Influence of climate change on sweet cherry phenology in Murcia, Spain

G. López-Ortega, F. García-Montiel, A. Bayo-Canha, C. Frutos-Ruíz, D. Frutos-Tomás
During the last decade, the global sweet cherry industry has increased efforts to supply high quality cherries and to extend the cherry season. The ripening period has been extended due to the availability of new late ripening cultivars that can be harvested at the end of the traditional cherry season. On the other hand, sweet cherry growers are expanding to warmer areas with the objective of advancing harvests and increased overlapping between producing regions and hemispheres. In the Region of Murcia, the advancement of the cherry season is feasible. However, soils and high temperatures are the main limiting factors for this crop. In this sense, the agronomic performance of 69 sweet cherry cultivars has been studied in our climate conditions for the last decade. This enables us to recommend cultivars, which are best adapted to this climate. The flowering period occurs between late February and early April,and harvest season starts in early May and finishes in the second week of June. With good and stable yields, cultivars like 'Lapins', 'Blaze Star', 'Santina', 'Larian', 'Celeste', and 'Lala Star' are better adapted whereas cultivars like 'Ruby', 'Prime Giant', and 'Tieton' resulted in fruit doubling, which could endanger the viability of this crop as a profitable activity unless the trees are grown under shade netting, are sprayed with sunburn products such as kaolin, or overhead cooling in July is implemented to mitigate the extreme temperatures which cause doubling.
López-Ortega, G., García-Montiel, F., Bayo-Canha, A., Frutos-Ruíz, C. and Frutos-Tomás, D. (2017). Influence of climate change on sweet cherry phenology in Murcia, Spain. Acta Hortic. 1162, 51-56
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1162.9
Prunus avium L., blooming, climatology, fruit set, adaptability