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Late summer Fruit Gardening, June drop and Bird Attacks

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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 4:25 pm    Post subject: Late summer Fruit Gardening, June drop and Bird Attacks Reply with quote

Late summer Fruit Gardening, June drop and Bird Attacks
by GPI

As early summer comes to an end you will begin to see a lot of the fruits of your earlier gardening work. These fruits for some of us are just that, fruits within your fruit garden. Apples/pears and strawberries are prime examples of the fruits in formation, so it is worth paying a bit of attention to what affects them at this time of year.

. Apple scab as it appears on leaves and fruit, photo / picture / image.

Two issues which are commonly queried in late summer regarding apples and pears are scab and premature fruit fall. Firstly scab; well with a bit of wet weather it is not uncommon to see outbreaks of scab on fruits trees. It appears as black-brown scabby spots on the fruits skin, allied to this the fruit may also be small and misshapen, with some splitting of the skin in severe cases.

The good news, although the scab infected fruit may be unsightly, scab will not affect the taste and the apples and pears will be still totally edible. A bit of peeling beforehand will make the fruit more appealing to the eye, if the sight of scab offends you.

You can of course carry out a fungicidal spraying programme against scab, however this is most effective if started early, acting as a protectant rather than a cure. Spraying should begin at leaf bud break and continue at six intervals, pausing during the trees flowering period, then continuing up to the fruitlet stage in early July. Products you can use for spraying against scab include Systhane Fungus Fighter, Bio Dithane 945, and Captan.

. Fallen apples due to June drop, photo / picture / image.

June drop.
Premature fruit fall on apples, pears and plums is another hot topic at this time of year judging by all the panicked calls from home fruit growers to garden centres and horticulturalists. Known in the trade as "June drop", in most cases this fruit fall is a totally natural occurrence as trees are simply shedding their excess baggage.

After a mild spring most fruit trees convert many more flowers to fruit than are needed for a full crop. The poor tree would be worn out if it had to support so much fruit, so it instead drops what's not needed, then carries on increasing the size and juiciness of the retained fruit for harvest later in the season.

Bird attacks.
Any of you who have grown strawberries outside of the polytunnel/glasshouse will have come to realise what a pest birds can be with their ceaseless picking at the fruits. Although preferring ripe red fruits these winged devils will not turn down a shot at the yellowy-green unripened berries if given the chance.

You can shoo the birds every time you see them near, put kitty on guard duty, or set up a scarecrow or two, but none will be as effective as installing some protective netting. A roll of netting with holes of a quarter inch in diameter or smaller is inexpensive, easy to install, and reusable to protect a variety of crops in the fruit and veg garden.

Prop it above the strawberries on stakes of a diameter wider than the holes to prevent it slipping down, then pin or bury all the edges of the netting to the soil. Job done, strawberries safe from the feathered ones, now just pray for sunshine to ripen the fruit.

Any queries or comments on Late summer Fruit Gardening, June drop and Bird Attacks, please post below.

Associated content.....
Apple scab on Apple Trees, Signs, Treat, Control.

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