Raised Beds and Microirrigation Influence Peach Production

in HortScience

The performance of peach trees [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Redhaven/Siberian C.] on raised beds as compared to the conventional flat (unraised) orchard floor surface was evaluated from 1982 to 1991. The raised bed was similar to the flat bed in cation exchange capacity (CEC), Ca, P, K, Mg, B, and Zn soil levels in the 0-15 cm depth. Microirrigation, using two 3.7 L.h-1 emitters per tree vs. no irrigation, was applied to trees planted in a north-south orientation on a silt loam, noncalcareous soil. Raised beds increased trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) and yield-efficiency over 5 years. Irrigation increased fruit mass mostly in years of highest evaporation. Significant year to year variations occurred in yield, fruit mass, TCA and yield efficiency. There were significant bed × year interactions for yield and TCA. Irrigation increased leaf boron content regardless of bed type. Leaf potassium was higher in flat beds. Nonirrigated trees had the lowest tree survival on the flat bed, but the opposite was true on the raised bed.

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