08 February 2013

Easy Pot Possum-proofing

Apples almost ready to pick.
Here's an easy way to possum or bird-proof a fruit tree in a pot.  I originally just had the netting hanging over the tree but found the weight was distorting the shape of the branches. 

What you'll need:
4 Bamboo stakes * (see note below)
19mm irrigation tubing (or whatever size you have handy)
Netting - enough to cover your tree
Clothes pegs

Step ladder

* Note: You'll notice I used two bamboo stakes and a ladder-shaped iron trellis, really anything that your tubing fits onto is fine. Tomato stakes would be okay for a smaller tree but you would need to use a larger diameter irrigation tubing to fit onto the ends.

Step One:
Place stakes in a square shape in your pot.  Put them as close to the edge as possible so you don't damage the roots of your tree. I placed two of them in a garden bed next to the pot to give the netting more height.  Make sure they are in deep enough so they support the weight of the netting and won't fall over.

Step Two:
Before you cut your tubing, attach one end to the end of one bamboo stake and make an arch to the bamboo in the opposite corner. Work out how long you need it to be to make a solid arch that holds the bamboo in place. Cut the tubing to the correct size and remove it. 

I had to get up on a step ladder to do this so please be careful! Move the step ladder to the other side of the pot if it's a big pot like this rather than trying to reach....disaster waiting to happen!

Step Three:
Cut another length of tubing to the size you have just measured and attach them in a cross shape to the four ends of the stake. You now have a frame for your netting.

Step Three: attaching the tubing
Step Three from the other side
Step Four:
Toss the netting over the frame and gently pull it evenly around the tree so it covers all the brances. Use the clothes pegs to close it up around the trunk and branches. I like using pegs instead of ties because they are easy to remove to adjust the net if needed as the tree grows and to get to the fruit when it's ready to pick.
The netting is on, next step is to use pegs to close up any critter entry points underneath.

Clothes pegs hold the netting closed and are easy to remove to get to your fruit.
Voila! Easy peasy. You could adapt this to any size pot and use it in a garden bed too.

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