There are many different types of netting available on the market. Something to consider is whether you need to protect the whole tree or just the individual fruit.
Netting systems that pose the most risk to wildlife are products that don’t pass “the finger test”, meaning the mesh has holes bigger than one centimetre. Ideally, the safest mesh to use has holes of 5mm or less. Netting that is loose or tattered and isn’t properly enclosed at the bottom of the tree, also may cause animals to become caught inside.
When installing netting, ensure the system is secured properly to the trunk of the tree or the ground, to prevent animals getting inside. Alternatively, attach the netting to a supporting frame to place over the tree. Fruit bags are also great for protecting individual fruit and are easier to manage too.
Look for Fruitsaver, Hailguard and Vegenet brands with the smaller netting holes.
It is important to remember to check your netting daily for wildlife and to contact the RSPCA if you find an injured animal.
The holes in this netting above are too large and birds, bats, snakes and other animals can get caught easily.
It is very important to store or dispose of netting properly, so that it doesn’t become a further hazard to wildlife and doesn’t end up in the environment as litter!