Physiological and Growth Responses of Mature Peach Trees to Postharvest Water Stress

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Authors:
K.D. LarsonDepartment of Pomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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T.M. DeJongDepartment of Pomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

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R.S. JohnsonU. C. Kearney Agricultural Center, 9240 S. Riverbend Avenue, Parlier, CA 93648

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Abstract

Peach trees (Prunus persica L. Batsch cv. Regina) were subjected to three levels of postharvest irrigation between 15 June and 15 Oct. 1983. Wet-treatment (control) trees were irrigated at 3-week intervals, medium-treatment trees received one, and dry-treatment trees received no postharvest irrigations. Significant differences in seasonal patterns of stomatal conductance were found among all treatments, with conductance varying in proportion to irrigation level. Wet-treatment pre-dawn water potential (ψw) remained nearly constant at −0.3 MPa throughout the postharvest season, whereas the dry-treatment readings became more negative as the season progressed. Differences in mid-day ψw were less distinct, but generally reflected pre-dawn water status. The seasonal increase in trunk radius of the dry-treatment trees was reduced by 33% relative to either wet or medium treatments. The amount of daily trunk radial shrinkage was inversely proportional to irrigation level. Dormant pruning weights were 13% less in dry treatments than wet treatments. Return bloom of dry-treatment trees in Spring 1984 was 30% and 40% greater than medium- and wet-treatment return bloom, respectively. Dry-treatment fruit set was 70% greater than medium- or wet-treatment fruit set. Following fruit thinning, there were no significant differences among treatments for fruit yield or fruit size, but fruit maturity was slightly delayed in the dry treatment.

Contributor Notes

Currently Horticultural Farm Advisor, Dade County, Fla.

Received for publication 10 Mar. 1986. The cost of publishing this paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. Under postal regulations, this paper therefore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to indicate this fact.

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