Bumper fruit crop predicted for autumn

The Woodland Trust says autumn will be late, but will bring with it plenty to be happy about

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Autumn is on hold this year, with expected delays to fruiting due to a late spring – but it’s set to be worth the wait, as experts predict that the recent warm weather will see wild berry crops flourish.

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It is good news for wildlife, which was hit hard by the second wettest summer on record in 2012 followed by the coldest spring since 1962 earlier this year. Records from last year show that 14 out of 16 species of trees and shrubs, including beech, holly and blackberries, had their worst season for fruiting since the turn of the century, with many recording only meagre crops. Birds and mammals were then hit hard by the lack of food supply.

The predictions are based on data recorded by the Woodland Trust for its Nature’s Calendar project. The calendar uses thousands of volunteers to record signs of seasonal changes where they live.

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, project manager of Nature’s Calendar, said: “Although our records suggest that autumn fruiting will be late this year due to the delayed onset of spring flowering, if the warm weather interspersed with occasional wet spells continues, this should mean the fruiting of shrubs like bramble, rowan and blackthorn is abundant.

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“Wildlife species will no doubt benefit from a bumper crop, and finally fruit-eating birds and mammals will be able to enjoy an autumn feast.”