Help us achieve our goals:
make a donation »
Join the RHS today and support our charity
Free personalised gardening advice
RHS members get reduced ticket prices
RHS members get free access to RHS Gardens
Reduced prices on RHS Garden courses and workshops
020 3176 5800
Mon – Fri | 9am – 5pm
Make a donation
I have forgotten my password
Keep me signed in
Register for free to receive our newsletters, add comments to blogs/articles and to save content.
See what events are on near you and browse your bookmarked pages.
Wood pigeons can be the most serious bird pest in gardens and allotments. They peck at leaves, tearing them, often just leaving the stalks and larger leaf veins behind. Pigeons will attack many plants, lilac, brassicas and peas are particularly susceptible.
Pigeons are a pest mainly of agricultural crops, but can cause damage in gardens and allotments.
Pigeons attack a wide range of plants, but seem particularly keen on the leaves of brassicas (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages and cauliflower), cherries, lilac and peas. They will peck at the leaves and rip off portions, often leaving just the stalks and larger leaf veins. They may also attack and strip buds, leaves and fruits from blackcurrants and other fruit bushes.
You may not see the pigeons attacking plants, as they often visit in early morning. This is some of the damage they cause:
Shooting can be effective but is often not a safe or legal option in gardens or allotments. Scaring devices or repellent substances are likely to give, at best, only temporary protection. The only certain way of protecting vulnerable plants from pigeons is to grow them under netting or in a fruit cage.
Additional information on living with pigeons can be obtained from the RSPCA
Pigeons are present throughout the year but are particularly damaging during early summer when peas and brassica crops are developing. Pigeons are also a problem on winter brassicas, especially when snow or frost makes other vegetation unavailable. In winter, flocks of up to 50 birds can descend on allotments but, at other times, they are seen in smaller numbers.
Pigeons make their nests in trees and tall hedges, laying several clutches of usually two eggs during mid to late summer.
Image: © GWI/Dave Bevan. Available in high resolution at www.gardenworldimages.com
Brussels sprouts problemsCabbage caterpillarsDeerFlea beetles on brassicas and allied plantsRabbitsSlugsSnails
the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9
RHS members can get exclusive individual advice from the RHS Gardening Advice team.
Register for the site or sign in to share your experiences on this topic and seek advice from our community of gardeners.
We're a UK charity established to share the best in gardening. We want to enrich everyone's life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.
Join the RHS today and get 12 months for the price of 9