Blossom Watch

Blossom Watch

 Mon, March 21, 2022

Castehaven is joining other nature lovers around the UK to help scientists answer whether flowering dates of fruit trees and pollinator flight times remain in sync as the climate warms. The Fruitwatch project aims to gather much-needed data on the timing of fruit tree flowering all over the UK by mobilising citizen scientists to snap photos and submit notes online at this spring.

Cathy Graham, our Environmental Project Manager, is also a certified Community Orchardist (trained by the Orchard Project) and is keen to involve our local community to watch out for early flowering on our fruit trees here in the community park, and elsewhere in Camden.

"We have had a mild winter, says Cathy, which may cause the trees to flower earlier than when insect pollinators are most active. This could have serious implications for common tree species like apple, pear, cherry and plum, which all rely on insect pollination to produce their fruit. In addition, climate change could be impacting both the timing of fruit tree flowering and pollinator flight, which could reduce pollination and fruit production. The project would like our help to gather data on four common fruits Apple, Pear, Plum (including Damson and Greengage), and Cherry."

This citizen science project is led by the University of Reading, supported by computer software company Oracle, with whom the University has also partnered on innovative research into honeybee decline. Members of the public are being encouraged to go out into their gardens, allotments, orchards or parks and let Fruitwatch know what they can see.

Chris Wyver, the PhD researcher at the University of Reading who is leading the Fruitwatch project, says:

“We want as many eyes on as many trees as possible to tell us if climate change really is having an impact on fruit tree pollination. If it is, then action will be required to prevent a potentially significant impact on fruit production."

Information submitted on the FruitWatch website will be uploaded onto an interactive map, providing a clearer picture of how climate change is affecting flowering times compared to pollinator activity across the UK, and how it varies In addition, the website makes it easy to use on a mobile device, which means you can submit your reports, location information and photos of flowering fruit trees on the spot.

So next time you're in our Community Park, take a look at our fruit trees to see if they have blossomed.

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