Folia Horticulturae

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Quality and storability of ‘Gala’ apples as affected by crop load

Paweł Wójcik, Krzysztof Rutkowski, Waldemar Treder

Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture
Pomologiczna 18, 96-100 Skierniewice, Poland

The aim of the described experiment was to assess the quality of ‘Gala’ apple and storability as affected by crop load. The study was carried out during 1998-2000 on ‘Gala’ trees on P 60 rootstock planted in autumn 1992 at a spacing of 3.5×1.25 m on sandy loam soil. Hand-thinning of fruitlets was carried out annually after ‘June Drop’ to achieve 30, 60 or 90 fruitlets per tree. The results showed that the number of fruits on the tree had no effect on fruit maturity at harvest. Fruit from trees with the lowest fruit number were larger, richer in organic acids at harvest and after storage, and more colour but they contained less Ca and more K, and were more sensitive to bitter pit than those from lightly thinned trees. Only in one year were fruit from heavily thinned trees more liable to internal breakdown as compared with those from other plots. In one growing season, fruit from medium-thinned trees were similar in quality to those from heavily thinned trees. The data indicate that ‘Gala’ apple quality was determined not only by the number of fruits per tree but also by weather conditions. It is suggested that in high-density ‘Gala’ apple orchards (2000-2500 trees per ha), the optimum number of fruits per tree should range from 60 to 90. At lower fruit numbers tendency of fruit to bitter pit dramatically increases.

Wójcik P., Rutkowski K., Treder W., 2001. Quality and storability of ‘Gala’ apples as affected by crop load. Folia Horticulturae 13/2: 89-96.