PEACH PLANTING SYSTEMS IN SOUTHERN ITALY: ECOPHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECTS AND TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENTS
In Italy, in the last 20 years, the peach industry has moved from traditional areas of growing, in the northern and central parts of the country to new zones located in the southern regions. This occurred because of lower land and labour costs and larger availability of hand labour. Due to the climatic conditions of Southern Italy, with high light intensity and low air humidity, the new peach growing areas were shown to be suitable to higher planting densities than Northern Italy without the occurrence of shading problems. High density planting systems (1100-1500 trees/ha) in Southern Italy are commonly based on a training system, named Sibari Y, that differs from the Tatura trellis by the lack of a gap between canopy tops of the trees planted in two adjacent rows. The widespread adoption of the Sibari Y (almost 3000 ha in Southern Italy) has been supported by higher production in the early years of planting and by the ability of this system to maintain high fruit quality, even at high yields. From an ecophysiological point of view Sibari Y has high light interception and good within tree light distribution which explains the observation that even though the Sibari Y system achieves the highest production levels in Southern Italy, it is able to maintain high fruit quality. Research also demonstrated a higher gas exchange (CO2 and H2O) and water use efficiency of the Sibari Y compared to the currently adopted planting system for medium densities in South Italy (500-650 trees/ha), the delayed vase (DV). The DV system which is based on large tree size, has shown a lower dependence from external resources and less sensitivity to environmental stresses which makes the DV more suitable to low input orchard systems. This fact, coupled with lower investment and management costs make the DV a valid orchard system in Southern Italy.
Caruso, T., A. Motisi, , F. Pernice, and C. Di Vaio, (2008). PEACH PLANTING SYSTEMS IN SOUTHERN ITALY: ECOPHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECTS AND TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENTS. Acta Hortic. 772, 423-430
Prunus persica, yield, light interception, hand labour, fruit quality