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Alberto Sánchez-Estrada and Julián Cuevas

In countries new to producing ‘Manzanillo’ olive trees (Olea europaea), free cross-pollination is often insufficient to obtain high levels of fruit set. An appropriate pollination design is therefore essential to ensure a timely, abundant, and compatible pollen supply. With a view to determining whether a pollination deficit exists in a nontraditional olive area such as the northern Mexico, pollination experiments were carried out in two consecutive seasons in both a monovarietal and a multivarietal Manzanillo orchard, where Sevillano, Barouni, Picual, Pendolino, Mission, Nevadillo, and Frantoio trees were growing nearby. The pollination treatments were self-, open, and cross-pollination with ‘Barouni’ and ‘Sevillano’ pollen, the latter only in the multivarietal orchard. The results confirmed the full self-incompatible condition of ‘Manzanillo’. Open-pollination did not improve fruit set in the monovarietal orchard, but it did so significantly in the multivarietal plot, where fruit set levels under open-pollination matched those of cross-pollination. Lower pollen adhesion, as well as occasional decreased germination, and reduced and delayed pollen tube growth were observed under self-pollination, highlighting self-incompatibility reactions. The reduction in fertilization rates led to low fruit set under self-pollination. Positive effects of open- and cross-pollination treatments were also noted on fruit weight (despite higher crop loads) and pulp-to-pit ratios. A strategic plantation design, including appropriate pollinizers in the right number and position, is therefore suggested for increasing ‘Manzanillo’ fruit quality and yield in Mexico. Both ‘Barouni’ and ‘Sevillano’ served as efficient pollinizers for ‘Manzanillo’, although we recommend ‘Barouni’ as a more efficient because the bloom periods of them matched that of ‘Manzanillo’