Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Britain sees 'two autumns' as trees turn at different times

Autumn has come twice this year, according to the Woodland Trust, after the dry spring and invasive pests caused some trees to drop their leaves early.

Traditionally the season of “mists and mellow fruitfulness” falls in late September as trees begin to turn gold and shed foliage.

But this year many species lost their leaves early due to one of the warmest and driest springs on record.

The Royal Horticultural Society recorded leaves turning yellow on hazelnut, acer and laburnum at the beginning of August.

Horse chestnuts, or conker trees, lost their leaves early due to the leaf miner moth, from Turkey, that has been spreading across the country. Autumnal flowers like winter hellebores, viburnum and magnolia also came out early.

But this was a “false autumn” caused by a lack of water rather than cold weather, explained Professor Tim Sparks, nature adviser to the Woodland Trust. more