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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 636: XXVI International Horticultural Congress: Key Processes in the Growth and Cropping of Deciduous Fruit and Nut Trees

EFFECTS OF LEAF AREA REMOVAL ON SWEET CHERRY VEGETATIVE GROWTH AND FRUIT QUALITY

Authors:   M.D. Whiting, G.A. Lang
Keywords:   Prunus avium, carbohydrate partitioning, source-sink relations, leaf area, net photosynthesis, fruit weight, soluble solids
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2004.636.57
Abstract:
The effect of altered sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) source-sink relationships was examined in three-year-old branches comprised of current season terminal shoot growth, 1-year-old non-fruiting spurs, and 2-year-old fruiting spurs on 7-year-old 'Bing'/Gisela 5 trees. Treatments were imposed by manually removing dormant vegetative buds (5 March, 2001), and consisted of unmodified control (C), and removal of: terminal shoot bud (-SH), vegetative buds on non-fruiting or fruiting spurs (-1YR and -2YR, respectively), and both the terminal shoot and non-fruiting spur buds (2YRonly). In addition, any lateral shoot growth was removed in all treatments. At harvest, fruit mass and soluble solids were determined. Shoot length, shoot and spur leaf area (LA), and floral bud initiation, when present, were determined immediately following harvest. LA removal had no statistically significant effect on individual fruit mass. Fruit from -2YR had 22% higher soluble solids, compared to C. Shoot length at harvest was unaffected, and was closely and positively related to shoot LA. There were no treatment effects on area per spur leaf. Floral bud initiation was similarly unaffected by LA removal. Determination of single leaf light-saturated net CO2 exchange rate during early stage III of fruit development showed no photosynthetic compensation to reduced branch LA in any treatment. We hypothesize that the general lack of effect was likely due to increased contributions of carbohydrates from storage reserves and source-limiting conditions in sweet cherry branches.
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