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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Nat'l Clonal Germplasm Rep - Tree Fruit & Nut Crops & Grapes » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #348158

Research Project: Management of Genetic Resources & Associated Information for Grape, Tree Fruit, Tree Nut, & Other Specialty Crops to Mediterranean Climates

Location: Nat'l Clonal Germplasm Rep - Tree Fruit & Nut Crops & Grapes

Title: Orchard establishment, precocity, and eco-physiological traits of several pomegranate cultivars

Author
item CHATER, JOHN - University Of California
item SANTIAGO, LOUIS - University Of California
item MERHAUT, DONALD - University Of California
item JIA, ZHENYU - University Of California
item MAUK, PEGGY - University Of California
item Preece, John

Submitted to: Scientia Horticulturae
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/14/2018
Publication Date: 5/17/2018
Citation: Chater, J.M., Santiago, L.S., Merhaut, D.J., Jia, Z., Mauk, P.A., Preece, J.E. 2018. Orchard establishment, precocity, and eco-physiological traits of several pomegranate cultivars. Scientia Horticulturae. 235:221-227. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.02.032.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scienta.2018.02.032

Interpretive Summary: California faces many threats to food security, ranging from water limitations resulting from long-term drought to invasive pests and disease. Major tree crops, such as citrus and avocado, are threatened by Citrus Greening and Fusarium Dieback, respectively, posing significant economic threats to growers and farm sustainability. Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) was previously a minor tree crop in California, but has recently become an important specialty crop, with planted area increasing by tenfold in twenty years, and is currently a $200 million annual industry. Pomegranate is not threatened by any pest or disease and is a drought- and salt-tolerant crop that can be cultivated on marginal land, which makes it an attractive alternative crop for growers facing water and disease issues. For this investigation, two pomegranate field trials were initiated and followed over four years to evaluate phenotypes and to assist in determining appropriate cultivars for coastal versus inland climates. This investigation evaluated site effects on establishment, precocity, photosynthesis and water relations. Traits measured included orchard establishment, photosynthesis, water potential, and flowering and yield traits. There were significant site and cultivar effects on many traits as well as site-cultivar interactions. The coastal trial grew significantly faster than the semi-arid inland site, however, the inland site was more productive than the coastal site for the first three years. Production during year four of establishment was similar at both sites.

Technical Abstract: California faces many threats to food security, ranging from water limitations resulting from long-term drought to invasive pests and disease. Major tree crops, such as citrus and avocado, are threatened by Citrus Greening and Fusarium Dieback, respectively, posing significant economic threats to growers and farm sustainability. Pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) was previously a minor tree crop in California, but has recently become an important specialty crop, with planted area increasing by tenfold in twenty years, and is currently a $200 million annual industry. Pomegranate is not threatened by any pest or disease and is a drought- and salt-tolerant crop that can be cultivated on marginal land, which makes it an attractive alternative crop for growers facing water and disease issues. For this investigation, two pomegranate field trials were initiated and followed over four years to evaluate phenotypes and to assist in determining appropriate cultivars for coastal versus inland climates. This investigation evaluated site effects on establishment, precocity, photosynthesis and water relations. Traits measured included orchard establishment, photosynthesis, water potential, and flowering and yield traits. There were significant site and cultivar effects on many traits as well as site-cultivar interactions. The coastal trial grew significantly faster than the semi-arid inland site, however, the inland site was more productive than the coastal site for the first three years. Production during year four of establishment was similar at both sites.