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Evaluation of four cultivars regarding their suitability in high-intensity olive orchards

Tombesi, S., Tombesi, A., Molfese, M., Cipolletti, M., Visco, T.
Acta horticulturae 2011 no.924 pp. 321-326
canopy, cultivars, fruits, hardness, oils, olives, orchards, planting, ripening, trees, vigor, Italy
High-intensity olive orchards require high productive cultivars with low vegetative vigour and low canopy volume. As a consequence these plants have a minimal economical life of about 15 years. The aim of this study was to test four cultivars proposed by the nurseries for this training system in the central Italian environment. In 2008 and 2009 the vegetative and productive activity of ‘Arbequina’, ‘Arbosana’, ‘Don Carlo’ and ‘FS 17’ were monitored on trees that were planted in 2006 in a high-intensity orchard in Abruzzo region (Italy). Regarding vegetative parameters the canopy growth and trunk area growth were registered. Regarding productive aspects the ripening process, the yield and the quality of the oil obtained were evaluated. The most productive cultivars were ‘Arbosana’ and ‘Arbequina’, ‘FS 17’ and ‘Don Carlo’ had respectively lower production. ‘Don Carlo’ and ‘FS 17’ had more bitter and more spicy oils than ‘Arbequina’ and ‘Arbosana’ that gave equilibrated oils. ‘FS 17’ and ‘Don Carlo’ had the highest crown volume followed by ‘Arbequina’ and ‘Arbosana’ respectively. ‘Arbosana’ had the highest efficiency index (yield/m3 of crown) followed by ‘Arbequina’, ‘FS 17’ and ‘Don Carlo’. In 2009 ‘FS 17’ showed a particular sensibility to olive fly which was probably due to the low hardness and high dimension of the fruits. Considering the data of these two years we concluded that ‘Arbosana’ and ‘Arbequina’ are suitable for this kind of training system in central Italy. ‘Don Carlo’ and ‘FS 17’ had some problems related to yield (especially ‘Don Carlo’) and vigour that might influence negatively their economical results in high-intensity olive orchards.