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Thursday, June 9, 2011
Preventing Bird Damage in Peas
Birds love peas. They eat the leaves and flower buds.
The leaves on this stem have been stripped by birds.
If enough leaves are eaten or damaged the yield may be reduced. "Research has shown that 30 percent leaf loss prior to bloom stage will not result in reduced yield or quality. In addition, these plants can tolerate up to 15 percent leaf loss during bloom and pod-fill stages without significant drops in yield or quality."
Damage to the blossoms, however, will reduce yield.
This flower is fairly unscathed other than some damage from thrips.
Note where a bird took a bite out of this flower.
Covering the row with insect barrier cloth keeps the birds away and doesn't hinder the yield very much.
Peas are self-pollinating so they don't need insects to carry pollen from one plant to another. That was why Mendel choose to do his genetics research using peas. Even when there is a neighboring row of peas it is highly unlikely pollen will be transferred from one row to the next. Bees and other insects, however, will increase pollination and yield.
Four different potato cultivars are in the fourground.
The insect barrier also reduces the temperature of the plants and their flowers enhancing the yield. Most nurseries and garden centers carry insect barrier. Pin the fabric to the ground with sod staples or use bricks or boards to hold it down.