hole, make a T junction tube with one pipe going to the outside world and one pipe going to the greenhouse world, keeping the tubes short as possible.

    or drill the rear vent hole bigger on the standard OATH.
     
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  17. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Clissat some great videos, interesting dome construction something to consider. The area we are putting the fruit trees is lots longer than it is wider, so we would need several domes and maybe in different areas.

    Like the idea that they can be made out of PVC or conduit. Very interesting concept makes a great chook pen.
     
  18. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Thanks Steve for coming and making a comment for me :) muchly appreciated. Your knowledge and experience is invaluable.

    Lots of info great info and requires more research on native bees and green houses. I think in my case the bees will sit just outside and I’ll open the door every day and let them come and go. Of course it depends on what the final thing is made out of.

    Our native bee hive has 2 entrances on the front, the bees use both.

    Daley’s has an exclusion area with native bees but it is a very big area.

    Thanks heaps
     
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  19. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    Yeah sorry i don't know more about greenhouses and bees, i'm sure lots of people do it but i don't know any, but if you do it then i'll know someone :wave:

    Another thing to consider is the temperature and moisture/humidity inside the greenhouse. I assume there's higher humidity levels inside a greenhouse? I know those bamboo composite/pvc boxes with the two entrances can have a moisture issue which is displayed by a huge mess of liquid type spits around the entrances. Putting it inside a greenhouse could increase the issue.

    Apart from humidity, there could be bonuses in warmer temps in Winter, not sure what the temps would be in Summer?

    Kate, how many hives have you got? Are you creating more?
     
  20. Letsgokate

    Letsgokate Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I have one that we are about to split. The hive is made from eco plastic and I’ve bought another one the same for splitting as we have lots of termites here and we didn’t want a hoop pine box. When we renovated the kitchen a few years ago they were in the walls so we had to replace studs etc. We often see termites in the yard so As I said we didn’t want hoop pine box.

    Ha ha nothing is set in concrete yet with what we are making the enclosure out of. Pollination is obviously an issue so need to look into it a lot more. Could cover the Rebar mesh in chicken wire or a combination.
     
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