Investigating the causes of late fruit drop in ‘Regina’ sweet cherry (Prunus avium)

Gatti, Giacomo (2024) Investigating the causes of late fruit drop in ‘Regina’ sweet cherry (Prunus avium), [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Scienze e tecnologie agrarie, ambientali e alimentari, 35 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/11144.
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The presented study aimed to correctly describe the (late) fruit drop pattern of sweet cherry cv. Regina grafted on ‘Gisela 5’ and investigate its internal causes. In the first season, a method to describe the fruit drop pattern was defined and validated. The second season was devoted to a province-based screening of the phenomenon to identify potential influences of environmental, physiological and management factors. The multisite trial involved 6 commercial orchards located at different elevations, from 225 up to 1175m a.s.l. The third season was dedicated to find confirmation of the hypothesis formulated during the previous year. The multisite comparison was maintained but reduced to only two orchards to allow more frequent samplings. It emerged that late fruit drop is a complex phenomenon showing variable intensity: the percentage of late fruit drop ranged from 7 to 76% of the fruitlets set, depending on the orchard and on the year considered. Two main waves of fruitlets drop have been observed: the first one was composed by unfertilized parthenocarpic fruitlets, probably caused by late or missing fertilization, that immediately after bloom already showed smaller diameters and symptoms of senescence; the second one (the focus of this study) was composed by fully developed fruits that at a certain point decreased their growth rate and got senescent. All the late dropped cherries showed an aborted embryo. This sudden change has been observed to be concomitant both with prolonged periods of low temperatures (or sudden severe decreases in the daily Growing Degree Hours accumulation) and with extraordinary high temperatures close to or above 30°C. Other factors, such as the position of the limb within the canopy, its orientation (sunny vs. shady side) or nutrition played only a marginal role. Excessive vigor can increase late fruit drop intensity but is not its main cause.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Gatti, Giacomo
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Sweet cherry late fruit drop
Data di discussione
31 Gennaio 2024

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