Submitted to: Annual Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/5/2005
Publication Date: 3/20/2005
Citation: Miller, S.S., Scorza, R. 2005. Yield, fruit size, and leaf nutrient content of three peach tree growth habits grown at four spacings and with two training systems. Proceedings of the 80th Cumberland Shenandoah Fruit Workers Conference. PP. 114-116. 2004 Interpretive Summary: Traditional [standard (S) growth habit] peach trees produce rather low yields per acre. Novel growth habits, such as pillar (P) or upright (UP) trees, could produce significantly higher yields, but little is know about the performance of these new growth habits. Pillar and UP trees selected at the AFRS location were planted at four spacings and trained with two systems in a simulated commercial orchard setting along with an S habit cultivar. The UP trees produced greater yields and larger fruit than the S trees. P trees were intermediate in yields and fruit size compared to the UP and S trees. There were only slight differences in some leaf nutrient levels between growth habits. This information can be used by peach growers, extension fruit specialists and researchers in planting decisions and developing peach growth habit performance trials.
Technical Abstract: Peach trees with pillar (columnar) (P) and upright (UP) growth habits offer the potential for high density peach production and thus higher yields per hectare than that for standard (S) peach trees. Because they are relatively new, little is known about the performance of pillar and upright trees under orchard conditions. This report focuses on the yield and fruit size for trees in their sixth leaf in the orchard and leaf nutrient levels in the third and fifth leaf. Yield differences between P, UP, and S trees in the sixth leaf reflected earlier findings; UP trees had significantly greater yields than P or S trees. Average projected yields for the 5th- and 6th-leaf for P trees at commercial row spacings was 28.6 MT/ha compared to 32.6 MT/ha for UP trees and 20.4 MT/ha for S trees at traditional spacing. Increasing the spacing between trees in the row resulted in higher yields per tree, but reduced yields per hectare. UP trees produced the largest fruit followed by P fruit and S fruit. Fruit sizes were smaller in 2004 despite more severe pruning and a reduced crop load. Speculation is presented as to why fruit size was smaller in 2004. There were little or no differences in most leaf nutrient levels between growth habits. S trees did show higher N levels than P or UP trees. Analysis for coefficient of correlation between leaf nutrient levels and yield were not significant for N, P, K, Ca, or Mg.