Shoot Preformation and Neoformation in Pistachio: Influences on Bearing Habit and Yield Components

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  • 1 1University of California Davis, Plant Sciences, Davis, CA, 95616
  • | 2 2University of California, Cooperative Extension, Hanford, CA, 93230

Rootstock significantly alters the pattern of shoot growth of pistachio (Pistacia vera) cv. Kerman. Trees grown on P. atlantica typically produce a single flush of spring growth, whereas trees on P. integerrima selection PGI and P. atlantica × P. integerrima selection UCB-1 can produce multiple flushes during the season. We have shown that the spring flush is entirely preformed in the dormant bud for all three rootstocks, but later flushes are neoformed, that is, nodes are initiated and extended during the same season. Shoots producing both preformed and neoformed growth have lower yield efficiency than those producing only preformed growth. Additionally, yield components of the crop from shoots with both preformed and neoformed growth was different than for shoots producing only preformed growth. However, these differences do not appear to be significant at the whole tree level. These data suggest that neoformed growth can both compete with fruit growth for available resources (lower yield efficiency) and act as an additional source (altered yield components), depending on the factor being measured. Controlling neoformed growth may potentially increase pistachio yield through a shift to the more efficient preformed shoots while at the same time lowering orchard maintenance costs by reducing required pruning. We have data to indicate that regulated deficit irrigation and new pruning techniques may be viable methods for controlling neoformed growth in pistachio without affecting yield.

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