If you own a vineyard, you want to ensure you protect your grapes and get the highest yield possible year after year. A big factor that can impact the success of your vines is deciding whether you want to use netting, which is a highly effective deterrent against birds. Netting does represent an upfront cost and level of maintenance that many growers find daunting, but there are good reasons why many vineyards deploy this protection. Here is a guide to helping you decide whether vineyard nets are right for you.
Examine The Location Of Your Vineyard
If your vineyard exists on a large and flat expanse of land away from any nearby woodland habitats, then you might not need a vineyard netting. This is because birds often roost in surrounding woodland and areas featuring a lot of trees. However, for properties near woodland or even suburban developments featuring trees, shrubs and birdfeeders, the threat of nearby roosting birds is real for growers, and netting is appropriate in such circumstances.
On top of that, it's also important to consider if your vineyard is in the flight path of migrating birds year after year. If so, there's a good chance that your vineyard will suffer without proper netting.
Will Vineyard Netting Hurt My Vines?
Another factor that you may be considering is whether netting will negatively impact your vines during the growing process. However, this is a misconception about netting. Netting will not stunt growth or block out light as long it's properly applied. That's why it's important for grape growers to attach netting to poles that stand independently from vines. Applying netting directly to grape vines can put pressure on a plant and potentially cause strain on growth. That's why attaching netting to posts is the smart way to approach plant protection.
Concerns About Setup And Durability
Some grape growers are also concerned about the application process of putting up vineyard netting. Fortunately, there are now vineyard applicator machines that can help you quickly apply netting at the start of each season, which may be an alternative for some growers who want to put less labor hours in. Growers can also choose to apply side netting on short rows of vines, as this is the easiest type of netting to apply manually. While "Over The Row" netting is harder to apply and take down, many growers claim it offers better protection.
You can also help extend the life of your netting system by taking it down each winter and storing it properly. This will help keep netting from fraying or breaking down, and may add a few years of life to your netting. Also think about the type of material you want to use, with polypropylene, nylon, and polyester nets holding up well under pressure year after year.
Ultimately, you should now have a better idea about whether netting is right for you and a clearer idea about how to apply and store netting the proper way.