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Winter drought stress can delay flowering, prevent fruit loss in orange crops
Date:9/20/2010

and normal irrigation (rain and no cover). Covers were removed in February or March and normal irrigation and fertilization were resumed.

The drought stress did not affect fruit yield, size, percentage juice, or juice quality of the current crop harvested in May and June relative to continuously irrigated trees. Drought stress delayed flowering by 2 to 4 weeks so that the immature fruit for next season's crop were smaller than on continuously irrigated trees during June, but fruit growth caught up by September. During mechanical harvesting, previously drought-stressed trees lost fewer young fruit than continuously irrigated trees.

"The results showed that winter drought stress effectively delayed flowering and avoided young fruit loss during late-season mechanical harvesting without negative impacts on yield or fruit quality", Melgar noted.

The researchers observed that rain-excluding covers were used as an experimental tool, but that the covers may not be a viable commercial option for growers. They added that natural cover crops may help in inducing drought stress, but are yet to be tested as a management tool.


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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science
Source:Eurekalert  

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