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Y.L. Grossman and T.M. DeJong

Plant dry matter production is proportional to light interception, but fruit production does not always increase with increased light interception. Vegetative growth potential, the effect of cropping on vegetative growth, light interception and cropping efficiency of a clingstone peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch `Ross' on `Nemaguard' rootstock] were assessed in four production systems differing in tree density and training system. The four systems were a perpendicular V (KAC-V) system, a high-density perpendicular V (HiD KAC-V) system, a cordon system, and an open vase system. Vegetative growth potential, assessed on defruited trees, was higher in the cordon system and lower in the open vase system compared to the V systems. Cropping reduced leaf growth on the V and cordon systems and stem growth on the KAC-V and cordon systems. On a ground area basis, the HiD KAC-V system had the highest crop yields and the open vase system had the lowest. The cordon and HiD KAC-V systems intercepted more light and produced more fruit, stem, and leaf biomass than the open vase system. However, the modified harvest increment, the ratio of fruit dry mass to the sum of fruit, leaf, and stem dry mass, was lower in the cordon system than in the other systems. Thus, on this basis, the cordon system was the least efficient. On a trunk cross-sectional area basis, there were no significant differences in fruit production among any of the four training systems. For current year production, crop production per unit ground area is the best measure of economic efficiency. However, when planning the spacing, training and pruning of orchard trees, the most appropriate goal seems to be a system that increases light interception without increasing vegetative growth potential, such as the HiD KAC-V system.

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P. Inglese, G. Barbera, and T. La Mantia

Flowers and stems (cladodes) of cactus pear [Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Mill.] appear simultaneously in spring, and a second vegetative and reproductive flush can be obtained in early summer by completely removing flowers and cladodes of the spring flush at bloom time. The seasonal growth patterns of cactus pear fruits and cladodes were examined in terms of dry-weight accumulation and cladode extension (surface area) to determine if cladodes are competitive sinks during fruit development. Thermal time was calculated in terms of growing degree hours (GDH) accumulated from bud burst until fruit harvest. Fruits of the spring flush had a 25% lower dry weight and a shorter development period than the summer flush fruits, and, particularly, a shorter duration and a lower growth rate at the stage when most of the core development occurred. The duration of the fruit development period was better explained in terms of thermal rather than chronological time. The number of days required to reach commercial harvest maturity changed with the time of bud burst, but the thermal time (40 × 103 GDH) did not. Newly developing cladodes may become competitive sinks for resource allocation during most of fruit growth, as indicated by the cladode's higher absolute growth rate, and the fruit had the highest growth rate during the final swell of the core, corresponding to a consistent reduction in cladode growth rate. Cladode surface area extension in the first flush ceased at the time of summer fruit harvest (20 Aug.), while cladodes continued to increase in dry weight and thickness until the end of the growing season (November), and, eventually, during winter. The growth of fruit and cladodes of the summer flush occurred simultaneously over the course of the season; the cladodes had a similar surface area and a lower (25%) dry-weight accumulation and thickness than did first flush cladodes. The proportion of annual aboveground dry matter allocated to the fruits was 35% for the spring flush and 46% for the summer flush, being similar to harvest increment values reported for other fruit crops, such as peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.]. Summer cladode pruning and fruit thinning should be accomplished early in the season to avoid resource-limited growth conditions that could reduce fruit and cladode growth potential.

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Desire Djidonou and Daniel I. Leskovar

, winter, and spring, respectively. The proportion of total N accumulated during rapid growth (28–35 DAT) ranged from 54% to 88% of the N at harvest. Increments in nutrient solution N resulted in a significant increase in total N uptake. The response was