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Net Gains

Instead of netting individual trees from would-be fruit thieves, try this clever garden hack. Garden Clinic Member, Anne Marie Craine, shows how she is saving her fruit trees from potential bird, possum, and fruit fly attack.

Three years ago, I bought three Trixzie fruiting trees from Flemings: cherry, apricot and plum. I only have limited space. Last year, l only had a few pieces of fruit owing to the possums and birds. So, this year the trees were netted, but with a difference. Geoff, my wonderful garden helper built this arbour for me, so I don't need to take the netting down each summer . I can walk in one end to pick fruit and even prune in winter. It’s made up of a series of polypipe hoops with the ends inserted into steel posts to help keep them secure and upright. To help maintain the rigidity of the structure, the hoops are secured with cable ties to a polypipe ridge (the longer support pipe over the top of the arbour). The trees are planted along one side of the arbour, allowing access down the centre.


 

HERE’S HOW

  1. Measure and mark 2m intervals along the length of the enclosure. This will help determine how many steel posts are required and where to position them. You will also need steel posts at both ends of the enclosure to help support the ridge (long polypipe on top of the frame).

  2. Drive posts at least 450mm deep into the ground. The depth may vary slightly depending on your soil structure. Check posts are vertical.

  3. To construct supporting ridge: cut the polypipe 1.25- times longer than the length of the enclosure, e.g., if the length of the enclosure is 6m, then you will need to cut it 7.5m. Allow for an extra 300mm on each end to fit over the steel posts.

  4. To construct hoops: use an electric cable puller (or similar) to approximate the length of each piece of poly pipe, allowing for an additional 300mm on each end to fit over the steel posts. Cut pipes to required length.

  5. Place ends of poly pipe over opposing pairs of steel posts. An hot air gun will help bend the pipes into place, but do not overheat as the pipes will kink.

  6. Secure each of the cross members together with two cable ties.

  7. Pull netting over the top, down the sides and the ends {how to} of the arches and peg down all the way around. Cut off excess.

  8. Make an access point at the front of the frame so the net can be lifted and placed back on the ground.

 

YOU'LL NEED

  • 1.8m Saxon T steel posts

  • Heavy duty polypipe (we used Vinidex rural poly pipe with the blue stripe).

  • 10m wide black netting

  • Weed mat pegs or similar

  • 250mm x 8mm cable ties

  • Hot air gun

  • Hack saw

  • Measuring tape

  • Rubber mallet

  • Electric cable puller

About this article

Author: WORDS AND IMAGES: ANNE MARIE CRAINE