Influence of bud quality and wood age on fruit set and alternate bearing in 'Conference' pear (Pyrus communis L.)

C. Miranda, L.G. Santesteban, J. Urrestarazu, M. Loidi, J.B. Royo
Flower bud quality on a pear tree, in terms of ability of the flowers to set fruit, is usually assessed through the characteristics of the leaves (leaf area at full bloom stage) or flowers (number and weight) in the bud. These measurements, despite being very informative, are destructive, time-consuming and can be obtained during a short period, which restricts their application on the field due to practical and economic consideration. The objectives of this study were i) to evaluate the suitability of spur size measurements as estimators for bud quality, ii) evaluate the influence of bud quality and wood age on fruit set, alternate bearing and yield on a whole-tree basis and iii) to develop a methodology to integrate bud quality and wood age as factors in our previous model for the estimation of potential yields in pear. A set of experiments were conducted between 2009 and 2015 in commercial pear orchards placed in mid-Ebro Valley (Spain). Strong relationships (p<0.001) were found between spur cross sectional area and spur leaf area, flower weight, fruit set and yield. On a whole-tree basis, fruit set and alternate bearing were strongly influenced by mean spur size and wood age, regardless of other factors. Finally, mean tree spur size and wood age of the spurs were closely related to the productive potential of the tree, so they could be used as correction factors in the estimation of pear potential yields.
Miranda, C., Santesteban, L.G., Urrestarazu, J., Loidi, M. and Royo, J.B. (2018). Influence of bud quality and wood age on fruit set and alternate bearing in 'Conference' pear (Pyrus communis L.). Acta Hortic. 1229, 209-214
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1229.32
Pyrus communis, bud size, yield, modelling, fruit crop estimator

Acta Horticulturae