Damn Birds and Bugs.

Damn those birds to hell!
Damn those birds to hell!

For years I’ve been battling the scourge of pests and birds in the fruit trees in my garden.

From codling moth to Starlings, the pests have been on the increase just as my production has also improved.

When you see nearly twenty starlings take off out of your apple trees, you know exactly why birdshot is an orchardist’s best friend. If we didn’t have neighbours now, I’d get a landholder friend come and give those introduced pest a blast.

I have no qualm with our more ornate native birds feasting on the sugary goodness, they’re only really there in the early morning and evening, as am I, invariably waving my arms, throwing sticks and yelling like a maniac.

The trees are too big to net, but with some judicious pruning and a bit of construction, next year they’ll be out of reach.

That covers the birds, not so easy are the pests that find pome and stone fruit so scrumptious.

This year I’ve been spraying like nobodies business. Nothing really toxic though, just every Sunday, wind permitting, I’ll be outside spraying some pyrethrins or Success to knock back some of those nasties that inhabit the orchard.

P1010068Codling Moth,  along with fruit fly, are probably the most common pests in the orchard. The fruit fly I’ve been tempting into a toxic stew of fruit fly pheromones. They really do work. The baits are chocca block with deaduns. Especially on our nectarine tree. 

The Codling Moth damage is substantial this year and I’m thinking it must be because of the extended dry period we’ve been having. Apparently they don’t like moisture at all. I’m collecting all the fruit that the dog doesn’t eat and picking those that are damaged. These I’m baking in a black bag before giving to the chooks who are relishing the stewed fruit and the hidden gems inside.

I’m going to follow up with some more sprays and removing all possible moth harbours.

If all works well next year on my apple trees I may well have the problem I have this year with my nectarines, that being far too much fruit.

My nectarine tree is so burden with sweet smelling fruit that the tree has split in two, as if Thor has cleaved it in twain. My pruning has to be a lot more thorough next year.

Category: Grow


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Article by: Mark Logan

Former photojournalist at the CWD, Mark Logan has mixed together his love of technology with his years of experience as a journalist and photographer to develop the Orange Post. The Orange Post is his baby. A baby whose gestation involved countless ideas, numerous bouts of indecision, an infinite number of hours cursing free software and more than one bottle of wine. Whilst he's not trying to cajole people into writing for the Orange Post, he's attempting to sharpen his vegetable gardening skills. He lives in a strangely shaped house in Millthorpe, loves ignoring recipe directions, dabbles in web design for fun, frustration and profit and is constantly in a battle of the wills with his dog Fergus