Screening Sweet Cherry Selections for Dormant Floral Bud Hardiness

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  • 1 Mount Vernon Research and Extension Unit, 1468 Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, WA 98273-9788
  • | 2 Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Presser, WA 99350

In Dec. 1990, sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) selections varied in floral bud kill from 9% to 92% following exposure to severe cold. In the following winter, the hardiness of two hardy and two tender selections was analyzed by differential thermal analysis (DTA) to screen selections for hardiness. In a mild winter, when buds remained at their minimum hardiness level, the hardy selections consistently were > 2C hardier than the tender selections. About one-half of that hardiness difference was associated with differences in tissue water content, the other half with unknown factors. Buds of the tender selections began to develop earlier and bloomed earlier than the hardy selections. DTA analysis of floral bud populations separated selections that clearly differed in floral bud hardiness.

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