Effects of Trunk-shaker Harvester and Ethephon on Plant Water Status, Leaf Gas Exchange, and Yield of Citrus Cultivated under Mediterranean Conditions
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AuthorMoreno, Rosana; Intrigliolo, Diego S.; Ballester, Carlos; Garcerá, Cruz; Moltó, Enrique; Chueca, Patricia
Cita bibliográficaMoreno, R., Intrigliolo, D. S., Ballester, C., Garcerá, C., Moltó, E., & Chueca, P. (2016). Effects of Trunk-shaker Harvester and Ethephon on Plant Water Status, Leaf Gas Exchange, and Yield of Citrus Cultivated under Mediterranean Conditions. HortScience, 51(7), 861-872.
This work was aimed to study whether the application of ethephon as an abscission agent and mechanical harvest using a trunk shaker have any effect on plant water status, leaf gas exchange, and yield of mandarin and orange trees cultivated under Mediterranean conditions. The experiment was performed from 2008 to 2011 in five commercial orchards where parameters related to the plant water status and leaf gas exchange were measured before the application of ethephon, at harvest time and at different occasions after harvest. In addition, the effects of ethephon dose on yield in the current and subsequent seasons were also evaluated. Results showed that ethephon applications and mechanical harvest did not detrimentally affect plant water status in any of the cultivars studied. Furthermore, either had no effect or had a short temporal decrease effect on leaf gas exchange depending on the cultivar studied although with no consequences for the fruit yield obtained during the current season. Increasing ethephon doses led to fruit yield reductions in the mandarin ‘Orogrande’ trees in subsequent seasons. When trunk-shaker and ethephon applications were combined, however, yields from the late-maturing orange significantly decline in subsequent seasons. Overall, results show that using a trunk shaker is a viable technique to mechanically harvest citrus trees destined to both fresh and industry market and can be considered as an alternative to the traditional manual harvest usually performed under Mediterranean conditions. However, its use cannot be recommended for late-maturing oranges, such as the ‘Navel Lane Late’ in which mature fruit and fruitlets coexist in the tree at the time of harvest.