28 February 2024

Trees and shrubs ‘laden’ with blossom thanks to weather over past year, says RHS

28 February 2024

Trees and shrubs are “laden” with blossom this spring because of weather conditions over the past year, the Royal Horticultural Society has said.

Already gardens are seeing a flurry of colour from blossoming plants including magnolias, early cherries and camellias, while rhododendrons and wisteria also look promising, the horticultural charity said.

And fruit blossom promises to be good, although whether trees in flower are hit by spring frosts will determine if they produce bountiful pear, apple and plum harvests later in the year.

The conditions for a great display of blossom have been building since last spring, with high soil moisture from a wet March 2023, an extremely hot June allowing for plenty of light while buds were developing, and a wet summer which kept them well watered.

Though the winter has been mild, there have been sufficient cold days to release the flower buds from a dormant state so they are now developing in the current mild weather, the RHS said.

Guy Barter, RHS chief horticulturist, said: “The trees are laden with viable flower buds, due to favourable weather last spring and summer when flowering trees form flower buds for the following year.

“Plentiful March rain meant soil moisture was still high, while extremely hot, bright weather in June and the subsequent lack of summer drought was ideal for flower bud formation.

“The warm September weather completed bud development.”

And he said: “Although this winter has been mild and wet, there was still enough cold to release dormant buds so they can open at the right time.”

The RHS said its gardens at Rosemoor, North Devon; Hyde Hall, Essex; Harlow Carr, North Yorkshire; Bridgewater in Greater Manchester and Wisley in Surrey, were full of spring colour on shrubs and trees.

And on the ground, an unseasonably warm February has brought forward snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils, the charity said.

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