Use of covering systems: consider some aspects before choosing

Use of covering systems: consider some aspects before choosing

Avoid affecting the productive conditions of the crop.

One of the most effective measures to reduce the negative effects caused by extreme weather events on fruits and vegetables is the use of covers. However, their application must be carried out with special care to avoid affecting the productive conditions of the protected crop.

Extreme or untimely weather phenomena can negatively influence cover systems, therefore, it is essential to modify the conditions inside the cover with the aim of creating an environment with optimal parameters of temperature, relative humidity, evapotranspiration, and wind for the care of cherry trees.

In this sense, it is also necessary to consider that excessive humidity and temperature can create a series of risks. First, it can result in lower fruit quality at harvest and also in the development of pathogens that in turn, jeopardize orchard health. On the other hand, the generation of “heat pockets” is possible, causing stress and prompting the plant to react by closing its stomata. At the same time, these heat pockets generate increases in relative humidity levels above 60%, which, combined with high temperatures and stomatal closure, result in a decrease in mass flow from roots, trunk, and peripheral areas (Stone et al, 2022).

Calcium depends on these sap movements, being completely blocked, inhibiting the development of firm cell walls. As a consequence of the above, the fruits are not able to fix calcium in the appropriate amount, resulting in soft fruits of low quality.

So, how do you choose the right covers?

The first thing is to have absolute clarity about the climatic conditions of the orchard’s location, and consider that even within the same country, for example, there may be microclimates and unexpected conditions.

Another point to consider is related to agronomic parameters, planting layout, row spacing, tree or plant height, planting orientation, irrigation sectors, etc.

Regarding the qualities that we must prioritize when choosing, we must know that not all covers are the same, so attention must be paid to light quality – diffused or direct, thermal insulation, double-sided laminate, radiation composition, etc. Thus, their choice will depend on the needs and characteristics of the crop and the orchard, but if their use is necessary and carried out optimally, it can contribute to better production and higher quality fruit.

Read more about agronomic management here

Originally published in Spanish on Smartcherry.cl

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