“Of the 100 percent of the damage that I can find in a fruit orchard, 90 percent could be from early season chilling damage.”
If the future around a cherry orchard could be predicted, surely decision-making at different stages, and even the entire production process, would be much simpler. It could be clear, without further analysis, when and how to apply, for example, dormancy breakers, load regulation methods, among other tasks. However, it is clear that this ideal scenario is impossible.
For this reason, it is essential to be able to use tools that reduce uncertainty and have valuable information regarding cherry plants, in order to define strategies from a technical point of view, which will allow obtaining a greater productive potential of the orchards.
The fertility and bud quality analysis carried out by the laboratories is presented as an excellent tool that allows deciding and planning around a property.
Carlos Tapia, Technical Director of Avium, explains what is obtained through this process:“It objectively says, in numerical or quantitative terms, the number of flower buds that the fruit centers have, mainly spurs, and the number of healthy and damaged flower primordia that each of these flower buds have, to reveal the number of flowers or of flowering potential that these structures have”.
Information of great relevance that not only provides a clear and specific x-ray of the fruit centers, but also allows anticipating how a particular orchard will develop in a specific season and what can be done about it.
“First, in terms of health, it is possible to know the percentage of damaged primordia that could be in each fruit center, damaged by what? Mainly due to cold. What do the statistics tell us? that this damage due to cold could have been produced at the beginning of the entry into dormancy, due to poor lignification of the floral centers, due to poor formation of bracts and that this damage is associated with damage due to cold, therefore these frosts at the end of April, beginning of May, when the plants are generating the process of lignification and covering of the bracts of all the floral structures, it may be the determining or most important factor that presents these damages”, explained Carlos Tapia, expert adviser in cherry cultivation.
According to data provided by Avium’s Research and Development Department, it is estimated that: “90 percent of the damages have already been expressed as of July 1; In other words, of the 100 percent of the damage that I can find in a fruit center, 90 percent could be caused by cold damage early in the season.”.
This allows to be able to know early in the dormant season, possible damage that a floral center can present, and to be able to correctly anticipate the actions that must be carried out in the orchards.“If you get a high percentage of damage to the buds, perhaps you have to be a little more conservative with the use of dormancy breakers and also probably to be more conservative in how you present the first stage of load regulation, which is pruning. and, in addition, take precautions based on the production potential, such as decisions to make to ensure these flowers, or ensure fruit set or ensure fruit retention through a growth regulator that allows obtaining or ensuring the greatest amount of fruit possible.”, indicated the cherry production advisor, Carlos Tapia.
“In these two last two ranges, high and excessive, we have to worry, eventually, given a good spring condition, temperatures and conditions for pollination and fertilization, perhaps an eventual high fruit set and analyze from the technical point of view that Load regulation options I have within the season, such as flower thinning or flower thinning and fruit thinning, ideally ending up to 30 days after full flower,” said Tapia.
The bud analysis provides guidelines on how to act, at least taking into account the flowering potential with respect to the conditions that occur to reach a productive potential. However, there are clearly differences in potential between one variety and another.
“If I come across a Lapins, a self-fertile variety with a good set, and I find 15 to 20 flowers per fruit center, maybe I’m on a good footing; Although it is a normal average potential, I know that a Lapins in a normal condition could set 20 – 25 percent, however if I have more than 25 flowers per fruit center, I have to analyze it from the technical and operational point of view. , if it is worth taking into account a method of regulation of load early as thinning of buds, medium as thinning of flowers, and late as thinning of fruits. Obviously not leaving behind that pruning is the first initial load model”, pointed out Carlos Tapia.
A different scenario arises when faced with excessive flowering potential and when faced with a variety that is self-incompatible, perhaps with not very high fruit set potential, such as Kordia: “Perhaps we remain relatively calm because we already have at least one expression of flowering that suits us.” to allow opting for a better fruit set, a better production”, said the Technical Director of Avium.It must be borne in mind that the information provided by the bud fertility analyzes must be analyzed from a technical point of view on a case-by-case basis, considering the conditions and combinations present, and with the objective that each producer proposes to the orchard, in terms of potential productive:“Do not forget that the productive potential is the delicate balance between the greatest amount of kilos that an orchard can present with the best quality and condition of that fruit” Tapia concluded.