CHRYSANTHEMUMS in ABERDEEN

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2001 Paul Barlow


Climate

Having grown chrysanthemums for twelve years near Chester in the North of England the move to Aberdeen in North East Scotland presented a number of new challenges. For the first couple of years timing of blooms was erratic, largely due to not understanding the different climatic conditions I now faced.

As you may have seen in my Chrysanthemum Records page, here in North East Scotland it appears that it can take up to one month longer to produce blooms of some early flowering disbudded cultivars compared with other UK locations, eg Central and Western Scotland and parts of England .

Why should this be so?

A brief examinantion of some fundamental CLIMATE statistics is quite interesting . The information used in this page was collected from Wittaker's Almanac. Where no specific 'Aberdeen' data was available then data for the the nearest Scottish city has been used (this is usually Glasgow) . I was unable to obtain data specifically for Chester so data for Manchester (about 30 miles east of Chester) has been used. I think this still gives a useful comparison.

The attributes of climate that are particularly influential when growing Early Chrysanthemums are:

The above are also bookmarks to allow faster location of each topic, if required.


Firstly, DAYLENGTH

This graph shows the difference in hours of daylight between Glasgow, Manchester and Littlehampton. The values represent the hours between published sunrise and sunset times.

It is clear that during the particularly short days in the month each side of December 21st, Northern Scotland is at a significant disadvantage compared with Manchester and Littlehampton on the south coast of England.

weather1.gif (6628 bytes)

On the shortest days, a difference of over one hour of daylight between Littlehampton and Glasgow!

This is the main reason why many growers in North East Scotland have installed supplementary lighting systems to increase daylength at this time in the year.

Of course, it's not all bad news. At the height of summer we do get over 90 minutes more daylight every day, compared to Littlehampton.


Second comparison, RAINFALL

The rainfall data represents the period between July 1995 and June 1996, and directly compares Aberdeen with Manchester.

Interestingly, the reputations of both cities are not reflected by the data for this 12 month period.

Normally wet Manchester received less rainfall than Aberdeen in all months except August 96 and June '97.

weather3.gif (5588 bytes)

The total rainfall for the period was:
-Manchester - 646mm

- Aberdeen - 873mm

Of course, the data for this period may not be representative over a longer timescale. However, as chrysanth growers we tend to operate on a year by year basis when looking for reasons for cultural differences.


Third comparison, AVERAGE DAILY TEMPERATURE

This graph again represents the twelve month period between July 1995 and June 1996.

In this picture we see that Manchester is, in all but one month (February 96), several degrees warmer than Aberdeen every day!

weather4.gif (5260 bytes)

In the warmest month, July 95, there was a daily temperature difference of nearly 4 degrees C.


The last comparison is on AVERAGE DAILY HOURS OF SUNSHINE

Again, the North West of England scores quite well in the sunshine stakes when compared with Aberdeen.

Aberdeen received more hours of sun in just three of the twelve months : February, April and May.

weather2.gif (5494 bytes)

The daily average for Manchester is 5 hours of sun compared with Aberdeen's 4.4. Multiply this by 365 and that's a lot of sunshine over twelve months.


In summary, for the period under review, Aberdeen was on average

Wetter,

Colder

and received less sunshine

EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR!

So what does all this information mean for growing chrysanthemums?

The key factors , I think, are that it is colder with less sunshine in Aberdeen and these factors directly contribute to slower growth during the early part of the year. While I'm sure that it's far more complex than I have described in this simplistic comparison, I do believe that these statistics indicate the reason why it can take longer in Aberdeen to grow some early flowering disbud cultivars, than it does further south.

However, I'm also sure that someone out there will disagree with my conclusions! If you do, then I'd like to hear from you.


If you would like further information or wish to comment on this publication please send your e-mail to: paul.barlow@chrysanthemums.info

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Last updated on 23 December, 2001