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Milad El Riachy, Luis Rallo, Raúl de la Rosa and Lorenzo León

The duration of the juvenile period (JP) before the seedlings reach the adult phase (AP) and begin flowering is the major impediment for fruit breeding in olive. In this work, the effect of soil solarization on the growth and duration of the JP of olive seedlings was studied. Seedlings obtained from open pollination of ‘Manzanilla de Sevilla’ and from crosses between ‘Arbequina’ × ‘Arbosana’ and ‘Picual’ × ‘Koroneiki’ were tested. Solarization treatment consisted on covering the soil around the trees for 3 years by black plastic film in a split-plot design with the three progenies as the main factor and solarization/not solarization as the secondary factor. Solarization resulted in both higher soil temperature and soil moisture in solarized plots with respect to non-solarized. Significant differences between crosses were found for plant vigor and flowering measurements throughout the experiment. Soil solarization increased trunk diameter and the number of seedlings reaching AP in ‘Manzanilla’ open progeny. A positive effect of solarization on flowering index was also observed in ‘Picual’ × ‘Koroneiki’ progenies. These results suggest that soil solarization may be recommended as a tool for shortening the duration of the JP and thus accelerating the selection process in olive breeding programs.

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Fernando Santos-Antunes, Lorenzo León, Raúl de la Rosa, Juán Alvarado, Ana Mohedo, Isabel Trujillo and Luis Rallo

A first attempt to determine the effect of vigor and parents on the length of the juvenile period of olive seedlings is here reported. Vigor seems to have a significant influence on the percentage of flowering seedlings, especially in the first 2 years of bearing. The different parents used have produced differences in the juvenile period of their descendants. A correspondence between the length of the unproductive period of the parents and the length of the juvenile period that they transmit to their descendants has been observed. The seedling forcing growth protocol described here has been able to produce flowering seedlings 28 months after germination, with >93% of seedlings flowering 65 months after germination.