Cold spring could lead to bumper fruit crop
The delayed spring could lead to a bumper crop of apples, strawberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries for gardeners this year, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has said.
Recent cold weather has held back the flowering of fruit trees and shrubs so they are less likely to be hit by the damaging effects of frost, with plants still at the more robust bud stage.
RHS chief horticulturist Guy Barter said that if fruit trees flowered in February there would be "months of potential frosts to ruin the flowers", but later flowering reduced the risk of being hit by frosts.
And with cold weather forecast into the beginning of May, spring blossoms are likely to be a week late, pushing them closer to the frost-free period, he said.
"While that may not sound like a significant delay it can mean the difference between a bountiful harvest of fruit including apples and strawberries and an average or poor year."