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The relationship between yield and assimilate supply in lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.)

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Hieke, S., Menzel, C. M., Doogan, V.J. and Lüdders, P. (2002) The relationship between yield and assimilate supply in lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.). The Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 77 (3). pp. 326-332. ISSN 1462-0316

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1080/14620316.2002.11511501


Experiments were conducted on lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) in subtropical Australia (lat. 27° –29°S) to evaluate the role of assimilates on fruit retention. All the leaves of the last flush, all the leaves of the previous flush (about eight leaves per terminal shoot), or all the old leaves were removed from trees. Medium (3–5.cm diameter) or large branches (5–10.cm diameter) were girdled and defoliated after fruit set, and fruit retention compared with ungirdled and undefoliated branches. Other branches were girdled and defoliated between anthesis and fruit harvest. Finally, 20, 50 or 80% of the flowering panicles were defruited on large trees. Defoliated trees had 35 to 45% lower yields than the controls. This was despite the treatment with all the old leaves removed having a much lower leaf area index than the other defoliation treatments (1.7 vs. 2.3 and 2.8). Leaves next to the inflorescences are more important for yield than the older leaves. Fruit retention was very low on girdled branches that had been defoliated, especially when the leaves were removed in the first 20.d after anthesis. This suggests that the yields of girdled branches were determined by the availability of assimilates soon after fruit set. In contrast, the number of fruit retained on ungirdled branches was unrelated to the number of leaves, with defoliation having no effect on yield. Fruit on these branches were supported by resources from elsewhere in the tree. Thinned trees had similar yields to those of unthinned plots (65–82.kg tree–1). Thinning apparently increased fruit retention in the remaining clusters, under a higher leaf:fruit ratio. There were large differences in the concentrations of starch in the tree, and seasonal changes, with starch declining from flowering to fruit harvest. In contrast, there were only small responses to the treatments, suggesting that the fruit were mainly dependent on current photosynthesis. Photosynthesis in the leaves behind the fruit clusters was more important than photosynthesis in the older shaded leaves.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Plant culture > Fruit and fruit culture > Culture of individual fruits or types of fruit > Stonefruit
Plant culture > Horticulture. Horticultural crops
Live Archive:16 Jan 2024 23:26
Last Modified:16 Jan 2024 23:26

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