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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Natural Hail on the Growth, Physiological Characteristics, Yield, and Quality of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Thompson Seedless under Mediterranean Growing Conditions

1
Department of Agriculture Crop Production and Rural Environment, Laboratory of Viticulture, University of Thessaly, 38446 Volos, Greece
2
Department of Crop Science, Laboratory of Viticulture, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos, 75, 11855 Athens, Greece
3
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali, Università di Perugia, Borgo XX Giugno 74, 06128 Perugia, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2019, 9(4), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy9040197
Received: 25 March 2019 / Revised: 13 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 17 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viticulture and Winemaking under Climate Change)
Hailstorms are typically localized events, and very little is known about their effect on crops. The objective of this study was to examine the physiological and vine performance responses to natural hail, registered four weeks after full bloom, of field-grown Thompson seedless (Vitis vinifera L.) grapevines, one of the most important table grape varieties cultivated in Greece and especially in the Corinthian region in northeastern Peloponnese. Leaf gas exchange, vegetative growth, vine balance indices, cane wood reserves, yield components, and fruit chemical composition were recorded from hail-damaged vines and compared with control vines. Visibly, the extent of the hailstorm damage was great enough to injure or remove leaves as well as cause partial stem bruising and partial injury or total cracking of berries. Our results indicated that natural hail did not affect leaf photosynthesis, berry weight, total acidity, and cane wood reserves but significantly reduced the total leaf area, yield, and the total phenolics of berries at harvest. At the same time, hail-damaged vines increased the leaf area of lateral canes and presented a higher total soluble solid (TSS) accumulation, while no effect on the next year’s fertility was registered. The present work is the first attempt to enhance our understanding of the vegetative yield, berry quality, and physiological responses of grapevines to natural hail, which is an extreme and complex natural phenomenon that is likely to increase due to climate change. View Full-Text
Keywords: leaf area; table grapes; photosynthesis; berry composition; phenolics; natural hail leaf area; table grapes; photosynthesis; berry composition; phenolics; natural hail
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Petoumenou, D.G.; Biniari, K.; Xyrafis, E.; Mavronasios, D.; Daskalakis, I.; Palliotti, A. Effects of Natural Hail on the Growth, Physiological Characteristics, Yield, and Quality of Vitis vinifera L. cv. Thompson Seedless under Mediterranean Growing Conditions. Agronomy 2019, 9, 197.

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