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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Long-term effects of sod competition on irrigated peach yield

Author
item Glenn, D Michael

Submitted to: HortTechnology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 2, 2008
Publication Date: July 1, 2008
Citation: Glenn, D.M. 2008. Long-term effects of sod competition on irrigated peach yield. HortTechnology. 18:445-448.

Interpretive Summary: Excessive shoot growth in peach causes canopy shading that reduces fruiting in the canopy interior and increases pruning costs and time while reducing yield. Peach trees were planted in narrow and wide vegetation free strips to determine the feasibility of grass competition to reduce shoot growth in a 7 year study in which all trees were irrigated. Total pruning weight was reduced by sod competition in the first 4 of 7 cropping years. The total number of fruit per tree was reduced in all years and total yield reduced in 7 of 8 years in the narrow vegetation free strips. Results suggest that dormant season pruning was removing a higher percentage of the crop bearing wood from the narrow vegetation free strips resulting in reduced yield per unit of dormant pruning. This indicates that pruning practices must be modified to leave more bearing wood in mature trees to maintain yield potential when sod competition is used to control vegetative growth.

Technical Abstract: Excessive vegetative growth in peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) causes canopy shading that reduces fruit bud initiation in the canopy interior and increases pruning costs and time. Sod competition can reduce pruning but may also reduce yield. The objective of the present study was to determine if seasonal irrigation would alter the competitive effects of sod competition (0.6 vs. 2.5 m wide vegetation free areas (VFA)) on yield and quality of peach. Total pruning weight was reduced by sod competition in the first 4 of 7 cropping years. Subsequent years indicated no effect on vegetative growth due to sod competition. Annual increase in trunk cross-sectional area was reduced by sod competition in the first year of cropping and unaffected in subsequent years. Canopy development was reduced by sod competition in the first 2 years of cropping which increased PAR transmission through the canopy and decreased hue angle or increased fruit red color in the first year. The relationship between total fruit number and total yield was not significantly different for the VFA treatments in any year, however, the total number of fruit per tree was reduced in all years and total yield reduced in 7 of 8 years. Results suggest that dormant season pruning was removing a higher percentage of the crop bearing wood from the 0.6 m VFA treatment resulting in reduced yield per unit of dormant pruning. This indicates that pruning practices must be modified to leave more bearing wood in mature trees to maintain yield potential when sod competition is used to control vegetative growth.

Last Modified: 10/22/2014
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