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Suffolk trees dressed to impress

PUBLISHED: 17:24 23 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

DRESSED to impress, Suffolk's trees have never looked more beautiful than they do this autumn.

Parks around Ipswich are showing a variety of breathtaking reds, oranges and browns which are turning heads.

DRESSED to impress, Suffolk's trees have never looked more beautiful than they do this autumn.

Parks around Ipswich are showing a variety of breathtaking reds, oranges and browns which are turning heads.

Experts from Otley College say that we are now experiencing autumn 20 days later than we did a decade ago – but the season is also notably faster with leaves changing quicker and some species getting caught out by the unpredictable climate.

Horticultural lecturer David Gifford, said that because we have had an unusually mild October and November, leaves have hung on much longer, giving trees more time to deposit sugars and mineral salts in them which adds to their colour.

"I think we are experiencing a general warming of our climate and living organisms are responding differently to it," he said.

"From my own observations I have noticed a marked difference in the colour of the leaves this week, the leaves are turning quicker but the colour is shorter lived. I would suggest that by next week we could be left with bare branches."

It is difficult to pinpoint whether global warming is the cause of the milder weather we have undoubtably been experiencing. Nevertheless this year's stunning autumnal display, coupled with bright sunshine, has meant Suffolk's countryside, in a pattern repeated across the country, is being seen at its best.

But Mr Gifford warned: "It has been a lot more haphazard this year. Where normally you would see hedgerows and trees changing at a roughly uniform rate, now we have some species changing quickly and others getting caught out.

"Someone brought a cutting from a cherry tree into college and it had just gone into flower. I think what had happened is we had an early frost but it then turned mild so the plants thinks winter is over.

"The weather can trick plants because they react to temperature change very quickly."

Martin Atkinson, of the National Trust for Essex and South Suffolk, said: "I have never seen colours like this as late as this. We are nearly in December and we are still clearing up leaves.

"All of our properties look absolutely wonderful – the woods at Pin Mill with views over the river Orwell, Dedham Vale – I would say to anybody go out for a walk, it's really lovely."

WEBLINKS

Organisations such as the Woodland Trust are trying to record the timing of seasonal change. For more information try www.phenology.org.uk

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