Apple and pear orchards welcome recent cold snap

One of the country's largest apple and pear producers - based in Kent - has welcomed the arrival of the recent winter chill following the warmest December on record.

AC Gotham and Sons says its orchards need to clock up around 700 hours at temperatures below 7 degrees to help its fruit develop in the spring.

AC Gotham and Sons orchards need 700 hours of temperatures below 7 degrees for its fruit Credit: ITV Meridian

"When flower and leaf buds are formed during the summer and autumn, growth inhibitors accumulate, preventing the buds from opening during the winter. Chilling is then required to break down these growth inhibitors and ensure the buds open at the right time of year.

"Each tree needs a specific number of chill hours below a certain temperature to break dormancy and that varies from variety to variety."

– Nigel Stewart, Technical Director at AC Goatham & Son