Why such a small harvest of fruit?
Nature Notes With Dave Moore
THIS past summer has reminded me of the good old fashioned ones we used to endure – alternate spells of sun and rain.
I won’t go into the subject of climate change, as it is like Brexit with so many different opinions being banded about.
Locally, many gardeners who have fruit bearing bushes and trees such as apples and plums, have experienced very poor pickings.
One lady’s plum tree produced fruit measured in stones last year, but this time she had just a few pounds. The same scenario also applies to apples. Why?
I am no expert but if I remember rightly, last winter was very dry compared to others, putting less moisture into the ground.
Also, May was cooler than usual followed by very heavy rainfall in early June. That sadly put an end to our local avocets’ breeding season, with all eight sitting bird’s nests washed out.
It was not only garden fruits but also fruit bearing bushes and trees in the countryside that suffered the same results.
Being an avid fruit picker, I observed hedgerow gooseberries, brambles, and crab apple producing only very small harvests.
My opinion, for what it’s worth, points to the weather conditions experienced.
Maybe after last year’s record crops they were recuperating, but I believe the climate conditions 12 months ago contributed to the large harvest then.
Readers must have observed also the lack of thunderbugs at harvest time – they do make you itch.
Another of my observations when out brambling was the lack of insects, that gorge on their juices.
There were very few wasps in flight this autumn along with myriads of other insects including flies. Like them or not, all are pollinators of plants and flowers.
The past few weeks have been the wettest for some years.
Is nature putting rain back into the land after a dry spring?
Nature has its own methods sometimes.
While there was a distinct lack of fruit, our flora is another matter altogether.
I’ve never seen hedgerows grow as much this year. All my shrubs in the garden have grown more this year than any other.
Many readers will have noted the lack of certain species of birds. Early June saw to that.
The cool wet weather coincided with many newly hatched young. These newly fledged will have perished, getting their plumage soaked.
Early nesting swallows will have had difficulty in supplying their young nestlings with insects, leading to starvation.
Swallow populations, along with many other migrants, suffered losses after leaving Africa as they firstly were confronted with sandstorms crossing the Sahara desert.
Those that survived then flew into storms through Spain and France, leaving fewer numbers to arrive in the UK.
Many naturalists lay the blame on what has happened on our countryside, but they don’t mention what is taking place in Africa, which has a booming population.
Millions upon millions of acres are being turned into arable land. The people there have got to be fed, that is a true fact. Unfortunately, that means less space for wildlife. No matter what species, they are all affected.
I cannot remember for the life of me which leading naturalist said it, but he stated: “Wildlife will only benefit with the demise of man.”
My thoughts exactly.
Dave Moore is a wildlife enthusiast from