Canopy factors influencing sunburn and fruit quality of Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.)

B. Makeredza, M. Jooste, E. Lötze, M. Schmeisser, W.J. Steyn
High irradiance and high temperatures decrease Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.) quality by causing sunburn. We manipulated orchard conditions to determine how resultant light and temperature affected fruit quality and sunburn. In the 2013/14 season, early summer pruning, late pruning and a no pruning control were applied in an ‘African Delight’ plum orchard trained to a staggered V trellising system in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. In 2014/15, 20% shade net was incorporated during the hottest part of the season in a split plot design. Shade net and a no shade net control formed the main plots while pruning treatments were subplots. Photosynthetic photon flux (PPF), fruit surface temperature (FST) and sunburn were progressively assessed on two hourly intervals on typically hot days for upper, mid and lower canopy positions. PPF and FST generally decreased from top to bottom of the canopy. Upper canopy positions had bigger and softer fruit with higher sunburn incidence and higher total soluble solids (TSS). Fruit that developed sunburn received >50% PPF of full sun on average while average FST exceeded 35°C. Early summer pruning improved early light penetration but enabled vegetative regrowth for filtered light during the hottest part of the season resulting in bigger and redder fruit with higher TSS and low sunburn. Delayed pruning increased sunburn with no increase in fruit size, while the control delayed fruit maturity and reduced fruit size. The shade net reduced sunburn caused by delayed summer pruning. While it was apparent that proper timing of orchard light manipulation is essential, the use of shade net still has to be evaluated over the entire growing season to ascertain its full value.
Makeredza, B., Jooste, M., Lötze, E., Schmeisser, M. and Steyn, W.J. (2018). Canopy factors influencing sunburn and fruit quality of Japanese plum (Prunus salicina Lindl.). Acta Hortic. 1228, 121-128
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1228.18
fruit surface temperature, irradiance, photosynthetic photon flux, shade net, summer pruning

Acta Horticulturae