French prunes (Prunus domestica L.) on myrobalan seedling rootstock were planted in 1981 in an east-west direction with 4.9 m between rows and 2.7 m between trees on a poorly drained Class II soil in Glenn County, CA. A randomized complete block design was used with 8 trees per plot. Trees were pruned by hand to an open-center tree form or pruned by machine to a pyramid form in the dormant or summer season resulting in 6 pruning treatments. This high density system has led to high yields of good quality fruit (9.18 dry tons/acre in 1989, sized at 78 fruit per pound). Hand pruning led to higher yields, larger fruit, lower drying ratios and a greater dollar return per acre than any of the machine pruned trees. Dormant machine pruning led to larger fruit produced than those trees pruned in the summer by machine. Mechanical pruning may be possible for short time periods, but continued practice led to smaller fruit with lower yields than hand pruning. Certain locations within the tree canopy had smaller fruit size and it is within those lower locations where fruit size needs to be improved. These and additional experimental results obtained from 1987 through 1989 growing seasons will be presented.
Stephen M. Southwick, W. Krueger, J.T. Yeager, and J. Osgood
J. Edstrom, W. Krueger, J. Connell, W. Micke, J. Osgood, W. Reil, and J. Yeager
In 1979 a Nonpareil-Price almond orchard, was planted 2.2m × 6.7m (270 trees/acre). Four pruning treatments were imposed on the hedgerow planting at the end of the first year. 1. Interplanted: Trees trained to 3 scaffolds then standard pruned 2nd-6th years. Alternate trees were whisked back during 7th and 8th years and whisked trees removed after 9th year. 2. Permanent Hedge: Trees trained to 3 scaffolds and standard pruned throughout. 3. Two Scaffold Hedge: Heavy 2nd and 3rd year training required to form 2 main scaffolds growing into the row middles then standard pruned. 4. Unpruned Hedge: Trees trained to 3 scaffolds then no further pruning. Treatment with alternate trees whisked back had 15% reduced yield each year following whisking. Removing these heavily pruned alternate trees at the 9th year then reduced yields an additional 30%. Now, three years after removal, yield still lags by 18%. Accumulating six years yield data shows no differences between the three treatment maintained as hedgerows. However, whisking and removing alternate trees resulted in 2000 lbs less yield over the 6 year period.