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Crop load regulates the next season’s crop potential and fruit components in Frantoio olive trees (Olea europaea L.)

Beyá-Marshall, Víctor, Fichet, Thomas
Scientia horticulturae 2017 v.215 pp. 149-156
Olea europaea, mesocarp, oils, pulp, trees
The aim of this study was to examine the influence of crop load on the next season’s crop potential of Frantoio olive trees and its effect on some production variables. To do this, a follow-up was made of oil accumulation in the final period of fruit growth during the 2012 −2013 vegetative seasons, with low and high crop loads, respectively. At harvest, the following fruit traits were evaluated: concentration and content of pulp oil, pulp/pit ratio, fruit and mesocarp weight, crop load and oil yield. The main results show crop load heavily influences the variables assessed. It was observed that the average production of a tree over two consecutive seasons with low and high crop loads remains constant, regardless of the production level of the trees, suggesting an optimal yield potential where subsequent crop is not reduced. This potential, in turn, seems to be related to the rate of maximum gain of oil yield per kg of fruit produced. Thus, when the production optimum is exceeded in a year with a high crop load, this rate falls.