Higher densities trial
Research aim: To assess the impact of dwarfing rootstocks and planting density on the establishment of new almond varieties in a 2-dimensional tree shape/fruiting space and the distribution of fruiting sites.
Video: Dr Michael Treeby - Introduction to research looking at High density nut trees
A strategic aim of the industry is to move toward shake-and-catch harvesting, driven by the need to avoid some of the weather-related nut quality issues that have dogged the industry in the past. The shake-and-catch engineering solution will be much simpler if the fruiting space is 2-dimensional (i.e. a more-or-less a thin hedge) as compared to the 3-dimensional fruiting space currently used. The industry standard varieties and the newer varieties being made available to industry, were selected for their suitability for the current way orchards are planted (i.e. “H1”). The vigour and growth habit that made them suitable for H1 planting densities do not necessarily make them suitable for a production system geared toward shake-and-catch harvesting. These varieties differ marginally in their growth habit, and it is possible that one or more of these varieties will be more suited to a closer spaced hedged row production system than other varieties.
The outcomes sought are rootstock/scion combinations better suited to the 2-dimensional fruiting space concept, and, perhaps more importantly, a clearer understanding of what tree growth habit (i.e. architecture) might be preferable.
This project (RnD4Profit-15-02-011 ‘Advanced production systems for temperate nut crops’) is supported by Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit programme and Agriculture Victoria (Victorian Government), the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI), the Almond Board of Australia (ABA), and New South Wales Department of Primary Industries.