Department of Horticulture, Chonbuk National University1
Institute Agricultural Science & Technology, Chonbuk National University2
Jangsu Agricultural Technique Center3
Department of Horticultural Science, Kyungpook National University4
This study was carried out to determine the effect of tree height on light transmission, spray penetration, tree growth performance, fruit quality attributes, and labor productivity in the slender-spindle system of ‘Hongro’/M.9 apple trees. With increasing tree height, the light penetration into the internal parts of the canopy decreased, especially in the lower canopy. Leaf area index (LAI) increased with increasing tree height, thereby leading to a reduction in the extent of spray penetration into the interior of the canopy. With increasing tree height, shoot growth was more vigorous but produced slender shoots in the upper canopy compared to the lower canopy. Although the soluble solid content and coloration of fruit decreased, there was no difference in fruit firmness and acidity. In addition, the number of final fruit set increased, although the production of large fruit (> 305 g) decreased. The increase in tree height also significantly increased the labor required for practices such as thinning of flowers and fruits, pruning, and harvesting. Nevertheless, this problem of increased in labor input in taller trees would was eased by use of a mechanical lift. Utilizing a lift for thinning the flowers of trees 4.5 m in height saved 14.6 min per tree, compared to the use of ladder. Therefore, it is highly considerable that in order to enhance light transmission and fruit coloration, light conditions should be improved in the internal tree canopy of slender-spindle systems.
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