Anti-hail Net in Korla Fragrant Pear Planting

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Hao WangCollege of Horticulture and Forestry Science, Tarim University, Alar, Xin Jiang 843300, People’s Republic of China

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Yuan-hao SuCollege of Horticulture and Forestry Science, Tarim University, Alar, Xin Jiang 843300, People’s Republic of China

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Jian-ping BaoCollege of Horticulture and Forestry Science, Tarim University, Alar, Xin Jiang 843300, People’s Republic of China; Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps Key Laboratory of Biological Resources Conservation and Utilization in Tarim Basin, Alar, Xin Jiang 843300, People’s Republic of China; and National and Local Joint Engineering Laboratory of High-efficiency and High-quality Cultivation and Deep Processing Technology of Characteristic Fruit Trees in Southern Xinjiang, Alar, Xin Jiang 843300, People’s Republic of China

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Korla fragrant pear is the main pear variety and one of the most famous fruits in Southern Xinjiang. The use of protective nets in fruit tree production is increasing; however, the cultivation of Korla fragrant pear in Xinjiang has yet to be developed. Therefore, we used the ground and underground microclimate anti-hail network and open-air conditions to determine the fruit quality and measure tree growth-related indicators. Additionally, we subsequently recorded the average yield of fragrant pear fruits to evaluate their economic value under the anti-hail net and open-air environments. Furthermore, we performed a correlation analysis to explore the correlation between environmental factors and fruit quality and growth under the two conditions. We found that the anti-hail net cover provided a conducive environment for the vegetative and reproductive growth of trees. Under similar fruit quality conditions, the average yield was markedly higher under the anti-hail net environment than under the open-air environment. Furthermore, the economic benefit under the anti-hail net was higher for all factors, except for the average facility cost during the previous year, than that under the open-air condition.

Abstract

Korla fragrant pear is the main pear variety and one of the most famous fruits in Southern Xinjiang. The use of protective nets in fruit tree production is increasing; however, the cultivation of Korla fragrant pear in Xinjiang has yet to be developed. Therefore, we used the ground and underground microclimate anti-hail network and open-air conditions to determine the fruit quality and measure tree growth-related indicators. Additionally, we subsequently recorded the average yield of fragrant pear fruits to evaluate their economic value under the anti-hail net and open-air environments. Furthermore, we performed a correlation analysis to explore the correlation between environmental factors and fruit quality and growth under the two conditions. We found that the anti-hail net cover provided a conducive environment for the vegetative and reproductive growth of trees. Under similar fruit quality conditions, the average yield was markedly higher under the anti-hail net environment than under the open-air environment. Furthermore, the economic benefit under the anti-hail net was higher for all factors, except for the average facility cost during the previous year, than that under the open-air condition.

Korla fragrant pear (Pyrus bretschneideri Rehd) is a unique variety in the Rosaceae family that is mainly produced in the fruit tree belt around the Tarim Basin in Xinjiang, China. The pear is famous worldwide because of its thin skin, delicate flesh, juiciness, and high sugar content (Gao et al., 2005). In addition, the production of the Korla fragrant pear in Xinjiang has increased because of its economic benefits. Therefore, the korla pear fruit industry has become an important contributing factor in the local economy (Chen et al., 2020).

However, extreme weather, such as hail, has caused significant economic losses in apple and pear production, thus limiting the development of the fruit industry in Xinjiang (Shen and Gao, 2021). Additionally, the extreme light intensity experienced in the summer in Xinjiang may burn bark tissue (Szyma’nska et al., 2017) and cause fruit sunburn, leading to economic losses. However, protective nets (also known as anti-hail nets or shading nets) have been widely used in fruit tree production globally (Manja and Aoun, 2019). The anti-hail net is a mesh made of high-density polyethylene material to improve flexibility and reduce mechanical damage (Castellano et al., 2010). Previous studies mainly focused on the effects of net color and the level of net cover on the yield and quality of pears. The protective nets can cover the whole tree, thereby preventing damage from birds, fruit bats, insects, and wind (Chouinard et al., 2017). However, semi-covered protective nets are usually set at the top of the tree, leaving sufficient space for growth and preventing hail damage to fruits and trees (Mupambi et al., 2018). Previous studies have shown that the protective net cover increases light scattering (Nissim-Levi et al., 2008) and reduces light intensity and fruit burn (Lu, 2014). Furthermore, protective nets create an excellent microclimate by maintaining conducive relative humidity, soil and air temperatures, light intensity, and soil water content for fruit trees (Vera et al., 2019). In addition, tree protection and improvement of fruit quality and yield by protective nets have been well-documented by previous studies (Bosco et al., 2020; Girona and Behboudian, 2012). However, previous studies of anti-hail networks have mainly focused on apples; therefore, studies of pear fruits remain limited. With the introduction of technology, anti-hail networks have been used for Korla fragrant pear production in Southern Xinjiang.

The experiment was performed during a high incidence of hail disasters in Xinjiang. Factors such as microclimate and fruit tree growth and quality were used to compare the differences in various indicators of the Korla fragrant pear in the anti-hail net and open-air environments. The indicators were subsequently used to determine the effect of anti-hail net establishment on fruit quality, tree growth, and economic benefits.

Materials and Methods

Test location and materials.

This study was performed at the Korla fragrant pear demonstration orchard (40.55 °N, 81.02 °E) of the second battalion of the ninth regiment of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps of China from June to Sept. 2021. The orchard covers 10 ha. The anti-hail net with a 3- to 5-year service life span was erected on 3 ha of the orchard. The primary cultivation method used during this study had inter- and in-row spacing of 4 and 1.5 m (Fig. 1), respectively. The Korla fragrant pear trees were used as the primary variety, and the Dangshansu pear trees were used as pollinators. All management practices were in accordance with commercial production standards, except for the areas covered by the anti-hail net.

Weather statistics.

During the study period, the weather was overcast, with light rain on 12, 13, 19, 21, and 31 July, 12, 14, 27, and 28 Aug., and 1 and 12 Sept. According to field observations, there was small-particle hail on 13, 19, and 31 July and 28 Aug.

Effect of anti-hail nets on microclimatic factors.

According to previous meteorological reports, June to September is a period when a high incidence of hail disasters occurs (Shen and Gao, 2021). Therefore, the study was performed from 21 June to 12 Sept. by measuring the relevant microclimate data every 20 d. During this study, the Korla fragrant pear in an open-air environment was used as the control. Temperature, humidity, and light intensity of each measurement stage were measured at 0800, 1200, and 1800 hr local time using a DJL-18 temperature, humidity, and illumination meter (Zhejiang Tuopu Agricultural Science and Technology Co., Ltd., Zhejiang, China). The surface (20 and 40 cm) soil temperature was measured using a geothermometer (Brannan, San Francisco, CA). All parameters, except the soil moisture content, were measured from three randomly selected trees. Soil samples were collected from depths of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 cm at 0800, 1200, and 1800 hr to determine the water content. Representative sunny and rainy days were selected, and all other indices except the soil moisture content were measured at 1-h intervals from 0800 to 1800 hr.

Effect of anti-hail nets on Korla fragrant pear tree growth.

During the last period of the microclimate measurements, the length and diameter of spring, summer, and autumn Korla fragrant pear tree shoots and the taper of the branches in the open-air and anti-hail net environments were measured. The soil and plant analyzer development (SPAD) values of 30 leaves were measured at three locations, with each using a TYS-A chlorophyll meter (Zhejiang Tuopu Instrument Co., Ltd.) according to the methods of Ji et al. (2020). Additionally, 60 leaves were randomly collected to measure the leaf type index and water content.

Effect of anti-hail nets on Korla fragrant pear fruit quality.

Thirty pear fruits were randomly picked from each of the two environments on 25 Sept. The single fruit weight was measured using an electronic balance (Thermo Fisher Scientific, Waltham, MA). The fruit length and width were measured using an electronic vernier caliper (Mitutoyo Instruments, Kawasaki, Japan). The fruit hardness was measured using a hardness tester (Mitutoyo Instruments). The content of fruit soluble solids was measured using a digital refractometer PAL-1 (ATAGO Co., Ltd, Tokyo, Japan). The freezing method (Wang et al., 2013) was used to determine the fruit cell and peel wax contents (Zheng et al., 2019). A hand-held colorimeter CR410 (Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc., Tokyo, Japan) was used to measure the degree of skin color.

Effect of anti-hail nets on yield and economic benefit.

After the completion of fruit collection from the orchard, the yield and purchase price of the year were determined through market research under the anti-hail net and open-air environments to evaluate the overall economic benefit and the cost per unit area under the anti-hail network.

Data analysis.

Data processing and view rendering were performed using Excel 365 (Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA) and Prism 8 (GraphPad, San Diego, CA) software.

Results

Effects of anti-hail nets on the aboveground microenvironment.

The air temperature, relative humidity, and light intensity of the anti-hail net and open-air environments are shown in Fig. 2. At most time points, the air temperature in the anti-hail net environment was higher than that in the open-air environment (Fig. 2A–C). We compared several dates with significant differences in these factors. We found that on 21 June, 2 Aug., and 12 Sept., the air temperatures in the anti-hail net environment were 2.67, 1.94, and 1.08 °C higher than those in the open-air environment on the same dates, respectively. Contrarily, the relative humidity in the open-air environment was higher than that in the anti-hail net environment. On 21 June, 23 Aug., and 12 Sept., the relative humidity in the open-air environment was markedly higher than that in the anti-hail network environment (Fig. 2D–F). The relative humidity in the open-air environment was 11.53%, 3.86%, and 7.63% higher than that in the anti-hail network environment on the same dates, respectively. However, at each data collection date, the light intensity in the open-air environment was higher than that in the anti-hail net environment. The light intensities recorded at all time points in the open-air environment (Fig. 2G–I) were consistently higher than those in the anti-hail net environment, particularly on sunny days.

Fig. 1.
Fig. 1.

Field photographs of anti-hail network and open-air environments.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

Fig. 2.
Fig. 2.

The temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), and light intensity (Lux) of the anti-hail network environment and open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4. Multiple comparisons were performed to analyze the explicitness of the data. *P < 0.05. **P < 0.005. ***0.0001 < P < 0.005. ****P < 0.0001.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

Effects on soil temperature.

The soil surface and underground (20 and 40 cm) temperatures under the anti-hail net and open-air environments are shown in Fig. 3. The effects of changes in soil depth on soil temperature at different dates were markedly different between the anti-hail net and open-air environments. According to nine measurements, soil temperatures in the open-air environment were markedly higher than those in the anti-hail net environment. However, the differences were concentrated in the 20-cm and 40-cm soil depths. The average surface soil temperatures of each measurement cycle in the anti-hail net environment were 0.48, 0.39, 2.10, 1.20, and 0.99 °C higher than those in the open-air environment. The average soil temperatures at the depth of 20 cm at each measurement cycle in the open-air environment were 0.79, 0.79, 0.06, 0.9, and 0.68 °C higher than those in the anti-hail network environment. At the depth of 20 cm, there was no significant difference in soil temperature between the two environments. However, there were four points at 1800 hr when the soil temperatures were markedly higher under the open-air condition than under the anti-hail network condition. At the depth of 40 cm, the average soil temperature of the open-air environment was generally higher than that of the anti-hail network. The average soil temperatures at the depth of 40 cm in each measurement cycle of the open-air environment were 1.53, 0.70, 0.11, 0.62, and 0.88 °C higher than those of the anti-hail network environment. The soil temperature differences increased with increasing soil depth.

Fig. 3.
Fig. 3.

Comparison of soil temperatures at different depths (°C) of the anti-hail network environment and the open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4. Multiple comparisons were performed to analyze the explicitness among data. *P < 0.05. **P < 0.005. ***0.0001 < P < 0.005. ****P < 0.0001.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

Effect of the anti-hail environment on soil water content.

The difference in the soil water content of the anti-hail net and open-air environments at different depths is shown in Fig. 4. On 2 Aug., the soil water content was higher in the open-air environment than in the anti-hail network at soil depths of 20 cm and 40 cm. However, the percentage of soil water at each depth in the anti-hail net environment was higher than that in the open-air environment. As shown in Fig. 4B, E, and F, the percentage of soil water in the anti-hail network environment was considerably higher than that in the open-air environment at the later period. As the soil depth changed, the soil water contents of the anti-hail net environment were 0.09%, 0.09%, 0.31%, 1.57%, 1.67%, and 1.81% higher than those of the open-air environment. The difference between the two environments increased with the increasing soil depth, indicating that the anti-hail net inhibited evaporation.

Fig. 4.
Fig. 4.

Comparison of soil water content (%) in different depths of the anti-hail network environment and open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 5. Multiple comparisons were performed to analyze the explicitness of data. *P < 0.05. **P < 0.005. ***0.0001 < P < 0.005. ****P < 0.0001.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

Comparison of the microclimates on cloudy days.

Differences between the anti-hail net and open-air microenvironments on cloudy days are shown in Fig. 5. From 1100 to 1400 hr, the soil temperature changes in the two microenvironments were almost similar. However, between 0900 and 1000 hr, the soil temperature of the anti-hail net environment was slightly higher than that of the open-air environment. Furthermore, the daily average soil temperature of the anti-hail net environment was 0.05 °C higher than that of the open-air environment. The change in relative humidity on a particular day is shown in Fig. 5B. The data were similar at most time points in the two microenvironments, but they were different at 0800, 1000, 1400, and 1700 hr. The daily average relative humidity difference between the anti-hail network and open-air environments was 1.14%. Throughout the measurement cycle, the light intensity of the open-air environment was 2.46 Klux higher than that of the anti-hail net environment (Fig. 5C). As shown in Fig. 5D, the daily average surface soil temperature of the anti-hail net environment was 0.19 °C higher than that of the open-air environment. The soil temperature increased with an increase in soil depth in both environments. However, this effect was higher in the open-air environment than in the anti-hail network, with differences of 0.49 °C and 0.52 °C at 20 cm and 40 cm, respectively.

Fig. 5.
Fig. 5.

Diurnal dynamic changes of air temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), light intensity (Lux), and soil temperature (°C) in the cloudy and microenvironment of the anti-hail network environment and the open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

Comparison of the microclimate on sunny days.

The differences in microclimatic parameters between the anti-hail net and open-air environments on sunny days are shown in Fig. 6. The temperature changes in the anti-hail net and open-air environment were generally the same (Fig. 6A). However, there was a huge difference in the temperature changes at 1100 hr. The daily average temperature in the anti-hail net environment was 1.09 °C higher than that in the open-air environment. The relative humidity of the open-air environment slightly decreased when the air temperature increased at mid-day (Fig. 6B). Contrarily, the dynamics in relative humidity were insignificant throughout the day under the anti-hail network environment. However, the daily average relative humidity of the open-air environment was 1.96% higher than that of the anti-hail net environment. Furthermore, the daily average light intensity of the open-air environment was 21.99 Klux higher than that of the anti-hail network environment.

Fig. 6.
Fig. 6.

All-day dynamic changes in air temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), light intensity (Lux), and soil temperature (°C) in the sunny microenvironment of the anti-hail network environment and the open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

The soil temperature changes were very similar to those on cloudy days. Changes in soil surface temperature under the two environments were almost similar (Fig. 6D). For example, the daily average surface soil temperature of the anti-hail net environment was 0.12 °C lower than that of the open-air environment. Similar to that on a cloudy day, the soil temperature increased as depth increased (Fig. 6E and F) in both environments. However, the soil temperatures of the open-air environment were 1.27 °C and 1.46 °C higher than those of the anti-hail network environment at 20 cm and 40 cm, respectively.

Tree growth comparison.

According to the related indices of branch growth and Korla fragrant pear, we found that the average taper of spring shoots in the anti-hail net environment was 0.13 larger than that in the open-air environment (Table 1). The summer and autumn shoot tapers in the anti-hail net environment were lower than those in the open-air environment, but the difference was not significant. The leaf shape index of plants in the anti-hail net environment was markedly higher than that of plants in the open-air environment. Similarly, the leaf water content and leaf SPAD values were 1.84% and 1.23 higher in the anti-hail net environment than in the open-air environment. Furthermore, the indices of the three leaves in the anti-hail net environment were significantly higher than those in the open-air environment. Therefore, the determination of the related indicators of branches and leaves revealed that the anti-hail net environment had no effect on the growth of shoots in the summer and autumn, but it did have a positive effect on the indicators of leaves, which is important for the long-term growth and development of fruit trees.

Table 1.

The branch tip taper, leaf shape index, leaf water content, and SPAD value. Values are means ± se (shoots, N = 15; leaves, N = 30). Different letters demonstrate significant differences between treatments.

Table 1.

Comparison of fruit quality.

Based on the value of each index of the Korla fragrant pear fruit quality of the anti-hail net environment and the open-air environment, we found that during the same picking period, the average individual fruit weight in the open-air environment was 11.12 g higher than that in the anti-hail net environment (Table 2). Contrarily, the fruit hardness in the anti-hail net environment was 1.13°N higher than that in the open-air environment. However, there was no significant difference in the stone cell contents of the two environments. We also found that the content of soluble solids of fragrant pear fruits in the open-air environment was higher than those in the anti-hail net environment, but the difference was not statistically different. Therefore, although the anti-hail net markedly reduced the weight and hardness of individual fruits, other pulp-related indices were not significantly affected. Therefore, the fragrant pear maturity in the anti-hail net environment was delayed to a certain extent.

Table 2.

The fruit weight (g), fruit shape index, fruit hardness (N), stone cell content (%), soluble solids content, pericarp spots, and pericarp wax (%) (the fruits N = 30). Values are means ± se. Different letters demonstrate significant differences between treatments.

Table 2.

Among the related peel indicators, the peel wax content in the open-air environment was 1.09% higher than that in the anti-hail net environment. Additionally, the anti-hail net reduced the number of fruit spots in the pericarp. When considering the fruit color, the fruit L* (surface color brightness) of the open-air environment was higher than that of the anti-hail net environment. However, there were no significant differences in a* (red-green degree) and b* (yellow-blue degree) of the open-air and anti-hail net environments. The difference in L* values may be correlated with the higher wax content in the fruit pericarp in the open environment than in the anti-hail net environment, indicating that the anti-hail net had a significant influence on fruit color. Overall, fruit color was unaffected after covering with the anti-hail net, whereas the number of fruit spots and wax content in the peel decreased significantly.

Yield and economic benefits.

The single fruit weight of pears in the open-air environment was more than that in the anti-hail net environment (Table 3); however, other indicators were not significantly different. Therefore, we evaluated the yield and economic benefits of pears covered with anti-hail nets adjacent to the open-air environment. Hail and other extreme weather conditions markedly reduced the average yield in the open-air environment to one-third that of the anti-hail net environment. The single fruit weight and firmness problems observed during data collection were resolved by delaying harvest. However, after adjusting the cost of facility construction and the economic benefits, the anti-hail suppression net still proved beneficial.

Table 3.

The mean yield (ha), economic benefit (RMB), and facilities cost (RMB).

Table 3.

Correlation analysis of environmental factors and fruit growth and quality.

We used an intergroup correlation analysis to analyze environmental factors, fruit quality, and tree growth. As shown in Fig. 7, there were significant correlations between the environmental indicators and fruit quality and growth. However, the effects were different between the anti-hail net and open-air environments. Under the anti-hail net environment, we found that some branch growth and leaf indices were correlated with some peel indices. However, in the open-air environment, most correlations were negative. There were no significant correlations between growth and fruit quality. We found a strong correlation between environmental factors and other indicators in the open-air environment (Fig. 7). Therefore, most of the fruit quality and tree growth indicators in the anti-hail net environment were less affected by environmental factors than those of the open-air environment. Therefore, the anti-hail net environment provides a suitable environment for the vegetative and reproductive growth of trees.

Fig. 7.
Fig. 7.

On the right side of the heat map, the transverse and longitudinal axes show the correlation between fruit quality and fruit growth. In the heat map, the color of each color block in each square indicates that the correlation coefficient between each factor is positive or negative, and the color block size indicates the absolute value of the correlation coefficient. The left connecting line connects the environmental factors with these indicators individually. Lines show a strong correlation. Red indicates positive. Blue indicates negative.

Citation: HortScience 57, 8; 10.21273/HORTSCI16615-22

Discussion

Anti-hail nets have a positive effect on agricultural production (Bai et al., 2010). Previous studies have shown that anti-hail nets alleviate abiotic stress and reduce extreme weather effects (Liu et al., 2011). However, irrespective of the widespread use of various anti-hail nets worldwide, their use in Xinjiang is still low. Previous studies have reported that anti-hail nets can reduce economic losses caused by extreme weather (Aldrich et al., 2010). However, few studies have reported the effects of anti-hail nets on tree growth, fruit quality, yield, and economic benefits. Therefore, in the current study, we evaluated the microclimate, fruit growth, fruit quality, yield, and economic benefits of the anti-hail net and open-air environments from June to Sept. 2021, which is a period with a high incidence of extreme weather, such as hailstorms, in Xinjiang.

Light intensity is the most important factor determining the growth, development, quality, and yield of fruit trees (do Amarante et al., 2011). Previous studies have shown that drought, high air temperature, high light intensity, and many other environmental stresses affect photosynthesis (Kuai et al., 2008). Generally, soil and air temperature changes are correlated with light intensity; however, previous studies have shown that increases in the microclimate soil and air temperature are caused by a reduction in light intensity after covering trees with the anti-hail net (Su et al., 2011). The anti-hail net used during this experiment was made of high-density polyethylene, and the pores in its structure had reflective and scattering effects on light (Shahak et al., 2008). Therefore, the light intensity of the anti-hail network environment was generally lower than that of the open-air environment, particularly on sunny days. Other studies have shown that covering trees with hail nets can improve light intensity utilization efficiency and reduce sunburn (Lu, 2014). In the current study, the damage caused by excessive light intensity on Korla fragrant pear trees was reduced by using hail suppression nets, and the photosynthetic efficiency was effectively improved. During this study, a comparison between the long-term microclimate data (Fig. 2) and the all-day microclimate data (Fig. 5) indicated that when the light intensity was weak for a certain period, the difference in light intensity between the two environments was not significant. However, the stronger the light intensity was at a time point, the greater the difference in light intensity between the two environments, which was consistent with the findings of previous studies. When the shoots and leaves of fruit trees in different environments were compared, the taper of spring shoots in the anti-hail net environment was considerably larger than that in the open-air environment, and other leaf-related indicators in the anti-hail net environment were higher than those in the open-air environment. The anti-hail net promoted tree growth, which was consistent with the results of previous studies.

Temperature affects physiological processes in plants (Brakke and Allen, 1995) and is the most basic factor affecting plant life activities (Jia et al., 2016). Previous studies have shown that the effect of the anti-hail nets on soil and air temperature is not significant (Liu et al., 2011). However, a study showed that the air temperatures on sunny and cloudy days under anti-hail nets with different apertures were higher than those in an open-air environment. In the current study, the anti-hail net environment somewhat improved the microclimate temperature. Furthermore, it was found that the difference in soil temperatures of the two environments increased with the increasing soil depth in the long term. When soil temperature was measured during a single day, the dynamic trend of soil temperature changed with changes in depth and differed between the two environments.

Water is an environmental factor important for plant growth and development. Previous studies have shown that the soil and air water contents affect plant physiological activities (Vera et al., 2019). Other studies have shown that using an anti-hail net can improve water use efficiency (Girona and Behboudian, 2012). In this study, there were differences in water-related indicators of the two environments. For example, with increasing depth, the soil moisture content was higher in the anti-hail net environment than in the open-air environment. However, there was a general increase in the soil moisture content in the two environments with increasing depth. When comparing the relative humidity, the anti-hail net environment had a better water retention effect because of higher relative humidity than that in the open-air environment during most periods, thereby indicating the positive effect of hail suppression network on small environments.

Studies of the application of anti-hail nets have mainly focused on apples. Related studies have shown that anti-hail nets can optimize the orchard environment (Bosco et al., 2020). In addition, it was found that the anti-hail net environment improved the growth of fruit trees compared with that of the open-air environment (Bai et al., 2010). This experiment was conducted from June to September, which is a period with a high probability of hail and Korla fragrant pear fruit enlargement and ripening. Therefore, all data collections and analyses were performed during the same period. We obtained the measurement data over the course of 20 d. We also recorded the time and frequency of hail in the experimental area from June to September. Furthermore, we analyzed the correlation between environmental factors and fruit quality and growth. We found that the growth of Korla fragrant pear trees in the anti-hail net environment was better than that in the open-air environment. Moreover, the marketable yield in the anti-hail net environment was markedly higher than that in the open-air environment because of fruit drop and damage caused by hail in the latter, leading to unmarketable fruits, and also because the fruit with damaged peel was harvested. Therefore, we found that the anti-hail net could optimize tree growth, which was consistent with the results of previous studies of apples. In the present study, pear fruit peel indices in the two environments were different, but there was no significant difference in other indicators, consistent with the results of previous studies.

Conclusion

We found that covering fruit trees with anti-hail nets can change various environmental factors to varying degrees, thereby promoting vegetative and reproductive growth. In addition, during the harvest period, although there was little difference in fruit quality, the fruit yield under the anti-hail net environment was improved, subsequently increasing the economic benefits.

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  • Gao, Q.M., Li, J. & Li, Y. 2005 Research progress of Korla fragrant pear Non-wood. For. Res. 01 79 82 https://doi.org/10.3969/j.issn.1003-8981.2005.01.024

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Girona, J. & Behboudian, M.H. 2012 Effect of hail nets on the microclimate, irrigation requirements, tree growth, and fruit yield of peach orchards in Catalonia (Spain) J. Hortic. Sci. Biotechnol. 87 6 545 550 https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2012.11512909

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ji, T., Wang, B., Yang, J.Y., Liu, X.N., Wang, H.W., Wang, C.L., Pan, D.R. & Xu, J. 2020 Simulation estimation of chlorophyll content of turfgrass based on hyperspectral data Guangpuxue Yu Guangpu Fenxi 40 08 2571 2577

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jia, X., Zhao, Y., Liu, T., Huang, S. & Chang, Y. 2016 Elevated CO2 increases glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP) in the rhizosphere of Robinia pseudoacacia L. seedlings in Pb- and Cd-contaminated soils Environ. Pollut. (Barking, Essex: 1987) 218 349 357 http://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.07.010

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuai, C.Z., Yang, Z.X., Liu, S.J., Wu, G.L., Chen, H.J. & Zheng, X.B. 2008 Research progress on sunburn of deciduous fruit trees Guoshu Xuebao 06 901 907

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, J., Li, J.C., Zhang, D.F., Wang, X.F. & Tian, Q.K. 2011 Effect of hail suppression network on temperature and humidity in vineyard. Non-wood For. Res. 29 03 93 96 https://doi.org/10.14067/j.cnki.1003-8981.2011.03.013

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lu, M.D 2014 Study on delayed harvest cultivation techniques of ‘Yinhong’ grape Zhejiang University

  • Manja, K. & Aoun, M. 2019 The use of nets for tree fruit crops and their impact on the production: A review Scientia Hort. 246 110 122 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.10.050

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mupambi, G., Anthony, B.M., Layne, D.R., Musacchi, S., Serra, S., Schmidt, T. & Kalcsits, L. A. 2018 The influence of protective netting on tree physiology and fruit quality of apple Sci. Hort. 236 60 72 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.03.014

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nissim-Levi, A., Hamburger, D., Forrer, I., Farkash, L., Oren-Shamir, M., Ovadia, R. & Kagan, S. 2008 Light-scattering shade net increases branching and flowering in ornamental pot plants J. Hortic. Sci. Biotechnol. 83 1 9 14 https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2008.11512340

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shahak, Y., Ratner, K., Giller, Y.E., Zur, N., Or, E., Gussakovsky, E.E. & Harcavi, E. 2008 Improving solar energy utilization, productivity and fruit quality in orchards and vineyards by photoselective netting Acta Hort. 772 65 72

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shen, Y.H. & Gao, Y. 2021 Investigation on the rule of law operation of natural disaster prevention and control in Xinjiang production and construction corps J. Xinjiang University 49 06 27 34 https://doi.org/10.13568/j.cnki.Issn1000-2820.2021.06.004. (Philosophy Humanities and Social Sciences Edition)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Su, H.B., Zhang, L. & Teng, B.Q. 2011 Effects of hail suppression network construction on ecological factors in apple orchard Non-wood Forest Research. 29 03 84 87 + 96 https://doi.org/10.14067/j.cnki.1003-8981.2011.03.012

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Szyma’nska, R., Orzechowska, A., Ślesak, I. & Kruk, J. 2017 Physiological and biochemical responses to high light and temperature stress in plants Environ. Exp. Bot. 139 165 177 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vera, J., Conejero, W. & Conesa, M.R. 2019 Irrigation factor approach based on soil water content: A nectarine orchard case study Water-Sui. 11 3 589 https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030589

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wang, B., Zhang, N., Yan, C.C., Jin, Q., Lin, Y., Cai, Y.P. & Zhang, J.Y. 2013 Effect of bagging on stone cell development and lignin metabolism of Dangshan pear fruit Yuan Yi Xue Bao 40 03 531 539 https://doi.org/10.16420/j.issn.0513-353x.2013.03.017

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zheng, F.Q., Xu, C.X., Ma, Y.P., Chen, X.P., Ye, S.M. & Xu, S.Y. 2019 Effects of cold storage on wax content, chemical composition and surface micromorphology of ‘Gonggan’ Fruit. J. Fruit Sci. 236 12 1720 1730 https://doi.org/10.13925/j.cnki.gsxb.20190234

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation

Contributor Notes

This study was supported by Innovation and Entrepreneurship Training Program for College Students of Tarim University (2021047), and by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31860528 and U2003121).

We thank Editage (www.Editage.cn) for providing linguistic assistance during the preparation of this article.

J.-p.B. is the corresponding author. E-mail: baobao-xinjiang@126.com.

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    Fig. 1.

    Field photographs of anti-hail network and open-air environments.

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    Fig. 2.

    The temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), and light intensity (Lux) of the anti-hail network environment and open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4. Multiple comparisons were performed to analyze the explicitness of the data. *P < 0.05. **P < 0.005. ***0.0001 < P < 0.005. ****P < 0.0001.

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    Fig. 3.

    Comparison of soil temperatures at different depths (°C) of the anti-hail network environment and the open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4. Multiple comparisons were performed to analyze the explicitness among data. *P < 0.05. **P < 0.005. ***0.0001 < P < 0.005. ****P < 0.0001.

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    Fig. 4.

    Comparison of soil water content (%) in different depths of the anti-hail network environment and open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 5. Multiple comparisons were performed to analyze the explicitness of data. *P < 0.05. **P < 0.005. ***0.0001 < P < 0.005. ****P < 0.0001.

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    Fig. 5.

    Diurnal dynamic changes of air temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), light intensity (Lux), and soil temperature (°C) in the cloudy and microenvironment of the anti-hail network environment and the open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4.

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    Fig. 6.

    All-day dynamic changes in air temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), light intensity (Lux), and soil temperature (°C) in the sunny microenvironment of the anti-hail network environment and the open-air environment. For each measurement index and time point, the mean N = 4.

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    Fig. 7.

    On the right side of the heat map, the transverse and longitudinal axes show the correlation between fruit quality and fruit growth. In the heat map, the color of each color block in each square indicates that the correlation coefficient between each factor is positive or negative, and the color block size indicates the absolute value of the correlation coefficient. The left connecting line connects the environmental factors with these indicators individually. Lines show a strong correlation. Red indicates positive. Blue indicates negative.

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  • Gao, Q.M., Li, J. & Li, Y. 2005 Research progress of Korla fragrant pear Non-wood. For. Res. 01 79 82 https://doi.org/10.3969/j.issn.1003-8981.2005.01.024

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Girona, J. & Behboudian, M.H. 2012 Effect of hail nets on the microclimate, irrigation requirements, tree growth, and fruit yield of peach orchards in Catalonia (Spain) J. Hortic. Sci. Biotechnol. 87 6 545 550 https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2012.11512909

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ji, T., Wang, B., Yang, J.Y., Liu, X.N., Wang, H.W., Wang, C.L., Pan, D.R. & Xu, J. 2020 Simulation estimation of chlorophyll content of turfgrass based on hyperspectral data Guangpuxue Yu Guangpu Fenxi 40 08 2571 2577

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Jia, X., Zhao, Y., Liu, T., Huang, S. & Chang, Y. 2016 Elevated CO2 increases glomalin-related soil protein (GRSP) in the rhizosphere of Robinia pseudoacacia L. seedlings in Pb- and Cd-contaminated soils Environ. Pollut. (Barking, Essex: 1987) 218 349 357 http://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.07.010

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuai, C.Z., Yang, Z.X., Liu, S.J., Wu, G.L., Chen, H.J. & Zheng, X.B. 2008 Research progress on sunburn of deciduous fruit trees Guoshu Xuebao 06 901 907

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Liu, J., Li, J.C., Zhang, D.F., Wang, X.F. & Tian, Q.K. 2011 Effect of hail suppression network on temperature and humidity in vineyard. Non-wood For. Res. 29 03 93 96 https://doi.org/10.14067/j.cnki.1003-8981.2011.03.013

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lu, M.D 2014 Study on delayed harvest cultivation techniques of ‘Yinhong’ grape Zhejiang University

  • Manja, K. & Aoun, M. 2019 The use of nets for tree fruit crops and their impact on the production: A review Scientia Hort. 246 110 122 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.10.050

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mupambi, G., Anthony, B.M., Layne, D.R., Musacchi, S., Serra, S., Schmidt, T. & Kalcsits, L. A. 2018 The influence of protective netting on tree physiology and fruit quality of apple Sci. Hort. 236 60 72 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.03.014

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nissim-Levi, A., Hamburger, D., Forrer, I., Farkash, L., Oren-Shamir, M., Ovadia, R. & Kagan, S. 2008 Light-scattering shade net increases branching and flowering in ornamental pot plants J. Hortic. Sci. Biotechnol. 83 1 9 14 https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2008.11512340

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shahak, Y., Ratner, K., Giller, Y.E., Zur, N., Or, E., Gussakovsky, E.E. & Harcavi, E. 2008 Improving solar energy utilization, productivity and fruit quality in orchards and vineyards by photoselective netting Acta Hort. 772 65 72

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Shen, Y.H. & Gao, Y. 2021 Investigation on the rule of law operation of natural disaster prevention and control in Xinjiang production and construction corps J. Xinjiang University 49 06 27 34 https://doi.org/10.13568/j.cnki.Issn1000-2820.2021.06.004. (Philosophy Humanities and Social Sciences Edition)

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Su, H.B., Zhang, L. & Teng, B.Q. 2011 Effects of hail suppression network construction on ecological factors in apple orchard Non-wood Forest Research. 29 03 84 87 + 96 https://doi.org/10.14067/j.cnki.1003-8981.2011.03.012

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Szyma’nska, R., Orzechowska, A., Ślesak, I. & Kruk, J. 2017 Physiological and biochemical responses to high light and temperature stress in plants Environ. Exp. Bot. 139 165 177 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.002

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Vera, J., Conejero, W. & Conesa, M.R. 2019 Irrigation factor approach based on soil water content: A nectarine orchard case study Water-Sui. 11 3 589 https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030589

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wang, B., Zhang, N., Yan, C.C., Jin, Q., Lin, Y., Cai, Y.P. & Zhang, J.Y. 2013 Effect of bagging on stone cell development and lignin metabolism of Dangshan pear fruit Yuan Yi Xue Bao 40 03 531 539 https://doi.org/10.16420/j.issn.0513-353x.2013.03.017

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Zheng, F.Q., Xu, C.X., Ma, Y.P., Chen, X.P., Ye, S.M. & Xu, S.Y. 2019 Effects of cold storage on wax content, chemical composition and surface micromorphology of ‘Gonggan’ Fruit. J. Fruit Sci. 236 12 1720 1730 https://doi.org/10.13925/j.cnki.gsxb.20190234

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
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