realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

Tag Archives: greengages

Pigeon damage

Because of shortage of fresh green growth, pigeons are causing a lot of damage to the developing blossoms of many different fruit trees, but in particular to plums and green gages. This will carry on until more attractive sources of food become available.

Without blossom, there can be no fruit set, and so no fruit! Therefore if damage is only slight, no action needs to be taken. If the cold period continues, pigeons are capable of literally stripping off all the blossom. Black cotton threads, woven through the flowering branches, will usually stop the damage. Just wind it around the tree (slip the spool onto a rod or dowel to make things simpler) so that the threads are about six inches apart. What happens is that the bird flies towards the tree, doesn’t see the thread, touches it with its wing, gets a fright, and flies off. No damage to the bird is done, and it helps save the blossom!

apple_blossom-1200

Pigeon damage on plums and greengages

Photo courtesy of Marle Hale/flickr.com

Photo courtesy of Marle Hale/flickr.com

It is at this time of the year, when the first newly emerging little leaves are a great attraction in all areas where pigeons are present in great numbers, where field rape is grown. The pigeons show a great desire to vary their food source. After having grazed the rape fields, the pigeons will move for a while to the nearest hedge cover. From that point they will attack any type of plum or green gage, severely damaging any blossom or young green leaves.

The net result is that the crop prospects of those trees will be set back greatly and may result in no crop at all. Anything that can be done to scare the pigeons away is worth trying. A mixture of various deterrents is better than just one. Click here to read about one method of protecting the trees.

The length of the period during which the trees are at risk will greatly depend on temperatures and type of weather. A long cold spell is the most damaging period. This season is likely to be a bad season as warm spring weather seems not to be expected just yet, according to the 10-day forecast by the weather experts.

Peaches, apricots, pears, gages, a great year

Golden Glow, photo courtesy of coblands_plants/flickr.com

Golden Glow, photo courtesy of coblands_plants/flickr.com

This has been a fabulous year for peaches and apricots. The flavour and the size of the fruit have been outstanding, and likewise the yield. In addition, it has been a year that has proved to me again that the disease called “peach leaf curl” is not difficult to control, even without the use of chemicals.

The apricot harvest has been completed, and, with us in Suffolk, the outdoor peaches are not quite ready yet. The flavour of the fruit is still increasing, particularly as the difference between night and day temperatures is now exceeding 10 degrees Celsius.

Young walnut trees are also beginning to crop with the help of very good quality leaf of deep colour and an open structured tree .

Pears are wonderful size. Unfortunately many little birds like to make small holes in some of the pears, which means these pears won’t keep very long. All the same, if you like to store pears, then the overriding factor is temperature. It has to be 1 degree Celsius for good results. Anything higher and the pears will ripen very quickly. Early ripening pears such as Beth and Williams are best used within days after picking. These are not suited for longer term storage.

The green gages equally have been a true delight. These do not ripen all at once and if several varieties are used , the picking time can be spread out over a period of 4 to 6 weeks depending on the season.

At Suffolk Fruit and Trees, we stock all these different varieties as young trees. However, in every season, supplies are limited and soon start tailing off. Early ordering is essential. Delivery will take place once the trees are fully dormant, as that is the time young trees transplant best. This year, this will probably mean a delivery period from late November onwards, depending on prevailing weather conditions. The varieties available are listed on this page at the website www.realenglishfruit.co.uk