Branch Configuration Impacts on Production, Fruit Quality, and Leaf Minerals of ‘Aztec Fuji’ Apple Trees in an Upright Single Row High-Density Orchard System Over Five Years

  •  Esmaeil Fallahi    
  •  Bahar Fallahi    
  •  Shahla Mahdavi    


Tree architectures play a critical role in the productivity of high-density orchards, but limited information is available in this subject. We studied effects of three branch configurations on tree growth, yield components, fruit quality and leaf mineral nutrients in ‘Aztec Fuji’ apple (Malus domestica Bork.) in a single row upright high-density system under southwest Idaho, USA conditions over 2012-2016. This study revealed that trees trained into a Tall Spindle (TS) had larger trunk cross sectional area (TCSA) than those with an Overlapped Arm (OA) system. Trees trained into a TS had higher number of fruit and yield per tree, three years after planting in 2012, than those with a Tipping Arm (TA) or OA system. However, in 2013, trees with a TA system had higher yield than those with a TS or OA configuration due to trees’ biennial bearing habit and higher spur formation in trees with a TA system. Trees receiving a TA training had lower biennial bearing index between all consecutive years. Trees with an OA training had smaller fruit than those with either a TA or TS training in all years between 2012-2016. Training systems did not have any effect on fruit color, soluble solids concentration, or starch degradation pattern at harvest. However, fruit from trees with an OA training had higher firmness and lower water core than those from trees with a TS or TA training. Leaves from trees receiving a TA training had greater leaf area, fresh weight, and potassium (K) and magnesium (Mn) concentrations than those with other trainings. Leaves from trees receiving an OA training had higher leaf iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) than those with a TS training. In this study, we concluded that training trees into a TA configuration rather than an OA system is recommended if the management and operation of apple production mandate the use of an “upright wall” structure to facilitate mechanical harvesting.

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