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T. Caruso, P. Inglese, C. Di Vaio, and L.S. Pace

Fruit thinning is the most effective tool in regulating fruit growth potential for early-ripening peach and nectarine (Prunus persica) cultivars, and the common strategy is to space fruit 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 inches) throughout the canopy, while scarce attention to the canopy environment in which the fruit develops. It is likely that different light environments within the canopy require different thinning patterns and to test this hypothesis, an experiment was set up to evaluate various fruit thinning patterns (fruit densities) in relation to fruit location within the canopy of early-ripening `May Glo' nectarine trees trained to Y-shape. Differentiated fruit thinning resulted in higher yield efficiency due to a higher fruit number and average fruit weight. Differentiated thinning hastened fruit harvest and shortened the harvest period. Differentiated thinning reduced fruit variability within the tree in terms of size and soluble solids content, resulting in a higher crop value.