Influence of regulated deficit irrigation and environmental conditions on reproductive response of sweet cherry trees

  • Victor Blanco /
  • Pedro José Blaya-Ros /
  • Roque Torres-Sánchez /
  • Rafael Domingo
Journal ar
  • Volumen: 9
  • Número: 1
  • Fecha: 01 January 2020
  • ISSN: 22237747
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.3390/plants9010094
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: MDPI
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.The reproductive response of fifteen year old sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) combination 'Prime Giant'/SL64 under Mediterranean climate to deficit irrigation was studied in a commercial orchard in south-eastern Spain for four seasons. Three irrigation treatments were assayed: (i) control treatment, irrigated without restrictions at 110% of seasonal crop evapotranspiration; (ii) sustained deficit irrigation treatment, irrigated at 85% ETc during pre-harvest and post-harvest periods, and at 100% ETc during floral differentiation, and (iii) regulated deficit irrigation treatment, irrigated at 100% ETc during pre-harvest and floral differentiation and at 55% ETc during post-harvest. The duration and intensity of the phenological phases of sweet cherry trees, including cold accumulation, flowering, fruit set or fruit and vegetative growth, were assessed to ascertain whether the different irrigation strategies imposed affect the trees' reproductive response (fruit yield, fruit size, leaf area, fruit physiological disturbances, and starch and soluble carbohydrates stock) in the same season or have a negative effect in the next season. Deficit irrigation did not advance, enhance or penalize flowering, fruit set or fruit growth. Neither did it diminish carbohydrate concentration in roots or cause an increase in the number of double fruits, which was more linked to high temperatures after harvest. However, deficit irrigation decreased vegetative growth and consequently the leaf area/fruit ratio, which, when it fell below 180 cm2 fruit-1, affected cherry size.

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