The increase in the demand for almonds, the development of novel self-fertile and late-flowering varieties, and the establishment of plantations in new irrigated areas have led to significant progress in the productive techniques of almond tree cultivation. One of the most important has been the increase in planting density, due to the development of dwarfing rootstocks. This paper presents a comparison between two training systems with ‘Soleta’ almond cultivar: a super high density (SHD) system using Rootpac-20 dwarfing rootstock versus an open-center training system using GF-677 rootstock. To this end, several parameters related to chlorophyll content (fluorescence and SPAD) and light interception (from photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) measurements) were monitored throughout two vegetative cycles, and other productive conditions (flowering, fruit set and production) were tracked at specific times of the cycle. The open-center system resulted in higher PAR interception than the SHD system, but also in the presence of poorly illuminated fractions of the canopy. Differences were observed between both systems in terms of average fruit weight and yield per canopy volume. Lower yields were obtained in SHD system than in open-center, which may be significantly increased by adapting the inter-row spacing. However, the degree of efficiency in the use of resources or productive inputs, such as irrigation, was favorable to the new SHD training system, so its potential to become a reference system in modern plantations (using over-the-row harvesters similar to those used for vine and olive trees) seems promising.
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