Putting netting over your household fruit trees and vegetable gardens can protect them from being eaten by birds and other wildlife before you have the chance to pick them, however netting poses a threat to wildlife.
The Victorian Government is introducing new regulations about the size of the mesh used in domestic netting. These will come into effect on 1 September 2021 to protect our birds and other wildlife from injury and death.
It will be mandatory for any netting used to protect household fruit-trees, vegetable gardens, or other fruiting plants to have a mesh size, when at full stretch, of no greater than 5mm x 5mm.
Any household fruit netting that does not meet these new rules must be replaced before 1 September 2021. If you plan to buy new netting this year, make sure that it meets the new rules.
When the time comes to get rid of your old netting, remember to place it in a strong bag before putting it into landfill. This prevents it from becoming a risk before it is buried at the landfill site.
An alternative to netting is to put fruit bags over individual branches. This protects the fruit you can reach while leaving some available for our hungry urban wildlife.