Physiology of trees

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Physiology of trees

References Introduction A quiet revolution is in progress in the Northeast apple industry. In the interests of efficiency, low-density orchards of large, old trees are being rapidly replaced by smaller trees at closer spacings.

Though opinions may differ as to the optimum tree size and spacing, all agree that smaller trees are an economic necessity. Accepted cultural practices for the large trees of the past are no longer appropriate, and significant adjustments must be made for tree size and spacing.

Training and pruning are conspicuous examples of practices that require major revision for adaptation to density plantings. The advantages of density plantings have been widely publicized. Many growers expected such plantings to be early bearing, high yielding, and virtually work-free, but disappointment has been all too common.

In a recent extensive survey of young plantings of varying density in Washington Axfordit was reported that the average yield of orchards years old had not increased in the past 17 years. There was no correlation between yield and rootstock, and density had only a minor impact on yield.

Detailed questionnaires revealed that the effect of certain cultural practices on yield had been greater than the effect of either rootstock or density.

The production potential was realized only in those high-density orchards where careful attention was devoted to cultural practices. The advantages of high-density plantings are real and significant. However, their full benefits will be reserved for those growers who conscientiously pursue an appropriate cultural program.

In the survey mentioned, one of the most important factors in early production was the training of the young trees.

Training and pruning are inseparable because they are companion practices in the young tree, and the training of the young tree determines, in large part, the type of pruning required by the mature tree. These two practices affect both the amount and type of growth, and errors in either can negate efforts in other areas of the cultural program.

Physiology of trees

Correct training and pruning are essential for early production, sustained high yields, optimum fruit quality, and efficient management. The recommendations that follow are intended for the Northeast only. In other areas, growing conditions, particularly temperature and sunlight, may be significantly different.

Such climatic differences influence both vigor and fruitfulness, and these are major considerations in the development of appropriate pruning programs. Therefore, these recommendations may be applicable to other areas only after some modification.

Objectives of Training and Pruning In the nonbearing years, some pruning will always be necessary, but the emphasis should be on training rather than pruning. Ideally, the growth of the young tree should be directed into branches that will be a permanent part of the mature tree, and an equal effort should be made to avoid superfluous growth that will be removed before it fruits.

Training practices should encourage early production and the development of a strong structural framework capable of supporting heavy crops in future years. The framework should facilitate the development and maintenance of optimum tree shape. The training program should also produce trees that will be easy to manage in later years.

In terms of future management, pruning is the cultural practice most affected by training. Much of the pruning of mature trees is merely the correction of earlier errors and omissions.

The amount and quality of fruit produced by an apple tree are determined by the relationship between vegetative and fruitful growth. The woody tissues of the tree compete with the fruits for the products of the leaves, and excessive vegetative growth is made at the expense of the fruits.

Moderate vegetative growth is necessary for a large, functional leaf surface and for the development of new bearing wood. Inadequate vegetative growth results in a loss of fruitfulness and a reduction in fruit size.

The relationship between vegetative and fruitful growth is influenced by many factors, such as fertilization, weather, and crop load, but pruning plays a major role. In essence, proper pruning removes unproductive wood, maintains optimum vigor in productive wood, and encourages the continuous development of new bearing wood to replace that removed by pruning.

Wood may be unproductive because the vigor is either too high or too low. Excessively vigorous wood may develop in response to over fertilization, severe pruning, or loss of crop.

Low vigor may be due to inadequate fertilization, insufficient or no pruning, excessive cropping, or shading. Productive wood quickly becomes unfruitful if heavily shaded.

The development of new bearing wood requires moderate, but not excessive, vigor and good light exposure. In listing the above factors, the recurring reference to light exposure or shading is highly significant.Basic Tree Physiology. Animal and Plant Cells.

Conversion of Energy. Photosynthesis Trees have growth characteristics adapted to soil types, water availability, and water needs of the tree species. Tree Physiology is a refereed journal distributed internationally.

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Physiology of trees

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