Wet June could spell an impressive year for autumn colour, say experts

A vibrant autumn glow has been predicted for forests, woodlands and parks across the UK, thanks to higher than normal rainfall in June.

Woodlands in autumn

Experts from Forestry England have predicted that a colourful autumn season is set to start shortly and last until mid-November.

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Data from the Met Office confirmed that England experienced a spell of unusually wet weather in mid-June, with parts of the UK receiving over double the monthly average rainfall.

According to the Forestry Commission, high rainfall in June, followed by sunshine and warmer weather in July is a promising formula for seasonal colour.

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For spectacular autumn colour, trees need a healthy balance of sunlight and rain to produce sugars, which create the colours in the leaves.

Sunlight shining through colourful autumn leaves
A wetter summer could result in a vibrant autumn, say experts (Credit: Getty)

Experts are also predicting an especially abundant year for fruit and nuts, which will prove beneficial to forest wildlife.

Andrew Smith, Forestry England’s director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum in Gloucestershire said: “The fruit and nut blossoms managed to escape the frost in early spring and the rain in June has helped the fruits to swell. July’s sunshine and warm weather helped them to continue to grow which means we should see a great year for fruit and nuts.”

As part of ongoing conservation work to protect and develop the UK’s tree population from various tree diseases, including Ash dieback, tree experts from Forestry England will visit Japan this September to collect seeds from the wild.

Experts will be working with a focus on conifers, partnering with various botanic gardens and forestry departments in the country.  They are hoping that this will allow England to maintain beautiful trees that are resilient to climate change well into the future.

Daniel Luscombe, Forestry England’s Collections Manager, Bedegbury, The National Pinetum and Forest, said: “Several of the Japanese species we will be collecting are at risk of going extinct and many of the maples we are hoping to collect will either be new to Westonbirt Arboretum and Bedgebury Pinetum or will be providing the next generation of trees for visitors to enjoy, say in a 100 years’ time.”

Autumn at Bedgebury
Autumn at Bedgebury (Credit: Forestry England Crown Copyright)

Forestry England is encouraging people to visit woods and forests during autumn and document their seasonal discoveries by posting images of autumnal colour on social media using the hashtag #autumnleafwatch.

For more information on how to experience autumn in a forest near you visit: www.forestryengland.uk/autumn.

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