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15 Ways To Prevent Birds Eating Your Tomatoes

Best Ways to Prevent Bird Eating Tomatoes

Are pecky birds turning your tomato garden into their personal dining spot? Don’t worry, your delicious tomatoes don’t have to be on their menu! 

Let’s outsmart these tomato-loving flyers! From using fragrant herbs as barriers to clever decoys, we’ve gathered a bunch of tricks that even the sneakiest birds will have to admire. 

Get ready to say goodbye to these airborne threats. It’s time to say hello to enjoying your homegrown tomatoes at your table!

1. Natural Repellents

Natural Repellents
Image by Farmer’s Almanac
FactorsNatural Repellents
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow to moderate, depending on materials needed
Possible RisksSome plants might not thrive

Using natural repellents means planting certain herbs and plants around your tomato garden. These plants give off powerful scents that birds don’t like, which helps to keep them from getting near your tomato plants.

How Natural Repellents Work

Certain plants, like basil, mint, and marigold, have strong scents that birds don’t really like. You can place these herbs in your tomato garden as a scented barrier!

The fragrances from these plants confuse the birds’ senses, making them less likely to hang around and peck at your tomato plants.

Benefits of Using Natural Repellents

Using natural repellents is a great way to keep birds away from your garden in an eco-friendly manner. These repellents don’t just safeguard your tomatoes – they also help your garden stay healthy!

Plus, they can even bring in helpful bugs and pollinators while shooing away those pesky birds.

Planter’s Tips

Although natural repellents are usually okay for your garden, certain plants might not do so well when they’re too near each other. 

Look into the specific needs of the repellent plants you want and think about how they grow before you plant them next to your tomato plants.

2. Reflective Tape and Mylar Balloons

Reflective Tape and Mylar Balloons
Image by House Digest
FactorReflective Tape and Mylar Balloons
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow
Possible RisksTemporary solution

To use this method, place reflective tape or shiny Mylar balloons close to your tomato plants. These reflective surfaces will produce flashes of light and movement that confuse and surprise birds. 

This confusion will make the birds cautious about getting too close to your plants. As a result, you can get them off your tomatoes, even briefly!

How Reflective Tape and Mylar Balloons Work

Birds are naturally cautious about quick movements and shiny, reflective things. To keep them away from your tomato garden, you can put up strips of shiny tape or hang balloons made of Mylar nearby. 

When the wind blows, these tape strips or balloons will catch sunlight and make unpredictable flashes, which will bother the birds. This helps stop them from landing and snacking on your tomato plants!

Benefits of Using Reflective Tape and Mylar Balloons

Using reflective tape and Mylar balloons is an inexpensive and eco-friendly method to discourage birds harmlessly. This approach works well on sunny days as sunlight boosts the reflective effect. 

Setting it up is a breeze, and upkeep is minimal. This means even the most inexperienced homeowners can do this without issues!

Planter’s Tips

While this way can work well, remember that it might not keep working as time goes on because birds could get used to these shiny things. 

To keep them away, make sure to move or change where the shiny things are sometimes. This will help them stay away like you want them to.

3. Hanging CD Disks

Hanging CD Disks
Image by ThriftyFun
FactorHanging CD Disks
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsVery low to none
Possible RisksNone

Repurposing old CDs by hanging them around your tomato garden is an innovative way to deter birds. The reflective surfaces of the CDs create flashes of light and movement, which disorient and scare off birds.

How Hanging CD Disks Work

When the sunlight hits the reflective surfaces of the CDs, it creates ever-changing flashes of light. Birds are naturally cautious of bright, sudden movements, associating them with danger. 

The movement and glints of light produced by the spinning CDs mimic the presence of predators, making birds reluctant to approach your tomato plants.

Benefits of Using Hanging CD Disks

Hanging CD disks is a cost-effective and low-maintenance method that adds a touch of creativity to your garden. It’s environmentally friendly as it repurposes old CDs that might otherwise go to waste. 

Plus, this method doesn’t harm birds or the environment, making it a safe choice for deterring unwanted avian visitors.

Planter’s Tips

Hanging CD disks is generally risk-free, but be mindful of the location of the CDs to ensure they don’t create glare that might disturb your neighbors or hinder your own enjoyment of the garden.

4. Aluminum Foil Strips

Aluminum Foil Strips
Image by All About Gardening
FactorAluminum Foil Strips
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow
Possible RisksNone

Hanging aluminum foil strips around your tomato garden creates reflective surfaces that produce flashes of light and noise when the wind blows. 

These unpredictable movements and shimmering reflections deter birds from landing near your tomato plants.

How Aluminum Foil Strips Work

Birds get scared by sudden flashes of light and noise, which they interpret as potential threats. So, if you put up some aluminum foil strips in your garden in just the right way, you’ll mess with their comfort zone. 

Even a tiny breeze will set those strips in motion, making them flash and sparkle like there’s something dangerous around. This tricks the birds into feeling uneasy and convinces them to stay away from your space.

Benefits of Using Aluminum Foil Strips

Aluminum foil strips are an affordable and easy way to control birds, and you know it! They are effortless to install and maintain. 

This makes them perfect for gardeners who want a simple solution. You can also rest easy when you use this approach. 

Plus, placing aluminum strips around your garden doesn’t harm your garden, plants, or the environment. So it’s a bit of a win-win!

Planter’s Tips

For maximum effectiveness, position the aluminum foil strips where they will catch sunlight and breeze. Regularly check the strips to ensure they are in good condition and replace any that may become damaged or lose their reflective quality over time.

5. Visual Decoys

Visual Decoys
FactorVisual Decoys
Ease of InstallationSimple to Moderate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow
Possible RisksReduced effectiveness over time

Visual decoys involve placing imitation predators, such as owl or hawk decoys, near your tomato plants to create the illusion of a threat. This tricks birds into believing that there is a predator in the area, causing them to avoid your garden.

How Visual Decoys Work

Birds are naturally careful and always on the lookout for possible danger. When you put fake birds that look like predators in your garden, you’re using this built-in fear to your advantage.

Birds will perceive the decoys as threats and will be less likely to approach your tomato plants. The occasional movement of the decoys, especially in the wind, further reinforces the illusion of a real predator.

Benefits of Using Visual Decoys

Visual decoys provide a simple and passive way to deter birds without the need for constant intervention. They are environmentally friendly and do not involve any harmful chemicals. 

On top of that, they add an interesting visual element to your garden, contributing to its aesthetic appeal.

Planter’s Tips

While visual decoys can be effective initially, birds may become accustomed to their presence over time, reducing their effectiveness. To enhance their efficiency, consider periodically moving the decoys around or pairing them with other deterrent methods to keep birds guessing.

6. Moveable Scarecrow

Moveable Scarecrow
Image by
FactorMoveable Scarecrow
Ease of InstallationModerate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsLow to moderate, depending on materials needed
Possible RisksLimited effectiveness over time

A moveable scarecrow is a dynamic and adaptable deterrent that mimics the presence of predators in your garden. It involves creating a scarecrow that can be repositioned periodically to maintain its effectiveness.

How Moveable Scarecrow Works

Birds are naturally cautious about things that might harm them, like owls or hawks. If you put a scarecrow in your garden that you can move around, it tricks the birds into thinking there’s a predator nearby. 

To make this work better, just remember to change the scarecrow’s position sometimes, so the birds don’t get used to it being there. This helps keep the birds away from your garden.

Benefits of Using a Moveable Scarecrow

The moveable scarecrow offers a visually impactful solution to bird problems. Its adaptability ensures that birds don’t get accustomed to its presence, maintaining its effectiveness over time. 

This method is relatively cost-effective and doesn’t require continuous intervention once the initial scarecrow is set up. Plus, it adds a charming and rustic vibe to your garden.

Planter’s Tips

Although movable scarecrows can work well, their effectiveness might decrease over time as birds figure out that they aren’t really a danger. 

To make them work better, think about using them along with other things that can keep birds away, and make sure to change how they look or where they’re placed often. This will help keep the birds guessing and more cautious.

7. Whirling Pinwheels

Whirling Pinwheels
Image by Now Habersham

FactorWhirling Pinwheels
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow
Possible RisksNone

Whirling pinwheels are colorful, rotating devices that create motion and noise when exposed to wind. They serve as an effective visual and auditory deterrent to keep birds away from your tomato plants.

How Whirling Pinwheels Work

Spinning pinwheels serve a dual purpose in deterring birds. Their vibrant colors and spinning motion startle birds, causing uncertainty about approaching.

On top of that, the spinning pinwheels generate additional noise. This contributes to the birds’ discomfort, reinforcing their wariness to draw near your tomatoes.

Benefits of Using Whirling Pinwheels

Whirling pinwheels offer a simple yet impactful solution for bird deterrence. They are easy to set up and require minimal maintenance, as they rely on wind to create motion. 

Whirling pinwheels are also a visually appealing addition to your garden, adding a touch of decoration while serving a practical purpose.

Planter’s Tips

Make sure to put the pinwheels where they can catch lots of wind, like on stakes or in open spaces. Remember to keep an eye on them and make sure nothing is blocking them and stopping them from spinning.

8. Floating Row Covers

Floating Row Covers
Image by University of Maryland Extension
FactorFloating Row Covers
Ease of InstallationSimple to Moderate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow to moderate, depending on materials needed
Possible RisksMay require additional support

Floating row covers are lightweight fabric sheets that provide a protective barrier over your tomato plants. These covers allow sunlight, air, and water to reach your plants while safeguarding them from bird damage.

How Floating Row Covers Work

We recommend using these lightweight covers over the tomato plants, fastening them to the ground with stakes or weights. These covers form a protective barrier, keeping birds away from the delicious tomatoes. 

Not only that, but the fabric also shields the plants from bad weather and certain pests, ensuring your tomatoes can grow undisturbed.

Benefits of Using Floating Row Covers

Floating row covers are a smart way to keep birds away from your plants. These covers do a great job of keeping out birds while still letting sunlight and water get to your plants. 

An additional advantage? They even shield your plants from bad weather, frost, and a few insects or infestations!

These covers are relatively easy to install and require minimal maintenance, making them a convenient option for gardeners.

Planter’s Tips

In some cases, the covers may need additional support to prevent them from directly touching the tomato plants. Make sure the covers are securely anchored to avoid damaging the plants as they grow.

9. Birdbaths and Feeders Away from Tomatoes

Birdbaths and Feeders Away from Tomatoes
Image by Perky-Pet
FactorBirdbaths and Feeders Away from Tomatoes
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow, depending on materials needed
Possible RisksIncreased bird activity near feeders

This approach includes setting up inviting spots where birds can eat and bathe, perfectly positioned away from your tomato plants. 

Not only are you distracting them with some love, but you’re also guarding your tomatoes from your avian visitors!

How Birdbaths and Feeders Away from Tomatoes Work

Placing birdbaths and bird feeders in another part of your garden shifts the focus of birds away from your tomato plants. Birds will be attracted to the feeders and birdbaths, which provide seeds, water, and places for bathing.

By meeting their requirements in a different spot, they’re less likely to explore your tomato section.

Benefits of Using Birdbaths and Feeders Away from Tomatoes

This method not only protects your tomatoes but also helps create a friendly garden environment. Birds do play a big part in helping plants grow and keeping pests away, so inviting them to your garden can really help your plants stay healthy.

And besides that, the bird baths and feeders make your garden look nice and give you a fun place to watch birds.

Planter’s Tips

Although birdbaths and feeders can work well, be careful about where you put them. If they’re placed too near your tomato plants, they could end up attracting extra birds to the area!

If you do this, it might end up going against what you’re trying to do in the first place. Instead, choose a spot that’s a good distance away from your tomato plants, but where you can still easily see the birds coming and going.

10. Physical Barriers

Physical Barriers
Image by Family Handyman
FactorPhysical Barriers
Ease of InstallationModerate to Difficult ●●●●○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsModerate to high, depending on preferred materials
Possible RisksRisk of damaging plants

Guard your tomatoes like the precious edible treasures that they are! Shielding your tomato plants is crucial. 

You can do this by setting up cages or wire mesh around them. These barriers act as shields, stopping birds from getting to the fruit and causing harm.

How Physical Barriers Work

You can make cages or build wire mesh to keep birds from investigating and devouring your tomatoes. These barriers will keep those curious and hungry birds from pecking at your tomatoes.

Just make sure to plan these barriers well. Check that they’re firmly in place and allow enough room for your tomato plants to grow without letting the birds near.

Benefits of Using Physical Barriers

Using physical barriers is a great way to protect your tomato plants, especially the bigger ones. These barriers act like shields, keeping birds from your precious tomatoes. 

And guess what? These cages and shields even help with keeping away other pests like squirrels and rabbits. Cool, right?

Planter’s Tips

When you’re setting up barriers in your garden, you have to find the right balance. This means finding the delicate line between keeping things safe and taking care of your plants. 

Make sure you give enough room for your tomato plants to grow by placing the barriers with adequate space. Remember, regularly check for any damage or if things need to be adjusted to make sure this method works well.

11. Netting and Netting Alternatives

Netting and Netting Alternatives
Image by Tomato Bible
FactorNetting and Netting Alternatives
Ease of InstallationModerate to Difficult ●●●●○
Maintenance LevelModerate
Estimated CostsLow to moderate, depending on preferred materials
Possible RisksPotential damage to delicate plants

Traditional bird nettings are available in many garden centers, but you can always one-up your avian feeders with other materials. 

Aside from traditional bird netting, you can explore alternative lightweight materials like cheesecloth or tulle to protect your tomato plants from birds.

How Netting and Netting Alternatives Work

Cheesecloth and tulle are pretty much plant-friendly fabrics. They let sunlight, air, and water come in, but they also create a shield that keeps pesky birds away from your yummy tomatoes. 

You can just drape these fabrics over your plants, and voila! Your plants stay safe without feeling cramped. 

The tiny holes in the cloth stop birds from nibbling on your precious fruits, so your harvest stays perfect.

Benefits of Using Netting and Netting Alternatives

You have plenty of options nowadays instead of just sticking with the usual bird netting. Newer alternatives give you more flexibility. 

These choices are lighter and gentler on delicate plants, so you don’t have to worry about them getting harmed. They’re also better at letting sunlight through, which your tomato plants need to grow well. 

Plus, these alternatives are simple to take off and move around when you need to water or trim your plants.

Planter’s Tips

While considering these options, remember that certain lightweight materials might lack the durability of heavy-duty netting. Take care when you handle them and set them up to avoid tears. 

Also, regularly inspect for signs of damage to make sure they effectively protect your crops throughout the growing season.

12. Windchimes

Image by Housing
Ease of InstallationSimple to Moderate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow to moderate, depending on preferred item
Possible RisksNone

Utilizing innovative windchimes involves hanging strategically designed windchimes in your tomato garden. These windchimes create unique sounds and visual patterns that deter birds from approaching your tomato plants.

How Windchimes Work

Windchimes come in a variety of innovative materials, shapes, and sizes. They’re crafted to deter birds using multiple senses. 

As the windchimes move, they produce tinkling sounds that break the garden’s calmness. This discomforts birds and discourages them from lingering. 

The visual elements of these windchimes, along with their unexpected noises, also establish an unpredictable atmosphere that birds naturally steer clear of.

Benefits of Using Windchimes

New and creative windchimes are a cool way to keep your tomato plants safe. They don’t just scare away birds – they also look pretty in your garden. 

These windchimes can make your outdoor area feel even nicer by giving you a relaxing and special sound.

Planter’s Tips

When you’re picking wind chimes, think about how they’ll look in your garden and how much noise they’ll make. It’s all about finding the right balance. 

Tread between scaring off birds while keeping your garden peaceful. And if you’re in a city, a crowded area, or in a community with policies and guidelines, remember to follow any noise rules they have there!

13. Late Harvesting

Late Harvesting
Image by Garden City Harvest
FactorLate Harvesting
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow
Possible RisksSlightly reduced flavor

Late harvesting involves allowing some of your tomatoes to ripen off the vine, deterring birds by reducing the bright colors that attract them. Once the tomatoes have started to show their colors, you can pick them and let them fully ripen indoors.

How Late Harvesting Works

Birds are attracted to the colorful hues of ripe tomatoes, which signal that the fruit is ready to eat. By picking tomatoes that have started to show color but are not fully ripe, you can prevent birds from targeting them. 

These partially ripened tomatoes can then be brought indoors to fully mature away from the garden, minimizing the chance of bird damage.

Benefits of Late Harvesting

Late harvesting offers a simple and effective way to protect your tomatoes from bird predation. By removing the enticing colors from the garden, you reduce the temptation for birds to feed on your tomatoes. 

Allowing your tomatoes to ripen off the vine also allows you to control the ripening process and ensure that you harvest perfectly ripe, unblemished fruits.

Planter’s Tips

While late harvesting can be effective, it’s important to note that tomatoes might not develop the same depth of flavor as those left to ripen on the vine. However, the trade-off is worthwhile in preventing bird damage and enjoying a greater portion of your harvest.

14. Scented Deterrents

Scented Deterrents
Image by Twincraft Skincare
FactorScented Deterrents
Ease of InstallationSimple ●○○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow to moderate, depending on materials needed
Possible RisksStrong scents may affect garden

Scented deterrents involve using scents that birds find unpleasant to discourage them from approaching your tomato plants. Items like scented soap bars or cotton balls soaked in essential oils can be strategically placed around the garden.

How Scented Deterrents Work

Birds have a keen sense of smell, and certain scents can be repulsive to them. By placing scented items like soap bars or essential oil-soaked cotton balls near your tomato plants, you create an aroma that birds will avoid. 

The strong scents interfere with their ability to locate food and feel comfortable in the area.

Benefits of Using Scented Deterrents

Scented deterrents offer a non-intrusive way to keep birds away from your tomato plants. They are easy to set up and require minimal maintenance. 

Plus, these deterrents can serve a dual purpose by adding a pleasant aroma to your garden and acting as a decorative element. This is pretty environmentally friendly and safe for both plants and birds.

Planter’s Tips

While scented deterrents are effective, be cautious not to overdo it with extremely strong scents, as they might also deter beneficial insects or interfere with the growth of nearby plants. 

Strike a good balance between deterring birds and maintaining a healthy garden ecosystem. When you find it, you’ll have fewer hungry birds around!

15. Companion Planting

Companion Planting
Image by WVU Extension – West Virginia University
FactorCompanion Planting
Ease of InstallationSimple to Moderate ●●○○○
Maintenance LevelLow
Estimated CostsLow
Possible RisksCompatibility between plants

Companion planting involves strategically placing certain plants near your tomato crops to promote their growth and deter pests, including birds. 

Some companion plants release scents or compounds that repel birds, creating a protective environment for your tomatoes.

How Companion Planting Works

By picking plant partners that naturally keep birds away, you’re building a varied garden world that puzzles and stops birds from hanging around your tomato plants.

Take marigolds and sunflowers, for example. They can repel birds with their smell and sizable presence. 

These plants play guardian to your tomatoes, making it less likely for birds to cause trouble.

Benefits of Companion Planting

Companion planting not only deters birds but also enhances your garden’s health. Some companion plants attract beneficial insects that prey on pests, providing an extra layer of protection for your tomato plants. 

This approach promotes biodiversity, minimizes the need for chemical interventions, and fosters a balanced ecosystem within your garden.

Planter’s Tips

When you’re practicing companion planting, think about how well plants get along based on how they grow, their need for light, and the type of soil they prefer. Certain plant pairs can work together like a team, while others might end up in a resource competition. 

While we can provide very helpful suggestions, it’s still best to do your homework and carefully arrange your garden layout to make sure your companion plants and tomatoes live together peacefully.

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