Use of root pruning, paclobutrazol, and prohexadione-Ca combination strategies to control growth and improve productivity on pear trees
AbstractGrowth control in pear orchards is essential, not just to reduce competition between vegetative and reproductive sinks, but also to improve return bloom, yield and fruit quality. The goal to optimize growth control, return bloom and yield must be pursued with the integration or combination of several strategies. Aim of this study was to assess the use of root pruning, paclobutrazol, and prohexadione-Ca (ProCa) either alone or in combination, to control growth and improve productivity on pear trees. The experiment was conducted during three years in a 10 year-old pear orchard with ‘Blanquilla’ as the scion cultivar. All of the different strategies that were assessed improved growth control in pear trees, with different grade depending on the strategy. Control trees had about 50% of the shoots shorter than 60 cm, root pruning 63%, ProCa 70%, paclobutrazol and root pruning plus ProCa 83%, and root pruning plus paclobutrazol 86%. In addition, yield, fruit weight and return bloom were more affected by applications of ProCa than paclobutrazol. Use of paclobutrazol either alone or in combination with root pruning seems to be most suitable for situations of high-vigor cultivars. The fact that use of paclobutrazol may be challenged again in the future, leave combinations of root pruning plus ProCa as the best shot for vigorous cultivars. In other situations of medium-low vigor, ProCa alone would be the best strategy.
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