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Protecting fruit from birds
Despite summer drought in my part of the East Midlands, my apple crop has been pretty good on most trees, but there’s just one problem. A much larger proportion of fruit than ever before has been pecked on the tree itself, resulting in small holes that soon lead to rotting.
Now, I’m the first person to recommend leaving windfalls for wildlife. They’re usually bruised anyway, so why not let the birds eat them, and allow insects a taste of home-grown produce. Just take care when you’re around them in case wasps buzz out and start chasing you! (Oh, how I hate wasps).
It’s that continual problem wildlife gardening: allowing creatures to have a little, but not a bite out of everything. They’re like toddlers at a birthday party, browsing the plates of food, and taking one bite out of a biscuit then putting it back on the plate and moving on to something else.
In previous years I may have noticed a few fruits with pecks taken out of them, but this year it’s been about half the fruits on my early ripening ‘Ellison’s Orange’ apple.
I love blackbirds, but this autumn they’re pushing their luck! What’s to be done? Perhaps they’ve just been struggling to find food elsewhere, and my fruits have come to their rescue. If that’s the case then who am I to deny them food? After all, that’s what sharing your garden with wildlife should be all about, shouldn’t it?
Or am I deluding myself, and these mischievous blackbirds have not got a taste for delicious organically grown apples, and I’m just feeding their indulgence?
Perhaps it’s not just the blackbirds, and others are to blame. Now I really don’t want to accept that all the wildlife in the garden I’ve worked so hard to encourage is now turning against me.
What’s to be done? Large sheets of netting? Shiny reflective scarers? Getting a cat … no that’s really going too far, and Magic (our dog) is not going to share the sofa (or my lap) with anyone.
Have you experienced this problem and found a solution? You know where to leave your comments.
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