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Bullfinches love Arthur Turner apple buds

LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,871
I'm trying to think of a deterrent to save some buds on my huge Arthur Turner apple tree from the bullfinches.  They are beautiful birds, and I don't begrudge them the odd bud - but every morning when I open the bedroom curtains there's a pair of them munching away.  It looks as if they've stripped virtually the whole 30ft tree.  Nothing will work to save this year's crop, but can I do anything before next spring to deter them?  

Should I plant loads more fruit trees, in the hope that the bullfinches will divide their time between them, thus leaving some buds to develop into flowers on each tree?  Or will they just invite their friends in for a bud fest?  Or is there something I can use to protect just a section of the Arthur Turner?  I'm not greedy - don't mind sharing...  (My granny used an old net curtain to protect one branch of her cherry tree from the birds, when the fruit was ripening.) 

Or should I festoon the tree with old CDs?  Has anyone succeeded in deterring bullfinches?
"The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore

Posts

  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,077
    Ive given up on my cherry plum and decided I'd rather have the birds but  i suppose it's different when you want a fair share of the fruit😕. Hope you find a solution.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICT DerbyshirePosts: 21,246
    edited April 2020
    We have three pairs of the things in our garden. The CDs work for a day or two and then they just ignore them.

    They definitely have preferences. I have had an Imperial Épineuse plum tree for nine years and I have yet to see it produce a single flower. They take the leaf buds from that one too. It’s a spindly, straggly looking tree. 

    Next in line is the Pond’s Seedling plum tree. Same age. I got three plums off it last year.

    The Victoria is a bit older and more vigorous and floriferous. They tear the fully opened flowers off that and cast them down onto the ground like little stars.

    Marjorie’s Seedling and the damson they don’t care for at all. Shunned every year.

    I think that by the time the pears and then the apples get round to flowering, they have got other things on their minds because they never get touched.

    So maybe grow a couple of sacrificial plum trees to distract them.
    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,871
    Thanks for your replies, @B3 and @pansyface.  Maybe a sacrificial plum I don't much care for, and a damson or Marjorie's Seedling for jam, is the way to go...   :)
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 7,871
    I've just found a recommendation on a permaculture website, @pansyface - this might just be of interest to you...  he'd tried the streamers/CDs etc, which had no effect, but in desperation hung very large white plastic bags from his trees (he used fertiliser sacks), in such a way that they rustled and swung in the breeze.  I'll definitely be trying that next year. 

    But I'll probably not try the solution which worked for his neighbour, which was to put a bird table in the branches of each fruit tree so the bullfinches had something else to eat.  Knowing my luck they'd invite all their friends, and have the sunflower seeds for dinner with the fruit buds for dessert... 
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
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