Mild conditions ‘could diminish fruit harvest’

Those with large patches of land who have been using cultivators and tillers in an effort to grow fruit and vegetables this year may experience a reduced harvest in summer.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the relatively mild conditions that have characterised this winter may have this affect.

It was noted many hardy fruit plants require a period of chilling in the colder season in order to encourage flowering.

Previous years where similar climate conditions have been experienced also led to a diminished crop.

Another consideration gardeners may wish to be aware of is earlier blossoming, which is also expected to occur in 2012 and puts plants at greater risk of damage in the case of spring frost.

Mulching may be one way some could prepare for this eventuality, as it can provide additional protection from this kind of danger.

Individuals who wish to take this action could browse MowDIRECT's range of chippers and shredders, many of which recycle garden waste into this valuable substance.

"If gardeners have only one or two fruit bushes that have started filling their buds these can be covered with some horticultural fleece or an old curtain if it looks like there is going to be frost overnight," suggested fruit and trials specialist for the RHS Jim Arbury.

"Changing weather conditions is the challenge of gardening that gardeners have to accept," he commented, adding: "We are still so dependent on the weather for abundant crops."

Early flowering could indeed cause less fruit to be produced as there could also be fewer pollinating insects around.

Any measures that can be taken to grasp control of the situation and hold back growth and development of plants are highly recommended by fruit experts at the gardening charity.

Indeed, last year was said to be an ideal time for fruiting crops compared with the conditions expected for the rest of 2012.

This is despite the unseasonably warm conditions seen in late summer and early autumn, which delayed the growth of many plants.

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