Apple growers set for bumper harvest

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THE weather over the past year has created the ideal conditions for a tasty, bumper apple crop, experts have said.

Last year’s wet autumn, followed by the icy spring and a hot summer have been perfect for apple growing, and this year’s crop is set to be sweeter and rosier than apples seen in recent harvest, the Royal Horticultural Society said.

The cool, wet spring and summer last year meant apple orchards saw a bad harvest, which could have contributed to the good crop this year as trees often compensate for a poor season by growing extra fruit the following year.

While the wet autumn in 2012 was bad for last year’s harvest, it was good news for this year, because it ruled out the chance of drought which can lead to small, poor tasting fruits.

This year’s weather has also been very good for apple trees, with the prolonged cold snap early on helping them fruit, and the sunny summer enabling them to grow and develop a good flavour.

Jim Arbury, RHS fruit specialist at the society’s Wisley garden in Surrey, said apples evolved in central Asia to suit a continental climate of hot summers and very cold winters.