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  • Author or Editor: T. Forge x
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`Spartan' apple (Malus×domestica Borkh.) trees on M.9 (T337) rootstock were planted in April 1994 at 1.25 m × 3.5 m spacing. Seven soil management treatments were applied within a 2-m-wide strip centered on the tree row and arranged in a randomized complete-block experimental design. Treatments included a weed-free strip (check) maintained with four annual applications of glyphosate; surface application of 45 t·ha-1 of Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) biosolids applied in 1994 and again in 1997; mulches of shredded office paper; alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) hay; black woven polypropylene; and shredded paper applied over 45 t·ha-1 GVRD-and Kelowna-biosolids applied in 1994 and 1997. All experimental trees were fertigated with phosphorus (P) in the first year and with nitrogen (N) annually. Cumulative yield for the first five harvests was higher for trees subjected to any soil management treatment relative to check trees. Maximum cumulative yield, exceeding check trees by 80%, was measured for trees grown with a shredded paper mulch with or without biosolids application. Trees from the three shredded paper treatments were the only ones significantly larger than check trees after six growing seasons. No increases in leaf nutrient concentration were consistently as sociated with improved tree performance. Notable effects included increased leaf P concentration associated with biosolids application, increased leaf K concentration after alfalfa mulch application and temporary increases in leaf Zn and Cu concentration associated with application of biosolids high in Zn and Cu. Use of both mulches and biosolids amendments benefits growth of trees in high density plantings despite daily drip irrigation and annual fertigation.

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‘Cristalina’ and ‘Skeena’ sweet cherry cultivars (Prunus avium L.) on Gisela 6 (Prunus cerasus × Prunus canescens) rootstock planted in 2005 were maintained since 2006 in a randomly blocked split-split plot experimental design with six blocks of two irrigation frequency main plot treatments within which two cultivar subplots and three soil management sub-subplots were randomly applied. The focus of this study was the growth, yield, and fruit quality response of sweet cherry to water and soil management over three successive fruiting seasons, 2009–11, in a cold climate production area. The final 2 years of the study period were characterized by cool, wet springs resulting in low yield and yield efficiency across all treatments. Soil moisture content (0- to 20-cm depth) during the growing season was often higher in soils that received high-frequency irrigation (HFI) compared with low-frequency irrigation (LFI). HFI and LFI received the same amount of water, but water was applied four times daily in the HFI treatment but every other day in the LFI treatment. Consequently, larger trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) and higher yield were found on HFI compared with LFI trees. Soil management strategies involving annual bloom time phosphorus (P) fertigation and wood waste mulching did not affect tree vigor and yield. Increased soluble solids concentration (SSC) occurred with LFI. Decreased SSC occurred with delayed harvest maturity in trees receiving P fertigation at bloom. The largest fruit size was correlated for both cultivars with low crop loads ranging from 100 to 200 g fruit/cm2 TCSA. Overall cool, wet spring weather strongly affected annual yield and fruit quality, often overriding cultivar and soil and water management effects.

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