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Any ideas what has do e this to my new plants and what can I do to prevent it.

i assume the ones in the ground will not recover?? 


Many thanks in advance 


Orchid Lady

Mine did exactly the same on previous attempts, so far so good this time though.  From what I have read on here it may be Cabbage White butterflies, I had no idea they could do so much damage until I read it in here.  I think (but someone may correct me)  you need to cover with net, not sure about whether they will recover??

I'm still quite new to gardening so no doubt someone else will come along with more advice for you (and me ).


That looks very much like woodpigeon damage to me.  Do you have those in your area?  If so, the only prevention is netting.  Without nets, they have devastated my brassicas in the past.

We do have a lot of pigeons, there is no physical evidence of caterpillars, so it could well be those 


I would guess at pigeons too, they make a real mess of cabbages, very disheartening, but its a lesson we've all learnt by painful experience.

I use scaffold debris netting, its fine enough to keep out the butterflies too, if you buy it in a roll it works out quite reasonable and lasts for years.

You can make hoops from the 20mm blue flexible water piping to support the netting.


Busy Bee2


 I haven't grown brassicas for years, but so far this seems to be working, but it doesn't make for a very attractive garden, but it's quick and easy if you have some plastic bottles to hand.  I presume that when the leaves get bigger they are less tasty to the birds, but think I might be tempted to get netting to protect against the cabbage whites. 


Yes, that's what wood pigeons do to fields of rape, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflowers etc - but according to DEFRA farmers are only allowed to shoot them if they've tried to frighten them off first 

Orchid Lady

I didn't realise wood pigeons would do that too, that could be what ate mine,a long with the butterflies 

I have got a collection of those plastic bottles going in my GH for when I plant out mybroccoli  and sprouts.  I said I wouldn't do them again but thought I'd give it one last go 

Wilkos had a net frame in for £20, it looked quite big, well big enough to cover my huge crop anyway 


I bought a roll of very close mesh from Amazon, very cheap, i had some poles from broken plastic greenhouses so am making an everything proof cage,its too soon for cabbage whites to have laid eggs and then hatch out, must be birds.

Orchid Lady

Apologies Mark for my rubbish advice, I told you someone more in the know would help  It must have been an old article I was reading 


I use mesh, but also attach shiny silver plastic ribbon to it to make sure the birds can see that there is a barrier; I would not like to have to disentangle a pigeon from the mesh I also use slug pellets, as snails and slugs can do an awful lot of damage to young plants at this time of the year.

Thanks everybody, will get some netting and start again. I assume these plants will not recover?? 


If they've taken out the growing tip - and it looks as if they've got most if not all of them - then they won't make good plants.  I'd start again - onwards and upwards - just keep shouting Pigeon Pie at them 

Will start again then, it's my first year with a 12 x 6 raised bed, so will learn as I go I suppose. Any suggestions for "easy" crops welcomed. I have one row of carrots in, 2 rows of potatoes and an obliterated row of cabbage/cauli, which will be replaced over the next few days! 

I used to suffer from the same problem for years.last yeat I got hold of some insect was the best move I made.there was not a mark on any one of my plants,in fact it was the best year yet.this year I have made a walk in on and planted through weed fabric and also used slug pellets as no small animals or birds can get in it should be safe.


I net mine but more to keep butterfly's off them. I love pidgin pie so my 2.2 air riffle comes in handy too and pidgins are smart once I've shot a dozen or so they seem to avoid my house and I only catch glimpses of them until they get brave again lol. Here is a bit of information on shooting them if anyone wishes to do so. 

Currently the shooting of woodpigeon is controlled by general
licences issued by Natural England for England, Welsh Assembly
Government for Wales, Scottish Government for Scotland and in
Northern Ireland by the NI Environment Agency (NIEA). No
individual application is required for any licence; however in
Scotland you are legally obliged to have read and understood the
licence relevant to your shooting.
The general licences authorise shooting for specific purposes
such as: preventing serious damage to crops, vegetables, fruit and
foodstuffs for livestock,and for the purpose of preserving public
health or public safety. It is important that any shooting complies
fully with the terms and conditions of each general licence.
In Britain the shooting of collared dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
and the feral pigeon (descended from Columba livia) is also
permitted all year round. The stock dove (Columba oenas), rock
dove (Columba livia) and turtle dove (Streptopelia turtur) are all
protected species and may not be shot at any time. In Northern
Ireland all doves are protected at all times and woodpigeon and
feral pigeon are listed on the general licences but these cannot be
shot at night or on Sundays. On the Isle of Man the woodpigeon
can be shot under the terms and conditions of their general
licence for the prevention of damage and disease only, the feral
pigeon for public health and public safety and the turtle dove is
fully protected.
The stock dove is often mistakenly called the ‘blue rock’ and great
care must be taken as these birds often fly with woodpigeons and
feral pigeons and come readily to decoys.
The feral pigeon is descended from the rock dove (which is
usually only found on western coasts), and is often seen close to
urban areas and feeding in flocks close to farm buildings.
Note: wild-living, former racing and homing pigeons often fly
with feral pigeons but these birds are strictly protected as they are
still regarded as the property of their original owner. While they
normally have leg rings to show their ownership, identification in
the field can be difficult so, if in doubt, do not shoot.


@ Cnristopher Hodgkiss - if cutting and pasting information from another site rather than posting a link it's accepted good practice to credit the original author or owner of the information.  It also guards against falling foul of copyright laws.  

Daniel (the editor of GW) has explained that cutting and pasting  work which is the original work of other people without attribution will be removed as it is in breach of the Code of Conduct of this board.

I've posted the link to your extract  here  file:///C:/Users/Alison/Downloads/woodpigeon_cop_2010_50746.pdf 

I hope you don't mind me explaining this - don't want your posts to be deleted as has happened in the past. 


Our Fox enjoys a nice fresh wood pigeon too.!!!

Wood pigeons - damn things - no wonder they get fat - shoot them or get a cat.