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Long term response on nutrient contents at harvest and stored in cellar in young pear trees affected by regulated deficit irrigation

Lepaja, L., Kullaj, E., Lepaja, K., Zajmi, A.
Acta horticulturae 2018 no.1217 pp. 163-170
Food and Agriculture Organization, acids, brix, calcium, copper, deficit irrigation, evapotranspiration, experimental design, fruit quality, fruits, harvest date, iron, irrigation rates, lead, magnesium, mulching, nutrient content, nutrients, pH, pears, potassium, proteins, trees, wood chips, zinc, Kosovo
The effect of regulated deficit irrigation and mulching were investigated in young 'Williams' pear trees. The aim was to determine the content of macro- and micro-elements in pear fruits after the application of regulated deficit irrigation at harvest and after storage in a cellar for about a month. Four levels of irrigation were applied, 100% of evapotranspiration (ET) as control (128 L of water/drip per season) and water deficit in 80 (102.40 L of water/drip), 60 (76.80 L of water/drip) and 40% of full ET (51.20 L of water/drip). ET was estimated using the FAO Penman Monteith approach. For each treatment we used 10 trees, 5 of which were mulched with wood chips at a 20-cm layer. The experiment was conducted in Kosovo during 2013 to 2015 and using a nested experimental design. For fruits stored in a cellar the nutrients content, Brix, acids, ash, dry matter, K, Ca, P, Fe, Cu, Mg, and Zn were higher than at harvest time. We found significant changes in the nutrients of fruits at harvest and after storage in a cellar. The irrigation levels significantly influenced all parameters: pH, Brix, acids, ash, dry matter, proteins, K, Ca, P, Mg, and Zn. Mulching too had a positive effect on all parameter values measured: pH, Brix, dry matter, proteins, ash, fat, K, Ca, P, Fe, Zn and Cu while, changes were not significant for Mg and Pb at harvest time and Mg, Ca, and dry matter when stored in a cellar. The application of mulching in combination with regulated deficit irrigation is a new technique that can be successfully applied to young pears to improve fruit quality.