Photosynthesis, Growth, and Yield Response of `Casselman' Plum to Various Ozone Partial Pressures during Orchard Establishment

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Viticulture and Enology, University of California-Davis, Kearney Agricultural Center, Parker, CA 93648
  • 2 Department of Pomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Nursery stock of plum (Prunus salicina Lindel., `Casselman') was planted 1 Apr. 1988 in an experimental orchard at the Kearney Agricultural Center, Univ. of California, near Fresno. The trees were enclosed in open-top fumigation chambers on 1 May 1989 and exposed to three atmospheric ozone partial pressures (charcoal-filtered air, ambient air, and ambient air + ozone) from 8 May to 15 Nov. 1989 and from 9 Apr. to 9 Nov. 1990. Trees grown outside of chambers were used to assess chamber effects on tree performance. The mean 12-hour (0800-2000 hr Pacific Daylight Time) ozone partial pressures during the 2-year experimental period in the charcoal-filtered, ambient, ambient + ozone, and nonchamber treatments were 0.044, 0.059, 0.111, and 0.064 μPa·Pa-1 in 1989 and 0.038, 0.050, 0.090, and 0.050 pPa·Pa-1 in 1990, respectively. Leaf net CO2 assimilation rate of `Casselman' plum decreased with increasing atmospheric ozone partial pressure from the charcoal-filtered to ambient + ozone treatment. There was no difference in plum leaf net CO2 assimilation rate between the ambient chamber and nonchamber plots. Trees in the ambient + ozone treatment had greater leaf fall earlier in the growing season than those of the other treatments. Cross-sectional area growth of the trunk decreased with increasing atmospheric ozone partial pressures from the charcoal-filtered to ambient + ozone treatment. Yield of plum trees in 1990 was 8.8, 6.3, 5.5, and 5.5 kg/tree in the charcoal-filtered, ambient, ambient + ozone, and nonchamber treatments, respectively. Average fruit weight (grams/fruit) was not affected by atmospheric ozone partial pressure. Fruit count per tree decreased as atmospheric ozone partial pressure increased from the charcoal-filtered to ambient + ozone treatment. Decreases in leaf gas exchange and loss of leaf surface area were probable contributors to decreases in trunk cross-sectional area growth and yield of young `Casselman' plum trees during orchard establishment.

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