Another post about roses this morning, but this is a problem that can affect the entire garden. Amy in WA is having trouble with ‘twenty-eight parrots’ nipping leaves and new growth from her treasured rose bushes. I understand how annoying some parrots can be as sulphur-crested cockatoos used to bite through the stems of my flowering flag irises and leave the garden littered with damaged flowers.
Twenty-eight parrots are a sub-species of the very inquisitive Port Lincoln parrot that inhabits south-western and central Australia. Amy has tried a variety of methods of deterring these pesky parrots and is now resorting to netting the roses but wants to be able to access the plants.
To be effective in protecting foliage and crops from large birds, the netting will have to sit at least 20 cm clear of the foliage and be strongly supported. We have found that hoops of 49 mm flexible irrigation pipe are very effective supports for netting (and shadecloth), and allow access to crops for watering, progressive harvesting, feeding etc. The arches are left in position permanently so that plant protection can be provided quickly when needed.
To make the hoops, measure across the area you want to protect and add 40 cm to the width (20 cm clearance each side) to give you the width (diameter) of the arch. Use a calculator to multiply this measurement by 1.6. The result is the measurement of an arch of that width. Add 75 cm to that measurement to allow for slipping the ends of the arch onto wooden garden stakes as shown in the photo. For example, if the bed is 120 cm wide, adding 40 cm gives you a width of 160 cm. Multiplying 160 by 1.6 equals 256 cm; adding 75 cm equals 331 cm, but 330 cm, or 3.3 m. is close enough. Pipe is cut into 3.3 m for each hoop.
If you also want to make shadecloth covers for beds see: Sun and heat protection
P.S. Someone advised me that attaching a large ‘red nose’ (these were produced for vehicles for ‘Red Nose Day’) to a fence near the irises would keep the cockatoos away as they think there is a large eye watching them – and it worked! They didn’t bother my garden again. These ‘red noses’ are no longer available but you could try painting an old basketball bright red, or using a red balloon on a string.