Root and aerial growth in early-maturing peach trees under two crop load treatments

Isabel Abrisqueta, Wenceslao Conejero, Lidia López-Martínez, Juan Vera, M. Carmen Ruiz Sánchez



The objectives of the paper were to study the pattern of root growth (measured by minirhizotrons) in relation to trunk, fruit and shoot growth and the effects of crop load on tree growth and yield in peach trees. Two crop load (commercial and low) treatments were applied in a mature early-maturing peach tree orchard growing in Mediterranean conditions. Root growth dynamics were measured using minirhizotrons during one growing season. Shoot, trunk and fruit growth were also measured. At harvest, all fruits were weighed, counted and sized. Roots grew throughout the year but at lower rates during the active fruit growth phase. Root growth was asynchronous with shoot growth, while root and trunk growth rates were highest after harvest, when the canopy was big enough to allocate the photo-assimilates to organs that would ensure the following season’s yield. Shoot and fruit growth was greater in the low crop load treatment and was accompanied by a non-significant increase in root growth. High level of fruit thinning decreased the current yield but the fruits were more marketable because of their greater size.


fruit growth; minirhizotrons; phenology; Prunus persica L. Batsch; root length density; vegetative growth

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017152-10714