Water Stress On Cherries
Water. When it comes to growing tree fruit like cherries, there are two camps. A lot of water and not so much. Nadia Valverdi has been researching the issue over the last two years on the role near harvest irrigation plays on key fruit quality traits.
VALVERDI: So what we did basically was cut it off, the water, right before harvest like 20 days. The furthest that we go was 24 days before harvest and we wanted to see if it would have any effect on fruit quality.
Last years drought really brought this idea to light and Valverdi says they did two tests, one near Pasco and one near Brewster with two different soil types.
VALVERDI: In Pasco it was a Chelan cultivar which is an early and we picked really sandy soil spot on the orchard.
She found that keeping water from the cherries before harvest caused the trees roots to reach down deeper for water but it didn’t have any effect on fruit quality or cracking.
VALVERDI: In contrast with the Brewster orchard, it was a Lapin cultivar and they have a loamy, sandy soil that holds the water for longer times.
Those cherries showed an increase in the brix or sugars making them sweeter. So holding back on irrigation right before harvest not only saves water but will either have no effect or an increase in fruit quality with not appreciable cracking.
That’s today’s Fruit Grower Report. I’m Greg Martin on the Ag Information Network of the West.