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Orchard microclimate, tree water uptake and sweet cherry fruit quality under protected cropping


Stone, CH and Close, DC and Bound, SA and Corkrey, R, Orchard microclimate, tree water uptake and sweet cherry fruit quality under protected cropping, Frontiers in Plant Science, 13 Article 993817. ISSN 1664-462X (2022) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

2022 The Author(s). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License,

DOI: doi:10.3389/fpls.2022.993817


Protected cropping systems (PCS) de-risk adverse climatic effects in intensive horticultural production but alter the growing environment. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of modern, commercial-scale PCS on sweet cherry orchard microclimate, tree water uptake and fruit quality. Sap flow sensors and weather stations were positioned at four locations under a 21 ha PCS at varying elevations (125, 114, 111, 102 m above sea level) and distances from the block boundary (105, 75, 60 or 50 m, referred to hereafter as Locations 1 to 4, respectively). Generalised additive models (GAMs) were used to predict the effect of individual climate parameters (temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation and wind speed) on tree sap flow at each of the four locations. Average and maximum temperatures and average minimum relative humidity (RH) were higher (15.9 Celsius degree, 26.1 Celsius degree and 49.0%) at locations with higher elevations and located further from the PCS boundary (locations 1 and 2) in contrast to locations at lower elevations and closer proximity to the PCS boundary (locations 3 and 4) (15.4 Celsius degree, 24.6 Celsius degree and 48.1%). Predicted sap flow was strongly correlated (r2 = 0.92) with time across the four locations under the PCS. GAMS modelling indicated that the hourly water uptake by trees within close proximity to the block boundary (locations 3 and 4) responded with greater intensity to increases in temperature and reductions in relative humidity, taking up on average 0.15 L h-1 (at temperatures >30 Celsius degree) and 0.08 h-1 (at RH<50%), respectively, in contrast to trees further under the PCS (locations 1 and 2) where average tree water uptake was 0.08 and 0.04 h-1 at temperatures >30 Celsius degree and RH<50%, respectively. Highest average predicted hourly tree sap flow was associated with high wind speeds (0.67 h-1) and low relative humidity levels (0.61 h-1). Fruit harvested from locations further from the PCS boundary had significantly higher dry matter content (18.2%), total soluble solids (17.8%) and compression firmness (311.3 g mm-1) in contrast to fruit closer to the PCS boundaries (16.1%, 15.7% and 258.3 g mm-1). This study provides greater understanding of the effects of PCS on microclimate and consequences for tree water uptake and fruit quality.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:sap flow; relative humidity; solar radiation; wind speed; firmness; soluble solids; temperature; VOEN
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Horticultural production
Research Field:Horticultural crop growth and development
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Horticultural crops
Objective Field:Stone fruit (excl. avocado)
UTAS Author:Stone, CH (Mr Cameron Stone)
UTAS Author:Close, DC (Professor Dugald Close)
UTAS Author:Bound, SA (Dr Sally Bound)
UTAS Author:Corkrey, R (Dr Ross Corkrey)
ID Code:154382
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:TIA - Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-11-28
Last Modified:2022-12-13
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