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Influence of orchard management systems on spur quality light and fruit within the canopy of golden delicious apple trees

Ferree, D.C.

Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science 114(6): 869-875

1989


ISSN/ISBN: 0003-1062
Accession: 007457987

Trees of 'Golden Delicious' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) were established in 1973 in the following orchard management systems: slender spindle (SS), trellis (TR), interstem hedgerow (IH), and pyramid hedgerow (PH). Spur quality and percent photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) transmission declined from the top to the bottom of the canopy of all systems. The three conical central leader type trees (SS, IH, PH) produced a quarter of their fruit on or close to the central leader, while the plamette-shaped TR produced 60% in the center sections along the wire trelis. There was no difference between vertical fruit distribution in trees in the more intensive systems (SS, TR), but the larger trees (IH, PH) produced twice as much fruit in the top half of the canopy as in the bottom half. Trees in the SS had lower percentage of PPF transmission values within the canopy than trees in the TR systems. Trees in IH generally had higher PPF transmission values within the canopy than the larger PH trees. The number of leaves per spur and specific leaf weight of spur leaves generally followed the light distribution pattern, and trees in the TR and IH systems had higher-quality spurs than the SS and PH systems. The SS and TR systems appeared more responsive to the orientation of the sun, having higher light transmission values on the east side of the canopy in the morning and west side in the afternoon, than the IH or PH systems.

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