The dormancy stage has arrived in the northern hemisphere… What is it and why is it so relevant for your cherry trees?

The dormancy stage has arrived in the northern hemisphere… What is it and why is it so relevant for your cherry trees?

Dormancy in cherry trees
North Hemisphere: Dormancy is here!
Dormancy in cherry trees

We have talked a lot at Smartcherry about pre-dormancy and the relevance of adequate preparation prior to this period. In the northern hemisphere particularly, the antechamber is coming to an end, and now we properly welcome dormancy.

The conceptual philosophy of entering dormancy is that in autumn, when there are colder temperatures, the plant begins a total state of rest, where all its metabolic biological activity of growth and development is suspended, allowing it to conserve its maximum energy for the future growth cycle that will come and have all the reserves that facilitate seasonal development once winter is over.

Perhaps, more than one person could wonder why this stage is so important. Experience and countless studies over time have shown that, when the plant is at rest, it starts accumulating the necessary cold hours, to determine how the season will be in terms of productivity. The more cold accumulation the plant has, the better its awakening will be and with it, better physiological and phenological development at the beginning of the season.

A good accumulation of cold is an index of fertility in the plant, an indicator for it to start the following season with great strength and energy, and also an indicator of good flowering and homogeneous flowering; flowers willing to both provide pollen and receive. For this reason, dormancy is essential for the entire development of the cherry tree.

Without a doubt, it is a stage where we have to focus efforts on technical analysis, propose management strategies and carry out tasks to ensure this fundamental process and be able to at least comply with one determining factor (among others) in the productive potential of each season.

Dormancy phases

Essentially, there are three phases. One of them is acclimatization and is called ecodormancy, which can begin between the end of October and the beginning of November. On the other hand, and from a physiological point of view, the most important one is called endodormancy and is released when sufficient hours of cold are accumulated, in terms of date. It could extend between the last weeks of November and mid-December. In more “common” words, we could say that this stage corresponds to the “deep sleep” of the plant, where the hours and quality of the cold must be excellent.

Finally, we have paradormancy, and it refers to the period of bud dormancy induced by a structure other than the buds, primarily related to the phenomenon of apical dominance.

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