EFFECT OF PRUNING DATE AFTER HARVEST AS IT RELATES TO TERMINAL SHOOT MATURATION STAGE PRIOR TO THE FLOWERING PERIOD, AND FLOWERING INTENSITY AND CROPPING IN 'MAURITIUS' LITCHI TREES

S.A. Oosthuyse
The outer branches of mature ‘Mauritius’ litchi trees were cut back by 20 to 30 cm on each of a number of dates during January, February and March, 2006, for the purpose of causing uniformity of bud break and shoot development at various stages prior to the flowering period in July-August. Tree flowering intensity as it relates to the extent of terminal shoot maturation in late May and June, just prior to the flowering period, was subsequently assessed. Flowering intensity was greatest in the trees pruned on February 2 or 16. The terminal shoots on these trees were at an advanced stage of maturation on May 29. In the trees pruned on January 19, new terminal shoot maturation in May was such that the buds on the terminal shoots developed early (prior to May 29 and before environmental conditions had become inductive enough), apparently resulting in new shoots as opposed to inflorescences developing. Pruning later than February 16 was apparently such that the new terminal shoots were not mature enough for general bud development to occur during the period when conditions were maximally inductive. Terminal bud development occurred to the greatest extent when conditions were maximally inductive in the trees pruned on February 2 or 16. Number of fruit retained per inflorescence appeared to bear an inverse relationship with flowering intensity. The relationship was such that tree yield and flowering intensity were directly related. General pruning in ‘Mauritius’ litchi is required to prevent canopy overcrowding. The results clearly indicate that the date of general pruning is critical regarding tree capacity to flower. Early February pruning is strongly indicated in the region where the study was carried out. Further research is considered necessary to ascertain whether early February pruning is suitable in warmer or cooler regions.
Oosthuyse, S.A. (2014). EFFECT OF PRUNING DATE AFTER HARVEST AS IT RELATES TO TERMINAL SHOOT MATURATION STAGE PRIOR TO THE FLOWERING PERIOD, AND FLOWERING INTENSITY AND CROPPING IN 'MAURITIUS' LITCHI TREES. Acta Hortic. 1029, 295-299
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1029.36
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2014.1029.36
Litchi chinensis, pruning, heading, flowering intensity, bud break, shoot maturation, induction
English

Acta Horticulturae