Budbreak anomalies in temperate fruit trees grown under mild conditions have often been described. However, only few authors approached the physiological evolution of leaf buds all along the dormancy period according to the temperature pattern. The aim of this study was to characterize the evolution of peach leaf bud dormancy through some physiological and biochemical parameters under temperate winter conditions and under total cold deprivation after the endodormancy onset. Two treatments were applied in peach trees cv. Redhaven: (i) Regular Chilling Amounts — RCA and (ii) Total Chilling Deprivation — TCD. Buds were sampled periodically from different parts of the stem (terminal, medium and basal ones). We recorded the evolution of: carbohydrate concentrations (glucose, fructose, sucrose, sorbitol and starch), respiration rate, water contents and energy metabolism (ATP and ADP ratio). The dynamics of these parameters were compared and correlated with dormancy evolution ("one node cuttings" test) and budbreak patterns in plank:. The endodormancy intensity of terminal buds was significantly lower than those of median and basal buds in early October. Under RCA treatment, this gradient faded and the bud endodormancy release was completed at the same time in all positions along the stem. Thereafter, the "cuttings" test indicated that terminal buds grew slightly faster than median and basal buds, and, consistently, budbreak in planta started with the terminals buds, followed by the medians and then by the basal ones. The carbohydrate contents showed a transitory change only when the buds began to grow after the endodormancy was released under RCA. Respiration, water content and ATP/ADP changed dynamics only under RCA and only after the end of the endodormancy (their respective changes were very parallel). The dynamics of none of the tested parameters could be related with the endodormancy dynamics, but respiration, water content and ATP/ADP could be consistent markers of the actual bud growth before bud break (in this respect, ATP/ADP could not show differences between the terminal and axillary buds while respiration and water content could).
Frost tolerance of pear cultivars was checked after artificial cold treatment in 2003-2005. Limbs collected during the endodormancy were exposed in a climatic chamber for 24 hours to —25; —28 °C, while those collected in the ecodormancy were kept at —15 and —18 °C. Frost damages of buds were registered according to a visually defined scale, then peroxidase (POD), polyphenol oxidase (PPO) enzyme activities and carbohydrate contents were checked in buds and spur-part below the buds. POD activity of untreated control in tissue below buds was higher than in the buds, which were increasing continuously during the endodormancy and decreased at the end of the ecodormancy. During endodormancy, cold treatment of —25 and —28 °C effected different changes of enzyme activity in buds of the cultivars. In the ecodormancy, enzyme activities increased after a cold treatment of —15 °C, whereas the activities decreased significantly after —18 °C. `Kaiser' — susceptible to frost — with its higher values of both enzyme activities marked out from other cultivars, which is correlated with its stress response. Changes in carbohydrate components — especially in glucose — of buds monitored well the different stress responses of tolerant and resistant pear cultivars induced by frost stress.
Pear cultivars of variable frost tolerance were tested as for frost injuries suffered as a consequence of artificial freezing temperatures during the endodormancy as well as the ecodormancy. Damages were registered according to a visually defined scale, then peroxidase and polyphenol-oxidase activity was checked in buds, spurs and limbs. According to our results, 'Packham's Triumph' was the most frost tolerant cultivar. Regarding enzyme activity of both enzymes, the performance of cultivars displaying different susceptibility was also different in spurs as well as in buds. Results referring to the endodormancy were especially instructive. During the ecodormancy, data obtained at the same time indicated the differences existing between the developmental stages of dormancy in the respective cultivars.
Experiences of the last decades showed univocally that the climatic changes, especially the warming up, influenced clearly the phenology, i.e. speed of growth and development of plants. To check the effects, the phenological studies became a topic of special interest. Our research has been performed at Újfehértó, the Research Institute of Fruit Growing and Extension, where the respective database accumulated observations during the period 1984–2005, where the meteorological data as well as the parallel phenological diary referring to the varieties ’Újfehértói fürtös’, ’Kántorjánosi’ and ’Debreceni bôtermô’ during the period 1984–1991 have been utilised. The method of calculating the sum of daily mean temperatures, “degree days”, is based on the observation that the plants are able to utilise cumulatively – in growth and development – the temperature above a set basic temperature. Our phenology model examined the correlation between the sum of degree days and the date of sprouting (budburst). The basic temperature has been determined by optimization, above which (threshold temperature) the accumulation of daily means was most active, or alternatively, below which the daily means are most sensitively expressed in the phenology. The model has been extended to the calculation of the end of rest period (endodormancy) – by optimization as well. Our phenology model will be suitable for two main purposes: for estimating the time of budburst for the Hungarian region during the next decades calculated on the basis of regionally downscaled climate models; on the other hand, by applying our model, the risk of damage caused by spring frosts could be estimated more exactly than earlier.
The phenological processes of flower bud development of stone fruits during dormancy are not thoroughly known. The yield of these species, especially of almond, apricot and peach is determined basically by dormancy of flower buds, the survival rate of buds during winter frosts and by their ability to develop normal floral organs in the next spring. After the initiation of floral primordia, flower bud development is taking place in continuous space until blooming, though at different speed characteristic to the species. To study flower bud development during dormancy we applied two alternative methods in different genotypes of almond, apricot and peach: (1) examination of pollen development (microsporogenesis), and (2) the measurement of pistil length. The samples were collected from the central part of Hungary during the dormancy period of 2004/2005. The three fruit species differed significantly in the speed of flower bud development, it was the quickest in almond, followed by apricot and peach. In addition to the species, there were significant differences in the process of microsporogenesis and pistil development between genotypes within species and also between the different types of shoots on which the buds were located. On short shoots buds developed at a higher speed, than on long shoots. Based on our observations, on the short shoots the period of endodormancy was shorter with 5-30 days, according to genotypes, compared to the long shoots. This difference, however, decreased to 2-3 days by the time of blooming.