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In 164 varieties of five stone fruit species, counts of flower buds, flowers and fruits set have been performed, regularly, between 1982 and 2002. The critical number and sample size has been determined for the purpose to estimate the yielding potential of peach plantations. For a rapid test, 10 shoots per variety are recommended. In sour cherry and peach varieties, the number and ratio of leaf and flower buds has been assessed on bearing shoots of different length.
The typical flower bud density of 129 peach varieties varies, as a rule, between 0.13 and 1.10 bud/cm. Three groups of flower-bud-densities could be distinguished: low (0-0.40 bud/cm), intermediate (0.41-0.60 bud/cm), high (more than 0.60 bud/cm). About 62% of varieties belong to the intermediate group. Negative correlation has been found between flower density and relative fruit set, whereas positive correlation between flower density and fruit yield.
The results are utilised in the description and choice of varieties, moreover, in choosing of optimal pruning policies. Varieties of high flower bud densities are recommended to be preferred for growing sites with frequent late frosts. Abundantly yielding varieties of low vegetative vigour are to be pruned more severely than those characterised by low yields, vigorous growth and low flower density. Sour cherry varieties, which are inclined to grow "whips" ought to be stimulated to grow longer shoots (40-50 cm per year), than varieties woid of that tendency (30-40 cm).