Sunday 11 June 2017

Building a fruit tree cage

Last weekend I'd scheduled work to build a fruit tree cage for the cherry tree on the orchard. Last year we lost all of the fruit overnight to birds. I'd taken delivery of a length of suitable fish net material - 19mm holes constructed from braided polypropylene twine in the previous week.  However when I measured the size of the tree last weekend, my dreams of it being a quick job evaporated,  To enclose the tree I need a cage 10ft x 10ft x 11ft high (3M x 3M x 3.3M). Fortunately I had ordered sufficient netting in advance from Collins Nets.

I calculated the timber need to build the cage. I had a bit of a shock when I realised how much was required, allowing for off-cut wastage. It was time to go to the local timber yard to buy some pressure treated two by one battens. The supplier is a lot less expensive than the major DIY chains, but it is cash only and prices are not marked on the shelves.  Five metres is the minimum length they sell in this thickness of wood (25 x 50 mm). I needed ten lengths to build the cage, each length weighing about four Kg. Fortunately I had invested in a roof rack for my Audi A6 and the car body is long enough to legally carry five metre lengths.

I'm busy with my business and other project work at the moment, but managed to find the time in my basement workshop to build the components of the frame. The work was complicated by the long length of the component struts. I had to move some of the machines around to cater for the lengths. I've designed it so there are push fit joints with galvanised coach bolts to secure the joints. It will have to be assembled and "netted" on site. I want something reasonably robust so we can move the (40 Kg) cage for grass mowing and fruit picking, but capable of disassembly at the end of season for storage.

I was ready to go to the orchard this morning to set it up, but we woke to a poorly dog with diarrhoea, so I can't come out to "play".  The Gods conspire. Ah well, I'll do the work during the week.

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