Research reveals threat from global warming

Climate change expected to cause dramatic plant growth

Research revealed at the American Society of Horticultural Science’s centenary conference, in Rhode Island on 6 October, has shown that the effects of climate change are leading to the size and growth of plants increasing by up to 50 per cent. While the research was undertaken on American plants, British experts are expecting to see similar effects occurring in Britain. The report, Gardening in the Global Greenhouse, published last year by University of Reading plant scientist Richard Bisgrove and Professor Paul Hadley, details similar findings for UK horticulture. It warns that as summers become drier and winters wetter, irrigation systems will need to be in place to deal with the requirements of native and traditional plants unable to adapt to the changing climate. Higher temperatures, along with increased carbon dioxide levels revealed in climate change scenarios, are set to boost plant growth and favour earlier germination. They will also boost growth of weeds, resulting in the need for increased garden maintenance. Meanwhile, drought conditions in summer and flooding in winter are likely to attack the health of many British trees, while the milder, damp winters are likely to cause a rise in fungal diseases, such as Laetisaria fuciformis to lawns.

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