How to Choose Your Fruit Cage

How to Choose Your Fruit Cage

Choosing the right cage need not be a daunting task - there are just a few key considerations to make sure you find the right fruit cage for you.

Growing your own fruit can be incredibly rewarding - planning your planting, enjoying caring for the crop and anticipating the tasty harvest from your kitchen garden. But any seasoned gardener will tell you that the right fruit cage and netting will make the whole process much more rewarding without the worry of losing out to the birds just as everything begins to ripen!

So to help get you off to the best start we've created a simple guide to fruit cages, what makes each one unique and how to find the right choice for your garden.

How to use a fruit cage

Fruit cages are  designed to protect fruit-bearing bushes from birds, rodents and other garden pests. They make a great focus for a kitchen garden or allotment and can be laid out to accommodate a range of fruit bushes and plants.

Birds, insects, overly-inquisitive pets and, depending on your location, larger animals such as deer, can disrupt the growing process by damaging emerging fruit buds as well as feasting on your crops before you get the chance to harvest them.

Learn all about Knowle Nets Fruit and Vegetable Cages in our latest video:

What types of fruit cages can I get from Knowle Nets?

Knowle Nets fruit cages are available in a range of styles and sizes, handcrafted in our Bristol warehouse from high quality galvanised steel or aluminium.

Walk-in fruit cages

A walk-in fruit cage is a spacious option for gardeners who like to get up-close and personal with their crops and creates a great sheltered environment to work in.

A full height door makes access to plants with tools easy and allows you to take a wheelbarrow into the cage for simple removal of any waste from weeding and pruning.


  • Plentiful space for high-growing crops
  • Sizeable work space you can move around in freely 
  • Cage door for easy entry and exit
  • Ground plates for added stability 


  • Sturdy 2m tall round tubular framework 
  • Galvanised inside and out
  • Upright poles 25.4mm for a strong and weatherproof frame
  • Roof poles 22.2mm to prevent sagging or bending
  • Sturdy rust resistant Lock Tight joints that won’t loosen over time 

Knowle Nets Walk In Fruit Cages are available in Aluminium and Steel.

Low fruit cages

Low fruit cages are perfect for low growing fruit crops such as Blueberries and Gooseberries.


  • Compact roof design for low-growing fruit bushes 
  • Tight fitting net to redue risk of birds and animals becoming trapped


  • Sturdy 1.25m finished height 
  • 22mm round tubular framework
  • Sturdy rust resistant Lock Tight joints that won’t loosen over time

Knowle Nets Low Fruit Cages are available in Aluminium and Steel.

Strawberry cages

If you love growing your own strawberries at home, a purpose-built strawberry cage is the perfect choice. These cages are designed specifically with the height and spreading habit of strawberry plants in mind, featuring a square mesh duo-filament knotted netting. 


  • Low design for improved crop 
  • Removable net for easy access when crops need watering or picking 
  • Can be used with Fleece to protect plants from frost


  • Sturdy 0.45 finished height 
  • 12.7mm diameter aluminium tubing 
  • Simple Horti Ball connectors

Where to buy:

Strawberry cages are available to purchase here. 

Should I buy an aluminium or steel fruit cage?

Aluminium and steel are both excellent choices for a home or allotment fruit cage. 

Aluminium fruit cages are naturally lightweight, designed to be adjusted with minimal effort. Though lighter, they remain a robust option in all but the most exposed areas and are perfect for gardeners on a budget. 

Steel fruit cages are the ultimate durable, heavy-duty option for gardeners looking for a fruit cage that is both aesthetically pleasing as well as durable in all conditions. Knowle Nets steel fruit cages are crafted from high tensile strength galvanised steel and finished with an attractive matt black UV protective coating for the optimum resilience to rain and strong sunlight.

What size fruit cage should I buy?

The right fruit cage size depends on a number of factors: 

  • The size of your garden or allotment
  • Required workspace within your fruit cage 
  • Ground  suitability - A large fruit cage may need stabilising in sandy ground
  • What crops you’re planning to grow in your fruit cage 

Knowle Nets offer a bespoke fruit and vegetable cage service, so you can order the exact size and shape you need.

Once you start growing your own soft fruit you won't look back so we would always advise you opt for a cage that gives you room to expand your crop. Make sure you plan a layout that allows for plants to grow over time and also for the amount of growth they will put on each season.

You'll need to ensure there is space for you to get around each plant when harvesting the fruit and creating raised beds within your cage can help create optimum growing conditions for individual varieties.

Cages can also be useful for protecting seedlings and young plants before they are strong enough to plant out so consider giving yourself enough space for a 'nursery bed' within the space.

How tall should a fruit cage be?

Our walk-in fruit cages are 2m tall with a full height door - perfect for you to inspect your crops without bending or injuring your back. Stand straight and walk around easily in our 2m tall cages whilst keeping your medium sized and tall crops protected from birds or animals.

Best fruit cage netting

There is a wide range of netting available to suit all cages and keep your crops protected from every kind of pest, from tiny insects to determined deer. 

Our Premium Fruit Cage Netting is heat welded together. It is chemically inert and does not rot or absorb water. This type of netting is rot proof and UV stabilised.

Supplied with our fruit cages as side netting, this extruded type of net protects your plants from small birds like blackbirds or sparrows, and can deter other pests - the mesh allows invaluable pollinating insects to pass through. 

The mesh size is 16mm x 19mm, and approximately weight 60 grams per square metre. 

In order to achieve the best protection you will need to have a well fitting net with enough overlap at joins and around the base of your frame. This will ensure when you clip or peg the netting you’re not leading any gaps for pests to sneak through.

Securing your net well is important to prevent birds or small animals becoming caught in folds or loose edges. 

Fruit Cage Roof Net is a soft knitted net with 19mm diamond mesh.It can be easily placed and stretched over our cages for the perfect fit and easily removed in winter to prevent damage in harsh weather.

Made from black polyethylene which is less visible than other colours. Our nets are very strong and have high ultra-violet resistance, so will give many years service. 

What other types of fruit cage netting are there?

Our fruit cage netting is made from UV stabilised black polyethylene and comes in a range of styles: 

  • Premium Netting: Our standard fruit cage netting. Used to deter small birds such as blackbirds or sparrows
  • Woven Diamond Mesh: Easily stretchable woven fruit cage netting crafted from black polyethylene. Designed for protection from common garden pests
  • Moulded Mesh: Heavy duty moulded polythene design with some rigidity, making it the ideal side net to keep out cabbage white butterflies. Also useable as a roof net on smaller frames
  • Knotted Square: High quality, classic design heavy duty knotted square mesh netting. Ideal for protection from birds including chickens and ducks
  • Strawberry Net Duofilament Net (Knotted Square Mesh): Made from high tensile strength, UV stabilised, double stitch HDPE diamond mesh, our bird netting is soft to the touch and will protect your crops without harming the birds
  • Ultra Fine Mesh Netting: Ultra fine insect netting with small holes to enable you to grow fruit and vegetables free from insect damage including flea beetle, allium leaf miner and whitefly damage.

Choosing the right netting is integral to keeping your fruit bushes protected throughout the growing season. If you have any questions, please contact our customer service team for netting recommendations. 

At Knowle Nets we have a range of other garden netting available, including:

Bird Netting - Our bird nettings mesh size is either 19mm which is small enough to keep out all small birds but most importantly it will let pollinating insects through, or it is 50mm to specifically keep pigeons off vegetables in the winter but not allow too much snow to build up on the net. Use flexible nets stretched over frames or rigid nets to make vertical barriers.

Butterfly Netting - Featuring a mesh size of 8mm protects brassicas in particular from cabbage white butterflies which lay eggs on brassicas and the resulting caterpillars can devastate a crop. 
Insect Netting - A common netting used to keep insects such as carrot fly, onion fly and aphids off vegetable crops and house flies out of window openings.

Our ultra fine insect netting is a top quality garden netting with 0.8mm x 0.3mm holes which enable you to grow fruit and vegetables free from insect damage including flea beetle, allium leaf miner and whitefly damage.

It can also be used for your screening vents or greenhouse doors. Made from white polyethylene this net can be used on cloches to prevent insect, this can be used on cloches to prevent insect attacks.

We also offer high quality Coarse Mesh Insect Netting with a mesh size of 1.4mm x 1.4mm.

Poultry and Aviary Netting - Can be used to contain Chicken and Ducks in a run and small birds in an aviary or protect against them. Various sizes are available in woven or knotted net for the ultimate stength and durability.
Game Bird Netting - Used to control poultry or game birds – keeping them in or out!
Pond Netting - High quality duo-knotted pond netting for all gardens. A heavy-weight solution for the protection of pond life. 

What to look for in garden netting

A soft, more flexible netting is best for preventing smaller birds from getting into your cage. However, gardens prone to visits from rabbits and deer will benefit from the use of heavy duty moulded mesh on their cages. 

Aim to use a smaller mesh netting on the side of your fruit cage with larger mesh netting for the roof. This ensures birds can fly out of the roof of the cage in the event they do manage to breach your fruit cage through the side netting. 

Butterfly and insect netting is best used to protect crops and plants growing on the garden floor. Our insect netting is lightweight with an ultra-fine design, intended to gently rest on your plants without damaging them. It can also be used for your screening vents or greenhouse doors. Made from white polyethylene this net can be used on cloches to prevent insect attacks.

Butterfly netting is typically larger than insect netting, specially designed to prevent cabbage white butterflies from invading your cage. 

There are many different types of netting available, and finding the right one for your garden will depend on your fruit cage, location and project.

Fruit cage maintenance: Taking care of your fruit cage

At Knowle Nets we have over 50 years of experience and our cages are constructed from the highest quality materials so you can buy any style fruit cage from us with confidence:

Our fruit cages require little to no maintenance after assembly, whether you purchase an aluminium or steel option. Our netting is designed to be UV resistant, reducing the long-term impact of direct sunlight. 

To ensure your fruit cage remains in working condition for decades to come, replace any netting when necessary.

How long do fruit cages last?

Knowle Nets fruit cages are unique in that they have swaged ends to the top tubes, allowing poles to be joined directly. This results in a much stronger structure backed by our 10 year structural guarantee. 

How to build a Knowle Nets fruit cage

All our fruit and vegetable cages come with clear instructions and guidelines, with details on assembly. Please refer to the instructions which are included in your product packaging. 

If they are missing or you find it difficult to understand, call us on 01308 424342 and we'll help to guide you through the process. 

Consider your garden environment

Before purchasing a fruit cage and kicking off your grow project, make sure to consider the specifications and intricacies of your garden

What’s the weather like in your area?

Maxmising access to sunlight and shade during the appropriate seasons (more sunlight in early spring, access to shade as the warmer summer days come in) will help ensure the best results no matter which crops you are growing.

Generally, fruit trees, cane fruits and berry bushes will cope better in areas that receive plenty of sunlight. Plant your trees and large bushes to the north side of the cage, in a position where they aren’t shading smaller varieties. 

However, there will be occasions when some shade is beneficial especially in high summer months, so consider how you can provide this, either with shade casting plants, a parasol or a shading fabric. Stay vigilant of changing weather conditions to determine if you need additional protection for your fruit cage. 

Planting to your soil

Taking some time to consider your soil type and make any necessary adjustments before you grow can really improve your chances of success.

Most soft fruit you’ll be growing prefer slightly acidic soil. However, some, such as blueberries, will do much better in ericaceous compost, mulched regularly with materials such as pine needles or other acidic organic matter. 

To promote healthy growth, your fruit cage should be well prepared before planting. Ensure you provide well drained conditions with plenty of organic matter incorporated into the soil to help feed hungry cropping bushes. 

Likewise, a weed suppressing membrane can help maintain the condition of your beds. Bushes can be planted directly through fabric, but any ground cover​​ should be water permeable to prevent the soil from drying out. 

Companion planting

To help promote growth, consider placing herbs, flowers and other beneficial companion plants alongside your fruit bushes. These can aid fruit production, promote the arrival of pollinating insects and give nature a helping hand

Do you need planning permission for a fruit cage on an allotment?

As a non-permanent construction you do not need council permission to install a fruit cage on any allotment in the United Kingdom.  

However, we advise you read your local council’s allotment rules and terms of agreement regarding allotments including, specifically around cultivation, watering, fencing, gates and access. 

Fruit cages are a brilliant way for avid home gardeners to grow their own produce -an affordable and reliable way to consistently keep your crops safe and healthy throughout the growing season and add a productive focal point to your garden or allotment.  For more information browse our range of fruit and vegetable cages and explore our blog on planning your fruit cage layout.

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