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Open AccessArticle

Influence of Regulated Deficit Irrigation and Environmental Conditions on Reproductive Response of Sweet Cherry Trees

1
Dpto Ingeniería Agronómica, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (UPCT), Paseo Alfonso XIII, 48, E-30203 Cartagena, Spain
2
Dpto Automática, Ingeniería Eléctrica y Tecnología Electrónica, Universidad Politécnica de Cartagena (UPCT), Campus de la Muralla s/n, E-30202 Cartagena, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Plants 2020, 9(1), 94; https://doi.org/10.3390/plants9010094
Received: 23 November 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 8 January 2020 / Published: 11 January 2020
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbohydrates stock; chill hours; flowering; fruit setting; irrigation; leaf area; Prunus avium L. carbohydrates stock; chill hours; flowering; fruit setting; irrigation; leaf area; Prunus avium L.
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Blanco, V.; Blaya-Ros, P.J.; Torres-Sánchez, R.; Domingo, R. Influence of Regulated Deficit Irrigation and Environmental Conditions on Reproductive Response of Sweet Cherry Trees. Plants 2020, 9, 94.

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