Saturday, May 16

Reprieve and destruction

As I posted here we have planted up a new strawberry bed this year. Previously we had a large strawberry bed and a small overspill bed that housed the runners that I rooted - just in case I needed to replace any plants in the main bed. Of course because I was prepared I never needed any of the reserve plants and so these were planted in a small bed - after all you can't just throw good plants away can you?

I may have planted them but in no way were the plants really looked after other than an occasional weeding and they repaid our lack of effort with a lack of effort on their part. Anyway when I decided to clear the bed I was confronted by this.
Despite being set in ground that more closely resembles concrete rather than soil, some of the plants looked strong and were producing flowers that had survived the cold nights without acquiring blackened centres. Only a very cold hearted person would rip them from the ground and so the bed that should have been cleared looks like this.
So that's the reprieve. 

Destruction was at the hands or maybe beaks of 'someone' other than me. For the second year running the cherry tree on the plot suddenly had its leaves ravaged and now looks like this.
Martyn and I searched the leaves in vain for what we suspected were crawly vandals. To our surprise a search of the Internet revealed that the likely culprits are wood pigeons. Apparently they are partial to some tree leaves in particular cherry and lilac. Just another thing to try and figure out how to protect from airborne vandals.

26 comments:

  1. Those strawberries look amazingly good. I sometimes struggle with strawberries. This year though it looks like I'll get a good harvest.

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    1. Those few have overcome all odds, Daphne

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  2. Pigeons are a major pest aren't they! My Cherry tree always suffers some sort of insect attack at about this time every year. Holes appear in the leaves, and then most of the leaves fall off. Luckily, a new set of leaves does grow, but never as luxuriant as the first set. By that time the insect lifecycle has run its course and the second lot of leaves remains unscathed.

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    1. I don't think the tree renewed last year< mark and if it does the pigeons will no doubt be back so I guess it's no fruit from thiu tree,

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  3. Don't think I'd have been able to dig up those strawberry plants either - though I did force myself to pull up a few about to flower poppies because I need the space for vegetables.

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    1. At least with poppies you are not forfeiting and promise of fruit Patsy :)

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  4. Those strawberry plants do look good - I'm very bad at pulling up plants, if there is any chance that they give me some sort of harvest. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't - seems like you are in for a lot of strawberries this year!

    Ugh - I hope that you still get some cherries from your tree. Every year I seem to come across at least one or two new pests or diseases. When it comes to that, seems it doesn't matter if you have been gardening for 2 or 20 years - there's definitely no shortage of challenges, no matter how seasoned you are!

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    1. For everything we grow there seems to be a hoard of things that would wreck it Margaret

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  5. I am finding pigeons - or perhaps even more so collared doves get worse very year. But they are handsome!
    So they have got the first blow of a double whammy in -the second will be when any cherries get eaten by birds just the day before they are ready to pick

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    1. I doubt this tree will have any fruit, Roger. We have lots of collared doves in the garden but they do no damage (That said the few wood pigeons that come to the garden seem to be well behaved - why did I have to write that?) on the plot we have lots of delinquent wood pigeons. They sit ion telegraph wires watching and waiting,

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  6. If there is one way to ensure a plant does well is to start thinking about getting rid of it - it never fails, or it doesn't in my garden anyway!
    What a shame about the damage to your tree Sue - who'd have thought pigeons were the culprit.

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    1. We were convinced last year it was some sort of caterpillar damage, Angie, The wood pigeons are also partial to jostaberries and break branches on the bushes when they are foraging,

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  7. Like you I would have had to reprieve the strawberry plants, it takes a very cold heart to destroy something that is trying so hard! As for the pigeons, who would have thought cherry leaves would be to their taste? Curioser and curioser.

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    1. It was something that didn't occur to us, sweffling - fruit yes but not leaves,

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  8. Gosh, those strawbs have done well to avoid the recent frosts. I've got far too many plants whose flowers have blackened centres . . .

    As for the pigeons, no idea what to suggest, I suspect sitting with a gun would have you carted off for incarceration.

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    1. I don't think that I could bring myself to actually kill them, Jayne. Something is though as we have had the remnants of two dead birds on the plot. We do have sparrowhawks and foxes on the plot. I would have thought that they were a bit big for a sparrowhawk but they so sometimes take the domestic pigeons.

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  9. It's so hard to get rid of something when it looks as though it's going to be productive. I want to create a new strawberry bed next year, I'd like to put them in some kind of raised bed to make netting easier. Draping netting over some kind of raised structure should be fairly easy and make harvesting easier too. I'd have never thought that the damage to the cherry tree leaves would be done by pigeons. My gooseberry has sawfly and the leaves look very similar.

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    1. Martyn is going to make some frames for our beds that we can just lift off for picking, Jo

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  10. Goodness, that's a lot of damage to that cherry tree. Looks like the cherries are untouched though. No doubt they'll be back for those later...

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    1. I'm not hopeful, CJ no leaves no feeding of the tree.

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  11. I have woodies constantly patrolling under the feeders waiting for the bits that drop down, it's quite funny when they have a face off with the squirrels who are also trying the same thing.

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    1. Ours do the same, Rick in fact this is a useful function as it tidies up and prevents the seed growing as much. Maybe the fact that there is this food available helps stop them destroying other things.

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  12. Depending on how much you want to try for the cherry fruits, you could give the tree a blast of fruit-forming nutrients to make up for the lack of leaf, with a foliar feed (from the pictures there's enough leaf surface left for that) which is the quickest way of getting them into the plant but tricky to apply depending on height; or a liquid feed to the roots - most of which are not at the foot of the trunk but spread over an area the size of the canopy.
    Pigeons have been settling on our plots in particularly huge numbers this year and I've had to net every single type of leafy veg or they get stripped to the ground, so really understand your frustration at battling more pest damage.

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    1. I think maybe a root feed would be more practical S and D due to the height, Maybe this year we need to concentrate on reducing the height so we can better protect in future. The pigeons are becoming a real issue on the plot drawn by the plentiful food supply

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  13. I'm gad those strawbs got a reprieve, they look great! Gosh, your poor cherry tree, I have a few, thankfully the pigeons have left them alone! I've never seen thatbefore!xxx

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    1. The trouble is that the pigeons are so numerous on our site now , Dina

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