Department of Horticulture, Daegu University1
Institute of Life and Environment, Daegu University2
Department of Horticultural Science, Kyungpook National University3
This study was conducted in three years (7-9 years after planting) to investigate vegetative growth, yield, fruit quality, and return bloom for optimum crop load based on different planting densities of adult ‘Fuji’/M.9 apple trees. As plant materials, ‘Fuji’/M.9 apple trees planted at 3.5 × 1.5 m (190 trees per 10 a), 3.5 × 1.2 m (238 trees per 10 a), and 3.2 × 1.2 m (260 trees per 10 a) spacing and trained as slender spindles were used. The crop load was assigned to five different object ranges as follows: 55-64, 65-74, 75-84, 85-94, and 95-104 fruit per tree. TCA increment, total shoot growth, return bloom, yield per tree, and yield efficiency tended to increase as planting density decreased, and fruit weight and soluble solid content tended to increase as the object range of crop load decreased. Fruit red color tended to increase as shoot growth decreased. For apple trees planted with 238 trees and 260 trees per 10a, biennial bearing occurred when the crop load was over 85-94 and 75-84 fruits, respectively. However, biennial bearing did not occur when the crop load was 95-104 fruits in apple trees planted with 190 trees per 10a. Accumulated yield tended to increase as planting density and crop load increased, but that of biennial bearing did not show such a difference. Based on our results, optimum crop load recommendations are to set 95-104 fruits per tree in ‘Fuji’/M.9 mature apple trees planted at 190 trees per 10a, 75-84 fruits per tree at 238 trees per 10a, and 65-74 fruits per tree at 260 trees per 10a.
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