THE year about to end has been very mixed for plants and trees in the East of England region, according to wildlife experts at the National Trust.

Conservation advisor Matthew Oates said: “A warm and dry summer across the region, with bouts of very warm weather, has helped to avert a wildlife disaster after two extremely wet summers in 2007 and 2008, making 2009 a fantastic year of weather and wildlife events.

 “We’ve in many ways had a more traditional weather year, with an old fashioned cold winter and some hot and dry periods during the spring and summer, particularly in the East of England.  For many insects, and insect feeding birds and mammals, this year has been a saviour as they were being severely tested. With the coldest winter for over twenty years in the south of England and one of the top five warmest years on record the extremes of weather patterns within a single year continue to provide a challenge for our wildlife.

“Some of the biggest winners and losers in 2009 have been plants and trees.  The cold snap in January and February checked growth or damaged boughs on trees, and then the warm wet spring and summer caused unusually rampant vegetation growth.”