INTEGRATING CULTIVAR, ROOTSTOCK AND ENVIRONMENT IN THE EXPORT-DRIVEN SOUTH AFRICAN DECIDUOUS FRUIT INDUSTRY

M. Huysamer
The South African deciduous fruit industry has been exporting fruit for more than a century and is a major supplier of Southern Hemisphere fruit to Europe during the months of October to August. The worldwide oversupply of fruit, coupled with a relatively high rate of inflation and high interest rates, places great financial strain on fruit growers. This has led to intensified interest in new cultivars, more precocious and dwarfing rootstocks, and higher density plantings utilizing training systems aimed at maximizing production of quality fruit. In the case of apples and pears, planting densities of 4 x 1.5 m (1667 trees/hectare) have become standard, on M793 (apple) and BP1 or BP3 (pear) rootstocks. The preferred training system is a vertical trellis, which allows high production with good packouts. Important pome fruit cultivars include 'Granny Smith', 'Golden Delicious', 'Royal Gala', 'Braeburn', 'Fuji', and 'Pink Lady' (apples), and 'Packham's Triumph', 'Bon Chretien', 'Forelle', 'Comice' and 'Rosemarie' (pears). Plums are often spaced at 4 x 1 m (2500 trees/hectare), peaches and nectarines at 4 x 1.5 m and apricots at 4.5 x 1.5 m. Plums are generally on clonal rootstocks, whereas other stone fruits are commonly on seedling rootstocks. A vertical trellis or simple support system designed to maintain the leaders in an upright position is often employed. Stone fruit cultivars include 'Songold', 'Laetitia', 'Sapphire' and 'Larry Anne' (plums), 'Transvalia', 'San Pedro', 'Bonnigold' and 'Novadonna' (peaches), 'Nectared 9', 'Sunlite', 'Flavortop' and 'Fiesta Red' (nectarines), and 'Peeka', 'Bebeco', 'Imperial', 'Soldonne' and 'Super Gold' (apricots). Inclined trellises such as the Tatura, V-Haag, MIA and other variations are being evaluated on higher-potential sites, although the establishment costs place great demands on management to bring the orchard into production faster. These developments over the past 13 years will be presented with specific reference to environmental and cultural constraints, such as a lack of sufficient winter chilling, poor soils, specific replant disease and hot summers with high levels of irradiation.
Huysamer, M. (1997). INTEGRATING CULTIVAR, ROOTSTOCK AND ENVIRONMENT IN THE EXPORT-DRIVEN SOUTH AFRICAN DECIDUOUS FRUIT INDUSTRY. Acta Hortic. 451, 755-760
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1997.451.91
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1997.451.91
Malus domestica, Pyrus communis, Prunus salicina, P. persica, P. armeniaca, planting densities, environmental constraints, pome fruit, stone fruit

Acta Horticulturae