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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1130: XXIX International Horticultural Congress on Horticulture: Sustaining Lives, Livelihoods and Landscapes (IHC2014): International Symposia on the Physiology of Perennial Fruit Crops and Production Systems and Mechanisation, Precision Horticulture and Robotics

Dwarfing rootstocks and training systems affect initial growth, cropping and nutrition in 'Skeena' sweet cherry

Authors:   D. Neilsen, G.H. Neilsen, T. Forge, G.A. Lang
Keywords:   Gisela rootstocks, crop load, trunk cross-sectional area, fruit size, water relations, root lesion nematode
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1130.29
There is increased interest in sweet cherry production systems that improve precocity and productivity and reduce labour costs. In 2010, 'Skeena' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) was planted on three size-controlling rootstocks, Gisela 3, 5, 6, in factorial combination with three training systems: central leader axe (Tall Spindle Axe), planar multi-stemmed (Upright Fruiting Offshoots) and bush (Kym Green Bush) in a randomized complete block design with six replicates. Trees were spaced at 1.54 m and received daily drip irrigation scheduled to meet 100% ET. Nutrients (N, P, K, B) were supplied through fertigation. Tree growth, trunk cross-sectional area, (TCSA) and canopy leaf area, and cumulative yield 2012-2014 were unaffected by training system. Gisela 3 had smaller TCSA (33%, 41%) and canopy leaf area (35%, 43%) than Gisela 5 and 6 trees respectively. Gisela 3 trees had lower fruit numbers and cumulative yield than Gisela 5 and Gisela 6 trees. Fruit size was unaffected by treatment but decreased rapidly when leaf area/fruit was <200 cm2. Crop loads >22 fruit per cm-2 TCSA were required to produce high quality fruit of 11 g (28 mm). Reduced growth in Gisela 3 trees, was associated with lower stomatal conductance, stem water potential and possibly, lower uptake of less-mobile nutrients, P and K.

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