A model of macadamia with application to pruning in orchards
A self-organising model of macadamia, expressed using L-Systems, was used to explore aspects of canopy management. A small set of parameters control the basic architecture of the model, with a high degree of self-organisation occurring to determine the fate and growth of buds. Light was sensed at the leaf level and used to represent vigour and accumulated basipetally. Buds also sensed light so as to provide demand in the subsequent redistribution of the vigour. Empirical relationships were derived from a set of 24 completely digitised trees after conversion to multiscale tree graphs (MTG) and analysis with the OpenAlea software library. The ability to write MTG files was embedded within the model so that various tree statistics could be exported for each run of the model. To explore the parameter space a series of runs was completed using a high-throughput computing platform. When combined with MTG generation and analysis with OpenAlea it provided a convenient way in which thousands of simulations could be explored. We allowed the model trees to develop using self-organisation and simulated cultural practices such as hedging, topping, removal of the leader and limb removal within a small representation of an orchard. The model provides insight into the impact of these practices on potential for growth and the light distribution within the canopy and to the orchard floor by coupling the model with a path-tracing program to simulate the light environment. The lessons learnt from this will be applied to other evergreen, tropical fruit and nut trees.
White, N. and Hanan, J. (2016). A model of macadamia with application to pruning in orchards. Acta Hortic. 1109, 75-82
FSPM, light interception, canopy management