Written by  Ian Goodwin, Lexie McClymont

Water vs pear crop (part 5)

The following are recommendations to park trees and minimise irrigation:

Remove water shoots (Continued from last issue)
Shoot growth will be strong at the start of the season if there is adequate soil moisture from winter and spring rainfall.
Summer pruning to remove water shoots will reduce transpiration, increase fruit initiation and remove a sink for dry weight accumulation.
• De-branching (mid-season) is a radical approach to reduce transpiring leaf area and is generally not recommended.
De-branching reduces tree size and water use, but part of the following season’s crop is removed.
If branch removal is undertaken it should be done mid-season rather than in winter to avoid high re-growth in late spring and early summer which draws on stored resources and depletes the pool of dry weight for next season’s crop.
Irrigation, water savings and avoiding excessive stress
In addition to the strategies outlined in this article, conversion to drip irrigation offers an opportunity to reduce water consumption.
Use of drip irrigation from planting does not adversely affect growth or yield of pear trees. Irrigation of a mature orchard converted to drip should be managed conservatively in the first season to allow trees to adjust to the new wetting pattern.
(cont next issue)

See this article in Tree Fruit May 2020