Mild winter could affect fruit crops

The mild winter may result in smaller crops of fruits in the autumn, which could see prices being raised, according to the Royal Horticultural Society. The society said that the majority of hardy fruits require a “chilling period” during winter to encourage them to flower.
Amongst the hardy fruits that require a period of cold weather are cherries, blackcurrants and some types of apple. The society said that the plants will grow earlier and could flower earlier without the cooler period, putting them at greater risks from late frosts and with fewer pollinating insects.
The RHS issued the warning after evidence from last year suggested that a cold winter with no late frosts and a warmer summer helped the crops to develop. Experts from the society said that this year’s current cooler period may help, but said that a longer period of cooler weather was needed in order to prevent plants from growing and flowering early.