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Effect of pruning and plant spacing on the growth of cherry rootstocks and their influence on stem water potential of sweet cherry trees


Effect of pruning and plant spacing on the growth of cherry rootstocks and their influence on stem water potential of sweet cherry trees



Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 78(5): 667-672



ISSN/ISBN: 1462-0316

DOI: 10.1080/14620316.2003.11511682

The aims of this work are to describe the effects of pruning and planting density on growth and water relations of ungrafted and grafted sweet cherry trees. A trial with cherry rootstocks 'Prunus avium', 'CAB 11E', 'Maxma 14', 'Gisela 5' and 'Edabriz' was begun in 1997. Pruning severities were applied to the rootstocks (0, 30, 60 and 90% of the vegetative growth was removed corresponding to P1, P2, P3 and P4 treatments, respectively) after planting to two plant spacings (S1=0.25X1.0 m and S2=0.45X1.5 m). Canopy, root growth and leaf water potential (psileaf) were quantified throughout the growing season. Pruning significantly affected root length and root weight of the rootstocks. Uncut plants (Pl) showed a heavier and expanded root biomass (231 g and 108 m) than the intensively pruned plants (P4) (187 g and 75 m). The greater root biomass was obtained with the spacing/pruning combination, S1/P1 (285 g), and the smaller with S1/P4 (180 g) and S2/P4 (176 g). psileaf varied significantly between the rootstocks and plant spacing but not with pruning. 'Maxma 14' and 'P. avium' attained the lowest values of midday psileaf, -2.28 and -2.04 MPa, but the highest values of predawn psileaf, -0.29 and -0.25 MPa, respectively. Generally, with high density (S1), the rootstocks exhibited lower predawn and midday psileaf. In 1998, cultivars 'Burlat', 'Summit' and 'Van' were grafted onto rootstocks and a trial was installed in 1999. Predawn and midday stem water potential (psistem) on cherry trees, measured in 2002, were affected significantly by the rootstock/genotype combination. Cultivars grafted on 'P. avium' and 'Maxma 14' showed the less negative midday psistem, -1.36 and -1.42 MPa respectively, so these rootstock genotypes perhaps induced a higher drought resistance to the scion. Recorded data show that the scion-rootstock interaction with regard to production performance under water deficits may be an important consideration in cherry tree planting strategies.

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