Modeling of sweet cherry flowering based on temperature and phenology in a mesic Nordic climate

M. Meland, O. Frøynes, L. Coop, C. Kaiser
Phenological observations are considered to be sensitive tools for identifying plant responses to climatic changes. Over the last 10 years, the onset of the phenophases of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) during spring tended to be earlier than the previous two decades in Ullensvang, western Norway. The effects of air temperature during the winter and spring months were evaluated during two quinquennia (5-year periods), 1996-2000 (Q1) and 2003-2007 (Q2) selected due to similar mean winter and early summer temperatures, but markedly different spring temperatures. Average January-February temperatures were similar (3.3°C) in both of these two 5-year periods. However, average March and April temperatures were slightly warmer (4.0 vs. 3.2°C) and (7.3 vs. 6.9°C), respectively, in Q2 vs. Q1. These increases resulted in significantly earlier flower development. Average temperatures during the first half of May were similar for both quinquennia (10.2 vs. 10.1°C). The start of flowering (first bloom) of early maturing 'Burlat' and mid-season 'Van' were significantly different. Timing of flowering phenophases were statistically different between Q1 and Q2 for both cultivars. Mean data for 'Burlat' and 'Van' first bloom were 8 days earlier during Q2, May 2 for 'Burlat' and May 1 for 'Van'. Full bloom occurred 3 days after first bloom and flowering ended 14 days after first bloom. First bloom during Q2 required 221 Baskerville-Emin Growing degree days (GDD) using a base temperature of 2°C. For the same time period in Q1, only 197 GDD were accumulated, which supports the observed temperature differences. Furthermore, we propose a flowering model for full bloom of both 'Burlat' and 'Van' in Ullensvang, which requires 254 Baskerville-Emin GDD using a base of 2°C starting on March 1.
Meland, M., Frøynes, O., Coop, L. and Kaiser, C. 2017. Modeling of sweet cherry flowering based on temperature and phenology in a mesic Nordic climate. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1162:19-22
cherry (Prunus avium L), anthesis, chill units, flowering, dormancy, heat units