Variability in the Relationship between Frost Temperature and Injury Level for Some Cultivated Prunus Species

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  • 1 Departamento de Producción Agraria, Sección de Fruticultura y Viticultura, Universidad Pública de Navarra, Campus de Arrosadía, 31006 Pamplona, Spain

The influence of the species in spring frost sensibility was determined for the Prunus species peach (P. persica (L.) Batsch), sweet cherry (P. avium L.), almond (P. dulcis (Mill.) Webb/P. amygdalus Batsch), japanese plum (P. salicina Lindl.), and blackthorn (P. spinosa L.). The confidence intervals for lethal temperatures of 10% (LT10) and 90% (LT90) bud injury were also determined. In 2000 and 2001, seven frost treatments were made for each one of the phenological stages comprised between B (first swell) and I (jacket split) in two cultivars per each species. The relationships between frost temperature and the proportion of frost damaged buds for each cultivar, year, and phenological stage were adjusted to linear regression models. The 95% confidence intervals were also calculated. The spring frost hardiness order of the species, from the least to most hardy, was as follows: sweet cherry, almond, peach, japanese plum, and blackthorn. Despite the highly homogeneous nature of the frost and bud characteristics, the temperature range for a given injury degree was quite broad, since the confidence interval's breadth for LT10 was as high as about 3 °C and as high as about 6 °C for LT90. Consequently, when critical temperatures are used in making decisions as to when to begin active frost protection, a prudent measure would be to take the temperature references from the upper limits in the confidence intervals.

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