Jorge Benjamin Retamales et al., I
Our research group has been developing new pruning strategies for highbush blueberry that allow to:
(i) reduce labor needed to perform this task,
(ii) simplify the instructions to allow the use of unskilled labor,
(iii) improve light availability in the canopy center to increase fruit yield and quality, and
(iv) reduce canopy size to minimize labor needed for harvest.
In this context we evaluated a new pruning concept: sectorial pruning (SP). This involves basal cane removal each year in winter of ¼ of the canopy.
The trial was done on two adult ‘Brigitta´ fields (Romeral and Linares: Lat. 35° S) and one ‘Duke´ field (Linares).
SP of the north-east quarter of the canopy was compared to quick pruning (QP) in which the oldest cane was removed from the base in each quarter of the plant.
In the following season in both locations and varieties, SP generated a greater number of canes but did not alter total new shoot growth.
In the first harvest after pruning treatments in the Linares location, SP plants had greater yield both for ‘Duke’ (87.5% higher) and ‘Brigitta’ (32.4% higher), which was associated with greater fruit weight in ‘Brigitta’ and higher fruit number in ‘Duke’.
SP increased fruit diameter and reduced its acidity in ‘Brigitta’-Romeral but did not induce changes in fruit quality for ‘Brigitta’-Romeral or ‘Duke’- Linares.
Average fruit weight at harvest was significantly greater for SP in ‘Brigitta’ (66.3%) but not for ‘Duke’ (11% higher).
SP did not alter soluble solids in any variety or location.
These results could, at least in part, be due to increased light availability induced by SP in shaded parts of the canopy.
This would have induced greater number of flower buds and allow leaves to form greater amounts of sugars to feed the growing fruits. Results of the second season will also be presented and discussed.
DOES SECTORIAL PRUNING MAKE POSSIBLE REDUCED LABOR USE WITH HIGHER FRUIT YIELDS AND QUALITY IN HIGHBLUSH BLUEBERRY?
Jorge Benjamin Retamales*, Gonzalo Espindola, Carlos Araya, Maria Jose Palma, Eric J Hanson University de Talca, Escuela de Agronomia, Casilla 747, Talca, Chile
ICH2018 Istanbul, 30th International Horticultural Congress, 12-16 August 2018, Turkey
Picture by L.E. Cooke CO