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The Royal Horticultural Society: Autumn fruit crops ready weeks early

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: August 25, 2014

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An early spring and a "wonderful growing season" is set to deliver autumn fruit crops around two weeks early, experts have said.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said orchards were seeing early ripening of berries and fruits such as apples and pears, and that most gardeners should be in line for an excellent crop.

RHS chief horticultural adviser Guy Barter said: "Everything is running a little bit ahead, though the cold nights we've been having will push it back a bit.

"The whole season has been early, it's been a wonderful growing season, with no frosts, good weather and here we are with autumn approaching and fruits ripening.

"We've had rain which has enabled trees to swell the fruits. If it's a dry summer apples can be small and hard in amateur gardens, but there's been enough rain to swell the fruit, and there's been enough sunshine to sweeten the fruit."

He said the rain and sunshine had also benefited pears.

The early fruiting season was down to the early spring the UK had this year, but fruit trees did have just enough cold weather in the winter, which they need to ensure they blossom and produce fruit, he said.

And while everything flowered earlier than normal due to the early warm spring, there were – luckily – no late frosts to damage the blossom.

But he warned that the weather over the next three or four weeks could have an impact on fruit, with wet conditions giving rise to disease and cool weather delaying the harvest until October.

The best weather to hope for was an Indian summer, he added.

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