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Response of adult sour cherry trees to woodchip mulch and drip irrigation

Feldmane, D., Butac, M., Militaru, M., Kalva, E., Grotuze, S., Missa, I., Sproge, L., Cirsa, E.
Acta horticulturae 2019 no.1235 pp. 337-344
Prunus cerasus, adults, cherries, cultivars, defoliation, fruit set, fruit trees, growers, horticulture, leaf spot, microirrigation, mulches, photosynthesis, soil water, vegetation, wood chips, Latvia
The aim of this study was to evaluate the growth, productivity, and tree condition of sour cherries, depending on the cultivar and soil-moisture treatment. The research was carried out at the Institute of Horticulture, Latvia University of Agriculture. Five sour cherry cultivars were investigated using drip irrigation and woodchip mulch. The following data were collected and processed: trunk cross-section area (TCSA), trunk growth intensity (TGI), fruit set, yield tree(-1) and yield efficiency as a ratio of TCSA, photosynthesis performance index, and the level of defoliation caused by cherry leaf spot after natural infection in the field. Woodchip mulch preserved soil moisture at optimal levels or higher during most vegetation seasons. Sour cherry cultivars differed significantly in terms of growth, productivity, and tree condition, and in the response to soil-moisture treatment. Most of the sour cherry cultivars responded to drip irrigation and woodchip mulch by increasing the growth and productivity of trees; however, a negative (in 'Orlica') or minimal (in 'Bulatnikovskaya') effect of mulch was observed in a few cultivars. Our study highlights the variability of sour cherry cultivars and the necessity of further research before recommendations can be made to growers.