The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of nitrogen supply on yield and fruit quality of apple cultivars and to explore the relationships between canopy density and the different fruit quality parameters.
The experiments were carried out at Kálmánháza, in Eastern Hungary in a private orchard in 2003-2004. The respons...e of four apple cultivars ('Elstar', 'Gala Prince', 'Granny Smith', 'Idared') to different nitrogen dosages was studied. The assessed and calculated indices were: yield, fruit diameter, fruit height, shape index, fruit mass, firmness, dry matter content and colouration. The results indicated that nitrogen fertilization has a significant effect on the yield and fruit quality of apple cultivars. The calculated specific yield values were reduced by the application of nitrogen via the increase in the volume of the canopy. An opposit trend was observed for fruit diameter, fruit height and fruit weight, which increased with increasing nitrogen supply. The reduced shape index caused flattening of fruits.
However, the improvement of fruit quality via increasing nitrogen dosage is only virtual, since these dosages increase the fruit size, but firmness, dry matter content and colouration are diminished, which decreases the value of the fruits on the market.
The authors also studied the relationships between canopy density responsible for assimilation and light supply of the fruits and the different fruit quality parameters. The closest linear inversely proportional relationship was found in the case of colouration. There was a negative linear relationship between canopy density and firmness or dry matter content. The relationship between canopy density and fruit mass could be described by a quadratic polinomial function.
Planting of new high density apple orchards showed an increasing tendency over the last ten years. Growers use in those orchards mainly dwarfing or semi dwarfing rootstocks. The spacing for those orchards is recommended based on Dutch and German experiences; however, the optimization of orchard planting density as a key factor for successful or...chard management should consider the local climate conditions. An experimental orchard was planted in 2000 to investigate the effect of spacing on three dwarfing rootstocks with two apple cultivars `Jonica' and 'Gala Must'. We compared 8 planting densities (1270-3704 tree/ha) and two tree shapes (slender spindle and vertical axis). In this paper the data of the first five years' growth and bearing are presented. After 4 years, the decreasing tree densities caused reduced trunk cross sectional area. Tree density had a significant positive effect on cumulative yield per hectare. From the examined rootstocks, M.9 Burgmer 984 gave the smallest canopy for both cultivars. The trees on M.9 T.337 and on Jork 9 rootstocks have stronger growth. The light interception was measured under the canopy by AccuPAR (Decagon Devices Inc.'s).
The effect of row direction (N-S, E-W), plant density (conventional and intensive) and rootstock (M9, MM106 and crab apple) on the sensitivity of 41 apple cultivars to sunburn injury was studied at 6 locations (Derecske, Kálmánáaza, Nagykutas, Nagylapos, Siófok, Tornyospálca).
During the observations the cultivars had rootstock-spe...cific properties in respect of sunburn-susceptibility. Accordingly, the injury was decreased in the order: M9, MM106 and seedling rootstocks. The differences in sensitivity depend on the canopy of trees, caused finally by the growing vigour of rootstocks. Accordingly, the highest value of sunburn injury was observed on M9 rootstock, because this rootstock has a dwarfing effect upon the scion cultivars. Thus, vegetative area of these trees grow very slowly and the foliage is not enough compact to protect the fruit from solar radiation. The size and density of the foliage increased in the order: M9, MM 106 and crab apple seedling as rootstock. Moreover, relationships were demonstrated between the diameter of upper part of the crown, the leaf area, the number of fruits per tree and the injury of sunburn.
Authors categorized the cultivars in respect of values of sunburn incidence: 1. „Not sensitive", II. „Moderately sensitive" and HI. „Strongly sensitive" categories were constituted. Generally, Topaz and Gala cultivars showed low damage (or were free from symptoms), in contrast to this, Golden mutants suffered relatively much. The most sensitive cultivar was Jonica on all the three rootstocks. We searched for relationship between the fruit quality parameters and the frequency of sunburn. Significant correlation was found in the cases of fruit size and the extent of cover-colour. The latter is interpreted with the fact that the best coloured fruits are found on the periphery of crown as a consequence of more intense irradiation.
In our study we aimed to evaluate the growing characteristics of new prospective apple cultivars and their canopies. The following parameters were measured: I) thickness of the trunk and the central leader, II) ratio of the trunk thickness and the basic branches (Zahn indexes), III) number of the branches of the central leader, and iv) thicknes...s of the branches of the central leader. The main branches of the trunk and the central leader tend to over thickening in the case of cvs ‘Red Idared’, ‘Wilton’s Red Jonaprince’ and ‘Jeromine’. The density of the branches of certain parts of the canopy was too low for cvs ‘Crimson Crisp’, ‘Wilton’s Red Jonaprince’, ‘Fuji September Wonder’ and ‘Red Idared’. The density of the branches of certain parts of the canopy was too high for cvs ‘Gala Venus Fengal’, ‘Wilton’s Red Jonaprince’ and ‘Red Cap Valtod’. Relationship was found between the tapering dynamics of the central axis and the thickness of the main branches, which was stronger in super spindle canopies than in slender spindle crown forms.
During 2000 and 2007, rootstocks of different vigor have been tested in a high density sweet cherry orchard with 'Vera '® and 'Axel'® cultivars at 4 x 2 meter row and plant distance. Trees are trained to Hungarian Spindle with permanent basal branches; in the alley way naturally grown grass is managed by mowing. The first considerable fruitin...g was in 2004. Every year we measured trunk and canopy parameters of the trees, productivity and fruit size. Our conclusion is that the rootstocks considerably affected the growth, precocity, as well as tree and orchard productivity, fruit weight of sweet cherry cultivars, but these rootstock effects are modified by cultivars, except for growth vigor. According to our results Cema, SL 64, and Bogdany are vigorous rootstocks, moderate vigorous are MaxMa 97, Pi-Ku I , and Tabel® Edabriz, Gisela® 5 and Prob are dwarfing rootstocks. Besides the precocious Gisela® 5 also mahaleb rootstocks CEMA, Bogdany and SL 64 showed considerable precocity, which can be explained by the larger bearing surface to the time of turning to bearing, and a similar or relative large density of burse shoots on fruiting branches. Cumulative yield of 'Axel'® was the highest on Bogdany and on Cerna, contrary to Gisela® 5, which produced only 50% of the previous ones. Cumulative yield of 'Vera'® was the highest on SL 64, and no significant difference was found, compared to trees on rootstocks Cema, Bogdany and Pi-Ku I . Cumulative yield production of trees was smaller on Gisela® 5, Prob, Max Ma 97 and Tabel® Edabriz rootstocks. Corresponding to the literature data of yield efficiency calculated on TCSA basis was highest on Gisela® 5 rootstock. but the efficiency calculated on canopy volume of 'Axel•® trees was similarly high on CEMA and Bogdany, and that of 'Vera'® trees relatively high on CEMA, Bogdany, SL 64 and PiKu I rootstocks. When calculating orchard efficiency al spacing 4 x 2 meters (1250 tree/ha), we received highest yield values on Bogdany, CEMA, SL 64, and PiKu I rootstocks, with large fruit weight. Rootstocks also affect fruit weight. We measured the largest fruit weight on trees on Bogdany.
High density central leader systems, the so called "spindle trees" are spreading in intensive stone fruit orchards established for hand picking in Hungary. Results of Brunner (1972, 1990) and Zahn (1967, 1996) inspired the researchers to implement their theories into practice under our climate and special soil conditions. For ...sweet cherry it is essential to apply an orchard system appropriate for hand picking because of the European market requirements. In intensive sweet cherry orchards two new training and orchard systems are developed and adapted to environmental conditions in Hungary based on previous inventions. The first step of the development is represented by modified Brunner-spindle, which applies the delayed heading of the central leader and the sectorial-double-pruning system from Brunner (1972), resulting intensive orchard of 600-800 trees/ha density, planted on standard vigour rootstocks. Modified Brunner-spindle trees are developed with a central leader and wide-angled branches on it. Light bearing wood is positioned on the central leader and wide-angled branches. During training, shoots for branches are bent or a sectorial double pruning is used. The growth of central leader is reduced by delayed heading, and the strong upright shoots are pinched in summer. Based upon tree size spacing of 5 m between row and 2.5-3 m between trees is recommended, tree height is around 3.5-4 m. This training system is useful for hand-picking; 60-70% of the crop can be harvested from ground. Modified Brunner-spindle is suitable for either standard or moderate vigorous rootstocks. The cherry spindle is an intensive orchard planted with 1250-2300 trees per hectare and it is recommended for sweet and sour cherries on semi dwarf to vigorous rootstocks, depending on soil fertility and quality. Trees are 2.5-3.5 m high, 75-80% of the crop can be harvested from the ground. Permanent basal scaffolds are developed on the basis of the canopy to counteract the stronger terminal growth. The tree is headed only once, after planting, from the following year the central leader grows from the terminal bud. The central leader developed from the terminal bud results moderated growth in the upper parts of the tree head. The strong upright shoots that may develop below the terminal bud are pinched to 3-4 leaves in the summer or removed entirely. The weaker, almost horizontal shoots growing from the central leader form fruiting twigs in the following year if their terminal bud is not removed. Brunner's double pruning is used only once or twice on the permanent basal branches because of its good branching effect. Trials on various rootstocks are running to find optimum spacing and fruiting wood management. The training and pruning guidelines are discussed in the paper. The average crop of bearing years is around 20-30 t/ha depending on site and cultivars. This new system is spreading in Hungary, around 70 ha sweet and sour cherry orchards are trained according to our guidelines.