A study of fruiting habits in pear trees

Du Plooy, Pierre (2000-12)

Thesis (MScAgric)--University of Stellenbosch, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The understanding of pear branching and bearing habits is required to optimise management practices. The objective of this study was to quantify the branching and bearing habits of pear cultivars under South African conditions of sub-optimal winter chilling. Two-year-old branches of Pyrus communis L. were classified into groups according to the proleptic (from dormant buds) branching habit. In Winter 1998 upright and flat, two-year-old branches were randomly sampled from trees of seven pear cultivars, i.e., Forelle (on Quince A and BPI rootstocks), Abaté Fetel, Flamingo, Packham's Triumph, Golden Russet Bose, Rosemarie and Beurre D'Anjou (all on BPI rootstock). Laterals were classified according to length « lem, 1-5cm, 5-20cm and >20 cm) and position (distal to proximal quadrants on the two-year-old axis). The number of shoots per cm of quadrant length, per length class for each cultivar was subjected to a cluster analysis, then a canonical and a stepwise discriminant analysis. The cultivars were grouped into four groups from Group 1 (Flamingo) which resembles a spurred growth habit with strong apical control, to Group 4 (Packham's Triumph and Golden Russet Bose) which resembles a spreading growth habit and weak apical control. The bearing habits of the same pear cultivars were quantified. In Winter 1998 ten unpruned branches were tagged on trees of each of the seven cultivars. The description started with the development of the main fruiting branch, forming several leaves in the first year of growth (designated year Y), with meristems developing in the leafaxils. In the following season (year Y+1), these axillary meristems have five alternatives: to remain as a latent bud (L), to develop as a vegetative bud (V), to become a flower bud not setting fruit (F), to become a flower bud producing a fruit (P) or to abort and leave a scar (S). Each year the development of these axillary buds were observed and classified anew, giving rise to a sequence. Between 50% ('Forelle/QA') and 75% ('Rosemarie') of buds remained in the growing phase (comprising of V, F or P buds) during the years of monitoring. It was shown that the predominant bud state in the growing phase was V. Although flower formation was low for all cultivars throughout the trial period, 'Packham's Triumph' and 'Rosemarie' displayed a relatively high proportion ofF and P buds in year Y+1. The latter two cultivars also displayed the bourse-over-bourse bearing phenomenon (PP), producing flowers and fruit terminally on bourse shoots. Artificial extinction of reproductive buds was applied in Winter 1999 to individual branches of the pear cultivar Doyenne du Cornice. This pear variety bears on spurs and is prone to biennial bearing. The objective was to reduce the number of growing buds, thereby increasing the allocation of assimilates to remaining reproductive structures. Three thinning intensities, i.e. 0%, 33% and 66% removal of reproductive buds and two methods, i.e. removal of proximal reproductive buds and removal of reproductive buds situated distally on spurs (by means of cutting back) were utilised. Autonomy of fruiting structures was not enhanced, but results warrant the repetition of this trial using whole trees as experimental units.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Dit is belangrik om die vertakkings- en drawyses van pere te verstaan, aangesien bestuurspraktyke hierdeur bepaal word. Die doel van hierdie studie was om die vertakkings- en drawyses van pere onder Suid-Afrikaanse toestande van sub-optimale winterkoue te kwantifiseer. Tweejaar-oue Pyrus communis L. takke is volgens hul proleptiese (vanuit dormante knoppe) vertakkingswyse in groepe geklassifiseer. Regop en plat takke van die peerkultivars Forelle (op Kweper A and BPI onderstamme), Abaté Fetel, Flamingo, Packham's Triumph, Golden Russet Bose, Rosemarie en Beurre D'Anjou (almalop BPI onderstam) is in die winter van 1998 gemonster. Jaarlote is volgens lengte « l cm, 1-5cm, 5-20cm and >20 cm) en posisie (distale tot proksimale kwadrante op die tweejaar-oue draer) geklassifiseer. Die getal lote per cm, per lengte klas per kwadrant vir elke kultivar is toe onderwerp aan 'n groep analise en daarna aan 'n kanoniese en 'n stapsgewyse diskriminant analise. Kultivars is in vier groepe gegroepeer vanaf Groep 1 (Flamingo) wat 'n spooragtige vertakkingswyse en sterk apikale kontrole toon, tot Groep 4 (Packham's Triumph en Golden Russet Bose) met 'n spreidende vertakkingswyse en swak apikale kontrole. Bogenoemde peerkultivars is ook gebruik vir die kwantifisering van drawyses. In die winter van 1998 is tien ongesnoeide takke per boom gemerk. Die beskrywing van die drawyses het begin met die ontwikkeling van die hoof tak van die dra-eenheid. In die eerste jaar van groei (genoem jaar Y) ontwikkel meristeme in die blaar oksels. In die daaropvolgende seisoen (jaar Y+1) is daar vyf ontwikkelings moontlikhede vir die oksellêre knoppe: om latent te bly (L), om vegetatief te ontwikkel (V), om te blom sonder die set van 'n vrug (F), om te blom en 'n vrug te set (P) of om te aborteer en 'n letsel te los (S). Die ontwikkeling van hierdie oksellêre knoppe is elke jaar gemonitor en opnuut geklassifiseer om sodoende 'n reeks te vorm. Gedurende die moniteringstydperk het tussen 50% ('ForelleIKweper A') en 75% ('Rosemarie') van die knoppe in die groeifase (G) (bevattende V, F ofP knoppe) gebly. Die proporsie knop tipes per jaar vir die onderskeie kultivars het getoon dat die oorheersende knop tipe in die G-fase V-knoppe is. Alhoewel blom inisiasie laag was gedurende die hele proeftydperk, het 'Packham's Triumph' en 'Rosemarie' relatiefhoë verhoudings F en P knoppe in jaar Y+1 getoon, wat gepaard gaan met dié kultivars se vermoë om vrugte op een jaar-oue lote te dra. Die beurs-oor-beurs verskynsel (PP) het ook by dié twee kultivars voorgekom. Reproduktiewe knoppe van die peerkultivar Doyenne du Comice is in die winter van 1999 verwyder (kunsmatige abortering) vanaf indivuduele takke. Hierdie peerkultivar dra op spore en is geneig tot alternatiewe drag. Die doel was om die hoeveelheid groeiposisies te verminder en sodoende die allokasie van reserwe assimilate na oorblywende reproduktiewe strukture te verhoog. Drie uitdun intensiteite (0%,33% en 66% van reproduktiewe knoppe verwyder) en twee metodes (verwydering van proksimale spoorknoppe en verwydering van distale spoorknoppe) is gebruik. Outonomiteit van reproduktiewe strukture was nie verhoog nie, maar resultate regverdig die herhaling van dié eksperiment. Daar word aanbeveel dat volledige bome dan as eksperimentele eenhede gebruik word.

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