Shade nets effect on canopy light distribution and quality of fruit and spur leaf on apple cv. Fuji

M.C. Dussi, G. Giardina, D. Sosa, R. González Junyent, A. Zecca, P. Reeb Reeb


The upper region of the Río Negro and Neuquén valley, Argentina (latitude: 38 degrees 55 minutes South) experiences high temperatures and light intensities before the apple harvest. This hinders these fruits turning red and increases the risks of them becoming sunburnt. In the December of two growing seasons (when the fruits were about 43 mm in diameter), still some 80 days before harvest, 15% and 55% density shade nets were placed over "Fuji" apple trees. At harvest time, light distribution was determined at two canopy heights (1 and 3 m) on either side of the trees. Fruiting spurs were examined, and colour, sunburn damage, weight, soluble solid content and flesh firmness of the fruits determined. Specific leaf weight (SLW) was also established. Shade nets notably decreased the amount of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) available; they also reduced fruit colour (redness), soluble solid content and flesh firmness, and the SLW. The 55% density net decreased fruit sunburn, but no differences were found between the 15% density net and control treatments. Spurs at the bottom of the canopy received less light, and the SLW, as well as the colour and soluble solid content of their fruit, was lower than observed for the higher spurs. The impossibility of exporting fruits damaged by high temperatures and intense solar radiation during ripening requires shade nets be used, their density depending on the conditions experienced.


Malus pumila; Heat stress; Daylight; Heat; Shading; Protective screens; Absorbance; Apples; Quality; Neuquen; Rio Negro (Argentina)

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2005032-144