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Statistical analysis of trends in sweet cherry flowering data across Europe

Wenden, B., Mariadassou, M., Campoy, J. A., Quero-Garcia, J., Dirlewanger, E.
Acta horticulturae 2017 no.1160 pp. 215-220
Prunus avium, climatic factors, cross pollination, dormancy, flowering, fruit set, fruit trees, models, phenology, risk, spring, statistical analysis, temperature, winter, Europe
In temperate fruit trees, most key phenological stages are highly dependent on environmental conditions. In particular, correct timing for dormancy and flowering is essential to ensure good fruit production and quality. As a result, in a swiftly-changing environment, temperate fruit crop adaptation in many areas will be at risk in the coming decades. Global changes in environmental conditions include warmer winters and higher risks of frosts in the early spring, which may lead to a wide range of problems in relation to flower and fruit set, sun-scald, cross-pollination or novel host-pest interactions. With the final aim of better understanding the response of flowering to climatic conditions, we present a large-scale statistical analysis of flowering data for sweet cherry (Prunus avium) 'Burlat' from three sites in Europe, characterized by contrasted climatic conditions. These phenological data were provided through the Ctifl, a national network of experimentation and the sweet cherry European COST Action that INRA-Bordeaux is leading. This approach allowed extracting the main trends in flowering behaviour under different temperature conditions, and highlighted key periods with significant temperature effect. These results lead to a finer approach for phenology modelling and represent the first step towards developing a predictive model for flowering in sweet cherry based on both genomic and phenology data.