Project 2020: Optimizing Sweet Cherry Orchard Design & Efficiency

PROJECT LEADER: GREGORY A. LANG

Published on: August 16

Year 4 (2017) of a Seven-Year Duration Project (2014-2020):

This project tracks the NC140 Canopy Training Systems x Rootstocks research trial (planted in 2010, scheduled for completion in 2019) and the multi-trial Competitive Orchards Project 2020 research-extension demonstration orchards (planted in 2016 and 2017) that integrate the most productive and efficient cherry canopy training systems with rootstocks that impart different vigor levels plus some orchard covering structures with differences in key attributes (protective benefits, establishment costs, and automation potential). The 2010 trial was subdivided in 2012 to put 60% of the trees under an automated retractable roof covering structure (Cravo) and 40% of the trees under a passively-vented fixed row-by-row rain covering structure (Voen).

The relative vigor levels of the NC140 trees have been stable from Year 1 onwards and thus are simply summarized here: across all canopy architectures, trees on Gisela 3 are least vigorous and on Gisela 6 are most vigorous. Across all rootstocks, trees trained to the KGB canopy architecture are most vigorous, followed by the TSA trees, UFO trees, and significantly less vigorous are the SSA trees, which have the greatest root competition from close spacing (2.5 ft vs. 5 ft).

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