A switch to freezing temperatures has come as a worry to growers and agronomists.
While April frosts are not unusual, Met Office analysts said the fifth warmest March since 1910 may have last month pushed growers into a ‘false sense of security’.
But Frontier agronomist Mike Barry urged growers not to panic, because despite sub-zero temperatures making crops more susceptible to stress, pests were kept at bay and disease was slowed.
“There are some positives among the cold weather,” he said. “Yes it will slow down growth and development, but actually the cold causes plants to wax up and slows pest regrowth.
“There is no cause for panic. Crops this year are developmentally further than usual at this stage, so I think it is nature’s way of settling itself back on track.”
Horticultural experts warned fruit blossom was particularly vulnerable and frost could ‘significantly impact’ British fruit production.
But Farmers Weather expert Garry Nicholson said many east and south-east farmers were ‘desperate’ for substantial rain after experiencing drought-like conditions over the past few weeks.
He predicted the dry spell would continue throughout May, adding: “The recent cooler weather has caused soil temperatures to stagnate through mid-late April, meaning growing has slowed down.
“But there is a chance of becoming much warmer in the first week of May.”