Fig trees are best protected with a physical barrier like netting or bags on figs. These techniques will make it physically impossible for birds to eat your fig crop. However, additional solutions like distracting bird feeders or pinwheels can also be employed. Some gardeners even recommend decoy bird ornaments and backyard pets as protection. A combination of these techniques may be used to protect your fruit trees.
4 Ways to Protect Figs from Birds
Protecting figs from birds mostly requires a physical barrier of some sort. Below, we’ll get into the most common methods of protecting your trees:
Placing bird netting over your entire plant is a good way to protect ripening fruit. Simply drape the netting over the tree. Then, secure the netting in place by tying it to the branches and/or trunk with soft string or twist ties. Use this bird netting for quality fruit tree bird protection. Small netting openings are ideal to prevent sparrows and other tiny birds from sneaking through the barrier to eat your figs.
Organza bags can be used to protect budding fruit from pesky birds. These organza bags are an inexpensive way to protect your figs. Simply place the bag over a cluster of figs, pull the drawstring tight, and tie it. The organza bag only has to cover individual limbs or small clusters of fruit. The bag method provides protection from birds but doesn’t require you to cover the entire tree. This can help your fig tree get as much sun as it needs.
You can sometimes distract birds from the ripe fruit of fig trees with a bird feeder. Free bird food can redirect the birds’ attention from your fruit to the freed feed and save your crops from birds. However, wild birds that really love figs will still go for fig plants over alternate feeding solutions. So depending on your local bird population, this may prove ineffective.
Colored pinwheels scare birds away with flashing lights and noise. These tools are often dependent on the wind to work effectively, however. Stake these pinwheels into the ground within 3 feet (1 meter) of your fig trees to scare hungry birds away. Unlike audio deterrents—which can be disruptive to you and your neighbors—visual bird repellents drive away scavengers without creating another nuisance.
Will Birds Eat Figs?
Many birds love to eat figs. In fact, it may be the most popular fruit for birds to eat. Birds love to eat sweet fruit when they get the chance, and figs have a high sugar content. If you don’t protect your figs, it’s likely that some bird will try to eat them.
- Birds will absolutely eat figs.
- Birds love unprotected sweet fruits.
- If you don’t protect your figs, it’s extremely likely that birds will eat them.
To distract birds from your fig trees, try placing some halved, ripening figs farther away from your trees. These figs will act as decoys. So, birds will eat the decoy figs instead of your growing crop. However, this does run the risk of training your birds to seek figs, which could easily backfire if many birds are drawn to your property.
Do You Need to Protect Figs from Birds?
You don’t have to protect your figs if you don’t want to harvest the fig crop. Birds may do some damage to your fig trees while eating, but this damage is usually minimal. However, you’re unlikely to get any edible figs from a tree ravaged by birds.
- You only need to protect your tree from birds if you want to harvest the figs.
- Birds will do little to no damage to the fig tree itself when they eat the fruit.
- If you don’t protect your figs, do not expect to get any figs for yourself.
Unprotected fig crops will be decimated by hungry birds. So if you were hoping to harvest your figs, you’ll want to protect your fruits from birds in any way you can.
How to Keep Birds from Eating Your Figs
Protecting your fig plants from birds requires a physical barrier. Other options can work but they are usually less effective than a barrier. Here are some tips to effectively protecting your fig plants:
- Drape bird netting over fig plants to protect the whole tree.
- Secure organza bags over clusters of figs growing on your tree.
- Install a bird feeder so birds get their fill from bird seed, instead of your figs.
- Install pinwheels near the base of the tree to scare wild birds away.
It may require a combination of techniques to keep pesky birds away. But as long as you keep at it and use these tips, you’ll protect your crops from birds. This way, you’ll be able to grow delicious figs without fear that they’ll be stolen before you can taste the fruit.