This is a note for those with fruit cages or other crop protection netting.
Is your crop protection secure against snow?
2 years ago, when we had a heavy snowfall with large flakes, several fruit cages and other nettings were brought down by the weight of snow, which did not pass through the standard fruit cage mesh.
If it can be done easily, it is worth removing the netting from fruit cages after all fruit has been harvested. Fruit trees and bushes do not need bird protection through the winter and in fact may benefit from the attentions of small birds; blue tits, robins etc. eating overwintering pests.
Alternatively internal supports, which may be temporary, can be used to give extra support to the roof in anticipation of snow.
On my own plot, the fruit cage is roofed with ‘pea and bean netting’. This has a larger mesh, and snow is less likely to build up on it.
With the hanging of a few old CDs it adequately protected the fruit.
Brassicas will need protecting from pigeons all through the winter, and especially when the ground is snow covered. Walk in tunnels should be made sufficiently robust with extra bracing to withstand the build up of snow. However plotholders would do well to visit their plots on the morning after snowfalls, to knock off the any build up and make repairs.
Small tunnel nets may collapse onto mature plants without much harm, as long as they are reset as the snow melts and before the pigeons find the gaps.
Birds are very good at finding their way into cages and tunnels, but much less good at finding their way out; particulaly when frightened. Secure edges and joins will make it less likely that they get in. An easily opened exit will make it easier to shoo them out.