CHERRY CULTIVATION IN SPAIN
Spain is the second largest producer of cherries in Europe and the seventh largest producer in the world. Cherry cultivation in Spain began with orchards on calcareous hills without irrigation, which resulted in short trees having low production but good fruit quality. In the Ebro River Valley, a training system that has become known as the Spanish Bush was developed about 20 years ago. This system, with various modifications, is now the most popular system in Spain. Orchards are spaced 4 x 3 m up to 5 x 3 m with short trees (2.5 m). The tree height is controlled by pruning in the summer and fall, and by restricted irrigation during the growing season. At planting, the trees are headed at 30 to 40 cm from the ground to induce primary branching. In the late spring or early summer, the primary branches are headed back to 4 to 5 buds if the vigor is sufficient to promote secondary branching. During the second year, the tree is headed a third time in spring and a fourth time in June-July. The goal is to begin production in the 4th year. To promote early production, different chemical or mechanical modifications have gradually been introduced to stimulate branching without pruning. With these modifications, a large crop can be achieved in the fourth year when little pruning is imposed during the first three years. Prunus mahaleb (Sta. Lucia 64) rootstock, which is propagated by cuttings, is used almost universally since it is well-adapted to the light, rocky and calcareous soils of the cherry production areas in Spain. For 20 years, new varieties developed at different research centers around the world have been introduced into Spain, providing important new varieties for Spanish growers.
Negueroles Pérez, J. (2005). CHERRY CULTIVATION IN SPAIN. Acta Hortic. 667, 293-302
Prunus avium, P. mahaleb, tree training systems, Spanish bush, rootstocks, summer pruning