Growth and Yield Response of Commercial Bearing-age ‘Casselman’ Plum Trees to Various Ozone Partial Pressures
- W. A. Retzlaff,
- L. E. Williams * and
- T. M. DeJong
Nursery stock of plum (Prunus salicina Lindel., cv. Casselman) was planted 1 Apr. 1988 in an experimental orchard at the Univ. of California Kearney Agricultural Center near Fresno, CA. Trees in this study were enclosed in open-top fumigation chambers on 1 May 1989, and exposed to three atmospheric ozone partial pressures (charcoal filtered air, ambient air, and ambient air + ozone) during the 1989 through 1992 growing seasons (typically 1 Apr.–1 Nov.). A nonchamber treatment plot was used to assess chamber effects on tree performance. This study details the results of the exposures during the initial commercial bearing period (1991 through 1993) in this orchard. The mean 12-h (0800–2000 h Pacific Daylight Time [PDT]) ozone partial pressures during the experimental periods in the charcoal filtered, ambient, ambient + ozone, and nonchamber treatments averaged 0.031, 0.048, 0.091, and 0.056 µPa Pa−1 in 1991 and 1992, respectively. Fruit number per tree decreased as atmospheric ozone partial pressure increased from the charcoal filtered to ambient + ozone treatment, significantly affecting yield. Yield of plum trees averaged 23.6, 19.8, 13.7, and 17.9 kg tree−1 in 1991 and 1992 in the charcoal filtered, ambient, ambient + ozone, and nonchamber treatments, respectively. Only one out of the five original treatment plots was exposed to ozone treatments during the 1993 growing season. Yield of plum trees in this single replicate in 1993 was reduced by increased atmospheric ozone partial pressure. Yield of plum trees in the four remaining unexposed treatment plots in 1993 was 16.7, 17.9, and 16.0 kg tree−1 in the previous charcoal filtered, ambient, and ambient + ozone treatments, respectively. The similarity in yield of the post-chamber treatments indicates that a change in air quality in the current growing season can affect yield of Casselman plum trees.
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