RESIDENTS across Somerset are being urged to plough up unproductive lawns to make way for apple orchards amid fears of a flood-induced cider drought.

Growers in the South-West have warned that orchards have been devastated by the wettest winter for 250 years with predicted devastation of the crop for next year’s valuable cider production.

Now the Society for the Cultivation of Apple Matter is stepping in to bring the doomed harvest back on track.

Government scientists have bred a genetically-modified strain of apple tree (sidrus juicius) capable of reaching full maturity in an amazing six months, with each tree guaranteed to produce a crop of just under one tonne of giant apples by September this year.*

And in an echo of the wartime ‘Dig For Victory’ campaign, families are being urged to give over their gardens to plant orchards to help the cause.

Avril Braeburn, of the Federation Of Orchard Lovers, said: “Cider is essential to our economy in the South-West.

"It runs through our veins and is the lifeblood of our rural communities. We have every faith that people will rise to the challenge to protect their heritage.”

To get your free quota of Government apple supertrees visit the federation’s website at

*Saplings must be planted before end of April to qualify for Government guarantee.