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  • Author or Editor: Gabriela Vuletin Selak x
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Olive orchard productivity largely depends on the choice of planted cultivars and their pollination needs. Orchard designs in Croatia are changing because a number of valuable foreign olive cultivars, mostly Italian, have been introduced in this region in the last 30 years. The compatibility relationships of introduced cultivars with autochthonous cultivars are unknown. With the objective of studying reproductive behavior of the most important Croatian cultivars (Drobnica, Lastovka, Levantinka, and Oblica) and their cross-pollination to recently introduced Italian cultivars Leccino and Pendolino, initial and final fruit set in self-pollination versus cross-pollination and free pollination were compared during three flowering seasons. Experiments were conducted in three different orchards (Kastela, Mravince, and Brac) to identify the effect of the environment on reproductive behavior of olive cultivars. The differences of fruit set in five olive cultivars after tested pollination treatments appeared at the time of initial fruit set. Increased final fruit set under cross-pollinations was observed when compared with self-pollination for all olive cultivars in all experimental orchards. In the Mravince orchard, a positive response to cross-pollination was consistent, and fruit set increased under cross-pollination in all cultivars and years with the exception of ‘Levantinka’ in which no significant differences were noticed between self-pollination treatment and cross-pollination treatments in 2005. Variable self-fertility behavior from season to season was found for tested cultivars. A self-incompatibility index (ISI) higher than 0.1 was recorded for ‘Levantinka’ in all experimental years and, therefore, classified it as a partially self-incompatible cultivar. Self-incompatibility response was observed for ‘Lastovka’. The positive response to cross-pollination over self-pollination only in some experimental years classified ‘Drobnica’, ‘Leccino’, and ‘Oblica’ as partially self-incompatible. Results obtained from this study indicated that pollination efficiency is strictly combination-specific. The Italian cultivar, Leccino, was a successful pollen acceptor and pollenizer of most Croatian cultivars. Reciprocal high success in cross-pollination was recorded for ‘Levantinka’ and ‘Oblica’. In the Mravince orchard, ‘Lastovka’, ‘Leccino’, and ‘Oblica’ were efficient pollenizers of ‘Levantinka’ where the simultaneous flowering period was in accordance with their cross-compatibility. ‘Levantinka’ was a good pollenizer for ‘Lastovka’ in the Mravince orchard, and both cultivars entered into the flowering period earlier than other studied cultivars, which was not the case in the other two orchards. The variations in flowering timing among orchards were a consequence of differences in environmental conditions. According to the high fruit sets recorded in ‘Oblica’ after pollination with ‘Leccino’ or ‘Levantinka’, an increase in tree productivity of the acceptor cultivar is expected in the presence of selected pollenizers in all olive-growing regions.

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