How To Keep Birds Out Of Arborvitae

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Susan Levitt

Are you tired of seeing your arborvitae trees being used as a playground for birds? As an arborist, I understand the frustration that comes with trying to maintain the health and beauty of these evergreen shrubs while also keeping pesky birds out. Fortunately, there are several effective methods you can use to protect your arborvitae from bird damage.

One solution is to install visual deterrents such as reflective tape or shiny objects around your trees. These items will reflect sunlight and create a flashing effect that will deter birds from landing on or near your arborvitae. Another method is using netting to physically block access to the tree branches. This option requires more effort but can be quite effective in keeping birds away from your beloved plants. In this article, we’ll explore various tips and tricks for how to keep birds out of arborvitae so that you can enjoy healthy and beautiful greenery all year round!

Understanding The Problem: Why Birds Damage Arborvitae

As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. The same principle applies to keeping birds away from your arborvitae trees. Understanding why birds damage these plants can help you take preventive measures before it’s too late.

Arborvitae are a favorite nesting place for many bird species, including cedar waxwings and robins. These birds often strip off the bark of the branches to create their nests. Additionally, they may peck at the foliage or fruit in search of food. While this behavior doesn’t necessarily kill the tree outright, it can weaken its structure over time.

Prevention measures include using physical barriers like netting or mesh around the base of the tree to prevent birds from accessing it. Another option is to install scare devices like reflective tape or fake predators that deter birds from landing on your arborvitae. It’s important to note that some methods may not work effectively for all bird species.

To determine which approach works best for your situation, it’s essential first to identify which bird species target your arborvitae. This information will help you choose specific prevention strategies tailored to those particular species’ behaviors and preferences.

Identifying The Birds That Target Arborvitae

Understanding the problem of why birds damage arborvitae is important for finding a solution to keep them out. However, it’s also essential to identify the specific bird species that target arborvitae in order to implement an effective plan.

Common species that are known to cause damage include cedar waxwings, robins, and finches. These birds eat the fruit or small insects found on arborvitae and can strip the tree bare if left unchecked. Knowing their behavior patterns helps us create a deterrent strategy that works best for each species.

Protecting other plants from these birds is also crucial. They may not only damage your arborvitae but also nearby trees, shrubs, and vegetables. We aim to find solutions that don’t harm these beautiful creatures while still keeping them away from our precious greenery.

One effective method of deterring birds is using visual deterrents like reflective tape and shiny objects. These items reflect light and create movement, scaring off most birds without causing any harm. It’s essential to place them strategically around the area where you want to protect your plants so they can be seen by flying birds at different angles.

Using visual deterrents: reflective tape and shiny objects, has proven successful in keeping unwanted birds away from your garden space without harming them or your beloved plants. The key is understanding which birds are causing problems and implementing a targeted approach that addresses their behaviors specifically. By doing this, we can maintain healthy relationships with nature while protecting our gardens from unnecessary destruction caused by pesky feathered friends!

Using Visual Deterrents: Reflective Tape And Shiny Objects

Visual deterrents can be an effective way to keep birds out of your arborvitae. Reflective tape and shiny objects are two DIY options that you can try. Birds are naturally scared of bright, flashing lights and reflective materials.

Reflective tape is easy to install and can be tied around the branches of your arborvitae trees. The movement of the tape in the wind will create a flickering effect that scares away birds. You could also hang some shiny objects like old CDs or aluminum cans on strings from the tree’s branches.

If DIY options don’t work for you, there are professional services available that use visual deterrents to keep birds away from your garden plants and trees. Some companies offer bird control solutions such as nets, spikes, and repellant sprays designed specifically for deterring birds.

Using visual deterrents alone may not always be enough to keep all types of birds at bay. If you’ve tried these methods without success, it might be time to consider employing sound deterrents instead. Wind chimes and scarecrows are two popular choices that have been known to help deter birds effectively.

Employing Sound Deterrents: Wind Chimes And Scarecrows

As we discussed in the previous section, visual deterrents can be effective at keeping birds away from your arborvitae. However, if you find that these methods are not working for you, it may be time to consider using sound deterrents instead.

Wind chimes are a popular DIY option for creating noise that birds will find unpleasant. Hang them on or near your arborvitae and let the breeze do the rest. Not only do wind chimes make a pleasant sound for humans, but they also create an irritating din for birds.

Another creative scarecrow idea is to use old CDs or DVDs as reflective surfaces that move with the wind. Simply string them up around your arborvitae and watch as they reflect light and spin in the breeze, scaring off any bird visitors.

When it comes to effectiveness of sound deterrents, keep in mind that different types of birds may respond differently. Some species may be scared off by loud noises while others aren’t affected at all. It’s important to experiment with different sounds until you find what works best for your particular situation.

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Incorporating both visual and sound deterrents into your strategy will increase your chances of success in keeping birds out of your arborvitae. In addition to these tactics, providing alternative food sources such as bird feeders and birdbaths elsewhere in your yard can help redirect hungry feathered friends away from your prized plants without causing harm.

Providing Alternative Food Sources: Bird Feeders And Birdbaths

Birds are a beautiful addition to any garden, but they can also cause damage to arborvitae trees. If you want to keep birds out of your arborvitae, providing alternative food sources is an effective solution. By offering bird feeders and birdbaths, you can attract birds away from your trees while still enjoying their presence in your yard.

DIY feeders are one option for attracting birds away from your arborvitae. These can be made easily with household items like plastic bottles or milk cartons. Fill them with seeds or other types of bird food and watch as the birds flock to them instead of your trees. Bird-friendly landscaping is another way to provide alternative food sources for birds. Planting flowering shrubs and fruit-bearing trees will encourage birds to visit those areas instead of damaging your arborvitae.

Another alternative source of food for birds is birdbaths. Birds need water not only for drinking but also for bathing, so adding a birdbath to your garden will attract them away from your trees. Make sure to change the water frequently and clean the basin regularly to prevent disease transmission among the visiting avian creatures.

While providing alternative food sources may help keep birds away from your arborvitae, it might not always work since some species find these evergreens irresistible. In such cases, applying repellents like spices, sprays, and gels could be necessary. There are several natural options available in stores that won’t harm humans or animals when used appropriately- let’s explore them further below.

Applying Repellents: Spices, Sprays, And Gels

When it comes to keeping birds out of arborvitae, there are a few natural alternatives that can be used instead of harmful chemicals. DIY solutions such as homemade sprays and gels made from spices like cinnamon or clove oil have proven effective in deterring birds from damaging the foliage.

Sprays can be made by mixing water with essential oils and spraying onto the leaves. Gels can be created using cornstarch mixed with water and various spices before being applied directly to the tree branches. These methods not only repel birds but also provide a pleasant scent around your garden.

Other natural alternatives include hanging reflective objects such as CDs or mirrors near the trees to scare away birds or installing bird feeders at a distance from the arborvitae. However, these methods may attract other wildlife to your yard, so they should be used cautiously.

By utilizing these natural alternatives and following proper application techniques, you can effectively deter birds without causing harm to them or your plants. In the next section, we will discuss how physical barriers such as netting and mesh can further protect your arborvitae from bird damage.

Installing Physical Barriers: Netting And Mesh

Physical barriers such as netting or mesh can be effective in keeping birds out of arborvitae. One method is to install poles around the perimeter of the tree, creating a frame-like structure to support the netting. This creates a barrier between the birds and the foliage, preventing them from landing on or accessing it.

Using screens is another option for protecting your arborvitae trees from bird damage. These can be attached directly onto the tree using hooks or clips, creating a tight seal around the trunk and branches. The screen should be placed at least two feet away from any part of the tree to prevent birds from reaching through gaps.

When installing physical barriers, make sure they are properly secured to ensure effectiveness. The last thing you want is for a strong gust of wind to blow away your protective measures! Check regularly for any signs of wear and tear, and replace damaged parts immediately.

By implementing these methods, you will greatly reduce the chances of bird damage to your arborvitae trees. In addition to physical barriers, there are also pruning and trimming techniques that can help further protect your trees which we will discuss in more detail in the subsequent section.

Pruning And Trimming Techniques To Reduce Damage

Like a fortress, netting and mesh can provide an impenetrable barrier against bird intrusion. However, physical barriers may not always be practical or aesthetically pleasing for arborvitae owners. For those who prefer natural solutions to keep birds away from their beloved trees, pruning and trimming techniques are worth considering.

Proper timing is crucial when it comes to pruning arborvitae. Ideally, pruning should only take place during the dormant season in late winter or early spring before new growth begins. This practice will minimize damage to the tree’s foliage and allow ample time for healing wounds caused by cutting branches. Pruning tools such as hand pruners, loppers, and saws should also be sharp and clean to avoid causing further injury to the tree.

When executed correctly, pruning can improve airflow and sunlight penetration through the canopy of arborvitae while reducing overcrowding that attracts birds seeking shelter or nesting sites. Trimming lower branches can also prevent easy access points for pests like squirrels that climb up trunks looking for food sources.

While effective in deterring bird activity temporarily, both netting/meshing and pruning/trimming are short-term solutions that require maintenance on an ongoing basis. To address long-term issues with bird infestation in your garden ecosystem, habitat modification and companion planting strategies must be employed alongside these methods.

Transition: As much as proper pruning technique requires expertise from experienced hands; long-term control measures demand even more dedication from responsible landowners willing to make changes beyond the obvious fixes mentioned above.

Long-Term Solutions: Habitat Modification And Companion Planting

To effectively keep birds out of arborvitae, it is important to consider long-term solutions such as habitat modification and companion planting. These methods help in creating an environment that discourages the presence of birds.

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Companion planting involves growing plants that act as a deterrent to birds around your arborvitae. Some examples include marigolds, lavender, and rosemary. These plants have strong scents or prickly leaves that make them unattractive to birds. Another effective method is to plant tall grasses or shrubs nearby, providing a barrier between the arborvitae and the bird’s landing zone.

Habitat modification entails changing the environment surrounding the arborvitae to discourage bird habitation. One way this can be achieved is by pruning lower branches off trees surrounding the area so there are fewer places for birds to perch near your arborvitae. Additionally, removing any food sources like fruit trees will also encourage birds to look elsewhere for nourishment.

Another option is installing physical barriers like netting over your arborvitae. Although not aesthetically pleasing, they can provide consistent protection against invading birds.

Overall, adopting these strategies will create a less welcoming environment for unwanted avian visitors while fostering positive growth in your garden through companion planting. By implementing these tactics together with routine maintenance practices, you’ll be able to enjoy healthy and vibrant arborvitaes without having to worry about destructive bird activity.

  • Consider adding colorful flowers like zinnias or dahlias near your arborvitae; their bright hues add visual appeal.
  • Use old CDs or reflective tape hung from tree limbs surrounding the area as a scare tactic
  • Keep areas around arboretum free of debris: Leaves and other litter attract insects which then attracts hungry birds
  • Install fake predators like plastic owls or snakes on fence posts nearby

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take For The Visual Deterrents To Work?

Did you know that arborvitae is a popular nesting spot for birds? Unfortunately, this can cause damage to the foliage and branches of your trees. To combat this issue, many people turn to visual deterrents such as reflective tape or fake owls. However, it’s important to evaluate their effectiveness before investing in these solutions. According to studies, it can take up to two weeks for birds to become accustomed to visual deterrents and return to their usual nesting spots. If you’re looking for alternative solutions, consider using netting or pruning back the tree’s lower branches. As an arborist, I recommend taking a multi-faceted approach when keeping birds out of your beloved arborvitae trees.

Can I Use Ultrasonic Bird Repellents To Keep Birds Out Of My Arborvitae?

Ultrasonic bird repellents have gained popularity in recent years as a solution for keeping birds away from gardens and crops. While they may work well for some types of birds, it’s important to note that they can be less effective against others. Additionally, these devices emit high-frequency sound waves that may not be audible to humans but can still irritate pets and other animals. As an arborist or horticulturist, I would recommend using more natural solutions such as bird netting or visual deterrents like shiny objects or scarecrows to keep birds out of your garden, including your arborvitae plants. These methods are environmentally friendly and do not pose any risks to other wildlife or household pets.

Will Applying Repellents Harm The Arborvitae Or Other Plants Nearby?

When considering solutions for bird control, it’s important to take into account the potential environmental impact of repellents. While some alternatives like netting or scare devices may be effective in deterring birds without causing harm to nearby plants, chemical-based options could pose a risk to both the arborvitae and other flora in the vicinity. As an arborist or horticulturist, it’s crucial to prioritize the health and wellbeing of all plant life when selecting a course of action for managing pest problems.

How Do I Know If The Birds Damaging My Arborvitae Are Protected Species?

Legal implications must be considered when identifying the birds that are damaging your arborvitae. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects over 1,000 bird species in North America and prohibits their disturbance or harm without a permit. It is important to properly identify the bird species before taking any action to prevent damage to your plants. Consult with a local wildlife agency or biologist for guidance on identification and legal requirements.

What Types Of Plants Can I Companion Plant With Arborvitae To Deter Birds?

Companion planting benefits not only the plants themselves but also other nearby vegetation and wildlife. Certain plant species can act as natural bird deterrents, making them a great addition to your garden or landscape design. When considering companion plants for arborvitae, it’s important to choose ones that have similar growing conditions and needs. Some options include lavender, rosemary, and thyme, which are known for their strong aromas that birds dislike. Additionally, marigolds and nasturtiums can provide beautiful blooms while deterring pests with their pungent scent. Overall, incorporating these types of plants around arborvitae can create a more diverse and dynamic ecosystem while also protecting your trees from damage by unwanted bird activity.


In conclusion, keeping birds out of your arborvitae is not an easy task. While visual deterrents can be effective, it may take some time for the birds to get used to them. Ultrasonic bird repellents may work, but they are not foolproof and can disturb other wildlife in the area. It’s important to consider any potential harm that repellents or companion plants could cause to your arborvitae or nearby flora.

As a professional arborist, I recommend researching whether any birds damaging your arborvitae are protected species before taking action. If they are, you’ll need to find alternative methods of deterring them without causing harm. Companion planting with certain types of plants can also help deter birds from eating your arborvitae.

In short, protecting your arborvitae from birds requires patience and careful consideration of all available options. With the right approach, however, you can keep these beautiful trees healthy and thriving for years to come.

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