Weather conditions bode well for strong autumn colour driving garden visits

Forestry England is predicting strong autumn leaf colour from now to mid-November, increasing interest in woodland and garden visits.


For autumn colour, trees need a balance of sunlight and rain to produce sugars, which create the colours in the leaves.

Data from the Met Office confirms that England experienced a spell of very wet weather in mid-June, with some parts of the UK receiving 2.5 times the monthly average rainfall. But the rain followed by July sunshine (100% of average) means spectacular seasonal colour for woodlands this autumn.

Forestry England Westonbirt National Arboretum director Andrew Smith said: "The fruit and nut blossoms managed to escape the frost in early spring and the rain in June has helped the fruits to swell. July’s sunshine and warm weather helped them to continue to grow which means we should see a great year for fruit and nuts.

"The same weather conditions are ideal for producing sugar in leaves which is further reassurance that it will be a brilliant year for autumn colour. 

Meanwhile, this September tree experts from Forestry England will visit Japan to collect seeds from the wild as part of ongoing conservation work.

Forestry England Bedgbury National Pinetum Collections Manager Daniel Luscombe said: "We will be visiting Japan in early autumn collecting seeds from native Japanese trees with a focus on the conifers whilst working with various botanic gardens and forestry departments in the country.

"This is so we can keep our great looking trees, resilient to climate change, well into the future.

"Several of the Japanese species we will be collecting are at risk of going extinct and many of the maples we are hoping to collect will either be new to Westonbirt Arboretum and Bedgebury Pinetum or will be providing the next generation of trees for visitors to enjoy, say in a 100 years’ time.

"The autumn colour over in Japan will be stunning and seeing how trees grow together in the wild gives us ideas and inspiration on how to use them to shape our landscapes."

In October 2016, Westonbirt had 50% more visitors in the month compared to the previous year, which was attributed to good conditions creating optimum autumn colour. 

Figures from the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions released in 2018, show Westonbirt attracted 538,605 visitors in 2017, a 3.5% rise on 2016 and 552,662 in 2018, up 2%.

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