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The effect of spring frosts on the nectar production and the bee visitation of fruit trees
Published February 23, 2000

Fruit tree species suffered very strong spring frosts in 1997 in Hungary. This caused partial or total damages at buds and flowers depending on site and time of blooming. It was demonstrated at a number of experiments that frost and cold weather also strongly affected the nectar production of surviving flowers. No or very little amount of necta...r was measured in flowers first of all of early blooming fruit tree species (apricot) but also of pear and apple in some places. In spite of this fact intensive honeybee visitation was detected in the flowers of fruit trees that suffered partial frost damage only at those sites where honeybee colonies were placed in or at the experimental plantations and the lack of sufficient amount of nectar did not affected bee behaviour seriously on fruit flowers. This means that bad nectar production failed to affect bee visitation of fruit trees definitely. The reason for this was the fact that not only fruit trees but another early bee plants (wild plants, too) suffered frost damage. Accordingly, in lack of forage bees intensively searched for food at blooming fruit trees with some living flowers. Consequently, there was an acceptable yield at those plantations where bud and flower damage was not complete. Accordingly, intensive bee visitation (that is moving additional bee colonies to overpopulate fruit orchards with honeybees) can be an effective tool to decrease or eliminate the detrimental effect of spring frost on the yield of fruit trees where bud or fruit damage is not too high.


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Spring frost effects on 30 sweet cherries varieties grown in North Italy
Published August 16, 2010

After a spring frost occurred in second half of March 2008, with temperatures below 0°C for 8 days consecutively and an absolute minimum of -5.5°C, a lot of observations have been made on the sweet cherry flowers damages. In three different orchards “Italian palmetta” trained on grassing ground soil, the percentage of the flowers killed b...y frost, was detected and recorded considering the different genotypes and flowers height from the ground. Furthermore, in one orchard only it was possible to find relationship between flowering stage and frost damage. The results clearly confirm our previous works about the highest mortality of the flower in the upper part ( > 1.50 m) of the canopy and in the full bloom open flowers. So, in this area, the easiness of agronomic operations, like pruning and, especially, fruit harvest, due to the crown proximity to the ground, is cancelled by the frequency of spring frost.

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Cooling irrigation as a powerful method for microclimate modification in apple plantation
Published March 15, 2011

Irrigation in some countries is a horticultural practice mainly used only to supply water. At the same time the use of microsprinklers have a powerful influence on the changes of temperature in orchards. When the air’s temperature is high (about 20 °C or higher) the evaporative cooling irrigation significantly decreases the plants’ surface... temperature and air temperature. The cooling effect is stronger when the air is dryer. By using cooling irrigation regularly, canopy temperature can be decreased so that the beginning of blooming can be delayed. Also if the blooming is early and frost probability is high, serious damages can happen in orchards. The beneficial effect of cooling irrigation is the temperature reduction and frost protection. InMarch 2010, one month earlier than the expected blooming an irrigation system was established to produce anti-frost treatment and regulate the micro-climate of a Gala apple orchard which belongs to the University of Debrecen (Hungary). The objective of sprinklers was to cool the air by increasing water evaporation and relative humidity. The position of the micro-sprinklers was planned in three levels (around the tree trunks, a few cm near to the soil surface, in the crown region and above the crown, a half meter higher). The results showed that the water sprayed in the orchard by micro-jets influenced decisively the temperature of the plantation. At higher temperatures (around 20 °C), the drop of temperature may attain 5–7 °C. A low relative humidity of the air may increase the relative effect. When water was applied at intervals of 15 minutes for ten times a day from 8 am to 18 pm, the air, flowers and bud’s surface temperature could be kept low.At certain days when the temperature was higher than 10 °C, irrigation was used at night time in similar 15 minutes intervals, from 18 pm and 6 am. The beginning of bloom could be delayed for more than ten days. The Gala apple variety blooming dynamics was characterized by a logistic curve in the treated as well as in the control plot. In the treated plot, the curve was steeper than in the control one in spite of the equal temperatures measured in the plots. Under Hungarian climatic conditions, the method was successfully used to delay blooming dates. The main result was the diminution of the frost damage in the spring that assured apple yields.

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Freeze Susceptibility of Fruit Buds in 67 Apple cultivars in Hungary
Published August 13, 2004

Frost damage is one of the most important risks of apple production. Outstanding importance has been attributed to the frost resistance of flower-buds as decisive sites of fruit production. Browning of plants parts and tissues exposed to natural weather adversities are considered as effects of frost. In Hungary, frost damage on flower buds of b...oth the market and new cultivars has not been assessed earlier. Observations referring to the consequences of frost damages of over four critical years, marked by their peculiar winter and spring frost hazards. Parallel observations have been made in four sites of the growing area in the Great-Plain region. 67 apple cultivars have been assessed. Each cultivar was represented by 3 trees, which were sampled at about 1-1.5 m height over ground, where the buds or inflorescences were picked for the purpose to assess the injury. The buds and flowers are cut longitudinally and rated visually according to the extent of browning of the organs and tissues. Susceptibility of different organs of the flower (pistils and anthers) were rated separately. According to our results, most resistant to spring frosts are the following cultivars: 'Gloster', 'Granny Smith' and appreciable tolerance is attributed in 'Gala' and 'Jonathan' with derivatives. Preliminary results that among the scab resistant cultivars, `Baujade', 'Rewena', 'Liberty', `Resi' and 'Renora' are rather frost resistant. Information, lacking hitherto, is obtained upon 'Reka' and 'Reglindis' as for their increased susceptibility.

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Effect of frost damage on leaf macronutrient status of eight apple cultivars in integrated apple orchard in Eastern-Hungary
Published February 19, 2008

The year of 2007 was critical for fruit growers in the region of Easter-Hungary. Several orchards were suffered frost damages. Significant frost damage was also happened in the orchard of Tedej Rt., which caused total fruit failure in the orchard. Our study was conducted in the integrated apple orchard (Malus domestics Borkh.) establis...hed on a lowland chemozem soil in East-Hungary, to investigate how frost changes the mineral content of different apple species. Leaf samples were collected 100 days after full bloom both in 2006 and 2007. The concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium and magnesium were measured in leaves. The absence of fruits caused a smaller accumulation of nitrogen and magnesium in leaves. Falling down of flowers and fruit sets hindered the translocation of the uptaken phosphorous, potassium and calcium towards fruit sets. Due to fruit failure the vegetative processes became dominant. Leaves larger amount of phosphorous, potassium and calcium stored. Besides the absolute element content, the ratio of the different elements was also determined. Majority of calculated ratios were removed from optimal values due to frost. Both absolute content of nutrients and their ratios pointed out that the frost damage significantly affected the uptake of nutrients and their storing processes.

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Summer pruning of sweet cherry trees and an inquiry of winter frost damages
Published December 4, 2011

One of the most demanded research projects is the intensification of fruit production. The use of dwarfing stocks is a moderate solution as their effect is scarcely satisfactory. Climatic conditions of Hungary are continental in Eastern Europe, where Atlantic and Mediterranean effects are interacting with the continentals in a kind of basin wit...h characters of its own. Capricious meteorological episodes are often disturbing the security of development and fruiting of trees:
• winter frosts are damaging the cambium and fruiting structures of trees
• late spring frosts destroy cambium and flowers
• early autumn frosts hurt the leaves
• excessive precipitation impairs the growing fruits
• drought periods during the summer caused water stress disturbing water husbandry.

Vigorous stocks still prevail in the practice, and they ought to withstand challenges of weather hazards. The strong vigour of plants delaysthe process of senescence and the tendency of getting bald, and regeneration of plants is a sign of vitality. In present research, the trees have been trained on vigorous Prunus mahaleb stocks. Summer pruning was one of the important tools of intensive growing techniques. They were compared with traditional techniques and with plastic foil protected trees observing the vegetative as well as generative growth of them.

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