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Apical bud removal increased seed yield in hemp (Cannabis sativa L.)

Kocjan Ačko, Darja, Flajšman, Marko, Trdan, Stanislav
Acta agriculturæ Scandinavica 2019 v.69 no.4 pp. 317-323
Cannabis sativa, apical dominance, branches, buds, cultivars, defoliation, field experimentation, fruits, hemp, seed yield, shoots
In plants, apical dominance prevents the development of lateral shoots. It can be overwhelmed by apical bud defoliation, allowing numerous lateral buds to develop into more lateral branches carrying more fruits and possibly increasing seed yield. This study tested this hypothesis on five hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) cultivars in a 2-year field experiment. In comparison to the intact ones, the defoliated plants developed several lateral shoots. The hemp seed yield was significantly influenced by the year of production, the apical bud removal, and the cultivar. The average two-year seed yield of the defoliated plants (715 ± 47 kg/ha) was significantly higher than the yield of the intact plants (568 ± 35 kg/ha). Absolutely the greatest effect of apical bud removal on the seed yield was observed for the cultivar ‘Novosadska konoplja’, where increase was 225 kg/ha (25%); a slightly smaller difference occurred for the cultivar ‘Uniko-B’ (183 kg; 30%), followed by ‘Juso-11’ (140 kg/ha; 27%) and ‘Bialobrzeskie’ (128 kg/ha; 29). Cultivar ‘Beniko’ presented the smallest difference with apical bud removal – 58 kg/ha (15%) yield increase We maintain that hemp producers can achieve a larger seed yield not only by selecting an appropriate cultivar and row distance but also by removing apical buds.