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  • Author or Editor: Federico Gagliardi x
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We assessed the vegetative growth and fruit production behavior of different sweet cherry cultivars grown using multiple new ultra-high-density planting (HDP) and training systems. An experimental orchard established in 2007 in the Ferrara province of Italy was used for this trial. The sweet cherry cultivars under evaluation were ‘Giorgia’ and ‘Grace Star®’ grafted on Gisela® 6; and ‘Black Star®’, ‘Early Bigi®’, ‘Early Star®’, ‘Ferrovia’, ‘Grace Star®’, ‘Kordia’, ‘Regina’, ‘Summit’, ‘Sweet Early®’, and ‘Sylvia’ grafted on Gisela® 5 rootstock. Each cultivar–rootstock combination was trained to spindle, V-system, or Super Spindle Axis (SSA). Planting densities ranged from 1905 trees/ha for spindle with Gisela® 6 to 5714 trees/ha for V-system and SSA with Gisela® 5. Vegetative growth, yield productivity, and fruit quality were evaluated. Among the three systems grafted on Gisela® 5, trees trained to the spindle system had the highest trunk cross-sectional area (26.2 cm2), followed by V-system (21.8 cm2) and SSA (20.2 cm2). Seven years after planting, ‘Ferrovia’ had the highest cumulative yield per hectare among cultivars on Gisela® 5, especially with V-system (50.5 t·ha–1) and SSA (52.2 t·ha–1) training systems. For cultivars on Gisela® 6, ‘Giorgia’ on had the highest cumulative yield per hectare after 7 years, but ‘Grace Star®’ on had higher production (≈14.0 t·ha–1 with V-system and SSA and 12.8 t·ha–1 with spindle) than ‘Giorgia’ in 2013.

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Annual accumulation of starch is affected by carbon reserves stored in the organs during the growing season and is controlled mainly by sink strength gradients within the tree. However, unfavorable environmental conditions (e.g., hail events) or application of management practices (e.g., defoliation to enhance overcolor in bicolor apple) could influence the allocation of storage carbohydrates. This preliminary research was conducted to determine the effects of early defoliation on the dry matter, starch, and soluble carbohydrate dynamics in woody organs, roots, and mixed buds classified by age and two levels of crop-load for one growing season in ‘Abbé Fétel’ pear trees (Oct. 2012 to mid-Jan. 2013 in the northern hemisphere). Regardless of the organs evaluated (woody organs, roots, and mixed buds), an increase of soluble carbohydrate concentration was observed in these organs in the period between after harvest (October) and January (dormancy period). Among all organs, woody short-old spurs showed the highest increase (+93.5%) in soluble sugars. With respect to starch, woody organs showed a clear trend of decreasing in concentration between October and January. In this case, short-old spurs showed the smallest decline in starch concentrations, only 6.5%, whereas in other tree organs starch decreased by 34.5%. After harvest (October), leaves showed substantially higher starch and soluble sugar concentrations in trees with lower crop-loads. These results confirm that in the period between October and January, dynamic interconversions between starch and soluble carbohydrates occur at varying magnitudes among organs in pear trees.

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