‘Wonderful’ summer leads to bumper early fruit crop

Wet conditions and cold weather over the next few weeks could still delay or damage the harvest

Autumn fruit will arrive a fortnight early this year due to an early spring and a “wonderful” summer, experts have said.

The Royal Horticultural Society said gardeners are in line for excellent crops with berries, apples and pears ripening early.

Exotic fruits such as figs and grapes are also likely to do well, thanks to a hot summer which saw above-average temperatures in June and July, with July the eighth warmest on record.

However, wet conditions and cold weather over the next few weeks could still delay or damage the harvest. Despite a stormy winter, spring arrived early in the UK this year, with temperatures reaching 15C by February and no late frosts, giving the best possible start to fruit trees.

The wet summer has also been a boost, with additional rainwater and sunshine swelling and sweetening fruit.

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 fruits ripening. 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.”

But he warned the weather over the next month could still damage fruit, with wet conditions potentially giving rise to disease and cool weather delaying the harvest.

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