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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 903: IX International Symposium on Integrating Canopy, Rootstock and Environmental Physiology in Orchard Systems

WEATHER CONDITIONS AFFECT FRUIT WEIGHT, HARVEST DATE AND SOLUBLE SOLIDS CONTENT OF 'CRESTHAVEN' PEACHES

Authors:   S. Johnson, M.J. Newell, G.L. Reighard, T.L. Robinson, K. Taylor, D. Ward
Keywords:   Prunus persica, fruit size, fruit development period, temperature, rain
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.903.148
Abstract:
In spring 2002, ‘Cresthaven’ peach trees on Lovell rootstock were planted in six locations in the states of California, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and South Carolina. All trees came from the same nursery. During the three seasons of 2004 to 2006, five healthy trees were selected at each site and thinned heavily and early to obtain maximum fruit size. Fruit were first harvested when a few began to soften and all remaining fruit were harvested within one week. Defective, green or abnormally small fruit were thrown out. Fruit were individually weighed and a wedge was taken from each to obtain a composite percent soluble solids content (SSC) reading for each tree. Other data collected included bloom date, daily solar radiation, max/min temperatures and rainfall. Of the 16 location/year combinations (New York was frozen out two years), there was substantial variation in all parameters measured. For example average fruit weight (FrtWt) ranged from 131 to 394 grams, SSC from 10.2 to 15.1%, bloom dates from March 7 to May 2 and time from bloom to harvest (Bl-Hrv) varied from 109 to 143 days. Correlation analysis was conducted to identify weather parameters that could account for the variability in FrtWt, Bl-Hrv and SSC. First, FrtWt and Bl-Hrv were well correlated (positively) with each other (r = 0.86) and thus their correlations with weather parameters were similar. In general, large FrtWt (and longer Bl-Hrv) was associated with cooler temperatures and lower solar radiation in the spring. Greater SSC was associated with a lack of rain before harvest and lower minimum temperatures during the season.
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