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All my gages have gone!

I go down and inspect the plum tree Ouillins Golden Gage daily.  The plums change from green to yellow and that is when they are ripe to eat.  Usually its mid August they are ready but with this warm weather they might have come early.


I went to look today and not a single plum is on the tree, true the wasps eat a few, but where have they all gone.  The tree is fairly tall so I would not think the scrumpers have been visiting, our garden is well hedged against muntjac and we don't have small children living anywhere near.


There is no debris that one would expect from a squirrel, tho in 30 years this has never happened before.  We have a great many magpies and pidgeons in the garden, could they be responsible?  I have no idea what has happened.   One day lots of plums, the next no plums, all very mysterious.   I grow raspberries and they ripen by the day, they are OK



  • philippasmith2philippasmith2 Posts: 9,110 golden plums are just beginning to ripen now......a heavy crop again this year I think.

    I only get the occasional visit from Magpies but do have plenty of Wood Pigeons nearby........I've not known them to bother with the fruit tho.

    An interesting problem tho very frustrating for you... image

  • paull2paull2 Posts: 93

    I have a few plum trees and find each year that my main adversary in August is the wasps. Birds clean me out of cherries each year but I haven't known pigeons and other feathered types to go for plums. Squirrels are known to attack young pears especially so maybe you have a grey squirrel problem?

  • flowering roseflowering rose Posts: 1,632

    My greengage and plum are the same the same they don't like this hot weather.

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,246

    I've only experienced this problem with a wall-trained apricot tree - not my own (I wish!) but growing in a garden I used to look after.  The fruit would disappear just as they became ripe.  I once surprised a mouse scrambling down the wall with an apricot in its mouth - but could it have systematically removed them all?  Or a whole army of mice??  But to have all your greengages disappear overnight is indeed a mystery, Seakale.  Are any of your neighbours flogging home-made greengage jam?

    "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
  • seakaleseakale Posts: 126

    The squirrels we have in garden have been busy with the hazelnuts and the walnuts, so I don't think they would have time to eat sour green plums.


    Mice indeed a rodent might well be the answer, tho there is no debris underneath the tree, stones or half chewed plums.  Maybe a fox, they love fallen apples, can foxes climb trees?  No pong of fox tho 

    The gages  are really dessert fruit, I never stewed them or made them into jam. We used to have  a czar and a damson tree for that.


    There has been a tremendous crop of mirabelle plums everywhere this year, and maybe the rodents have developed a taste for plums.  What is interesting is that the stalks are gone as well.  It is indeed a mystery

  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 9,731

    My money would still be on squirrels - they are after the kernel in the stone and won't be interested in the flesh, so ripeness is not a factor in their choice.  Their modus operandi is to collect and hoard food for the winter, so there are probably several 'larders' of gages buried nearby.  Just one squirrel took every single hazelnut from my tree in just 24h the Autumn before last;  They are extremely industrious once they set their mind to a task, the little b*ggers! 

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • seakaleseakale Posts: 126

    Do you know I think you might be right Bob, the plums would look like walnuts maybe to a squirrel.  This plum tree crops biannually and this year is it's resting year so fewer plums.  Next year I shall be prepared!  Don't quite know how as some plum tree  branches fall over a neighbouring garden.


    any suggestions please?  I have used tights to protect my cherries before now!

  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 6,246

    Maybe you could just protect a few branches of your tree next year with old net curtains (as used successfully on her cherry tree by my grandmother) - try your local charity shops for supplies.  Bigger than tights, but nice fine mesh, keeping out wasps as well.  Protecting a whole tree, unless it's really small, isn't really practicable I think.  Unless you've won the lottery, and can put up an ENORMOUS fruit cage?? 

    "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
  • seakaleseakale Posts: 126

    Hanging bags of moths ball are a deterrent I gather from internet,  human hair preferably unwashed for muntjac!


  • seakaleseakale Posts: 126

    I. Have just boiled all my chill and curry powder and made a cauldron.   Strained mixture twice and have spayed on courgettes, runner and french beans.  Also dianthus and brunnera Jack Frost.  If this does not keep the blighters at bay I am open to all suggestions!!

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