Planting and crop management
币游注册Before planting rows should be ripped to improve aeration and drainage, nutrients and soil amendments incorporated, old roots removed and if required, the soil fumigated. The rows should be formed into beds if waterlogging is likely. When planning, factors such as row spacing and direction, light interception, operator safety, machinery use and management efficiencies need to be considered.
Cherries are self-sterile and will require cross-pollination by a tree of another compatible variety, therefore several varieties will have to be planted in the orchard.
币游注册Trees are planted in autumn, and produce their first crop after three to four years. Full maturity is reached in around seven years and the trees can remain productive for up to 100 years. The trees are planted either mechanically or by hand and then watered in well. Since the mid-1980s most Australian cherry orchards are planted densely, for efficiency and productivity.
The four main commercial planting systems in use are: bush systems, Tatura trellis, central leader and Lenswood tie-down. The different production systems have evolved to meet the various physical and financial constraints of Australia’s cherry producing areas.
币游注册A stable water supply across all seasons is crucial for a viable crop industry, as irregular water supply can result in a reduction of fruit yield and quality. Irrigation is considered necessary if annual rainfall is less than 600mm.
Fertiliser programs usually involve three applications per year for young trees, followed by twice a year for mature, fruit bearing trees — at bud-break and post-harvest. Fertiliser can be applied as solid product to the soil beneath the trees, or as liquid by fertigation through the irrigation system. Irrigation and fertiliser management are important ways of regulating tree vigour, therefore lower fertility soils are preferred for cherry production as nutrient uptake can be manipulated more efficiently .
币游注册Mulching of rows is of benefit where the soil is coarse, shallow or low in organic matter. The mulch moderates soil temperature, conserves moisture levels, reduces weed competition and improves nutrient availability. However, care must be taken not to introduce pests and diseases with mulches.
Almost all varieties of cherry are self-sterile therefore depend on cross pollination from other cherry varieties. The success of pollination and hence yield, is improved by the presence of pollinating insects. While good orchard management should strive to maintain natural populations of beneficial insects, many growers will engage the services of bee keepers to install bee hives in the orchard, to enhance pollination, as explained in .
币游注册Generally a summer pruning is carried out before or immediately after harvest to help shape young trees and encourage earlier cropping. Occasional (not annually) shortening of laterals and thinning out of spurs is carried out during the growing season. The main objective of training and pruning is to keep trees to a height and shape, so that fruit can be picked from the ground without the need of ladders.
Weeds, pests, and diseases
币游注册Australia has experienced relatively few serious cherry pest and disease problems.
币游注册Potential insect pests include mites, light brown apple moth, pear and cherry slugs, aphids, thrips, earwigs and weevils. Management and treatment methods for insects include regular monitoring; trapping and removal; use of chemical sprays, baits and oils; encouragement or introduction of natural predators; removal of host weeds; and planting windbreaks.
Vertebrate pests include rabbits, hares, wallabies and possums, which can be kept away from trees with netting fences, plastic tree guards or diversionary food sources. Alternatively they can be disposed of through trapping, poison or shooting.
Native and introduced birds are a major pest in the cherry industry. Control measures include gas guns, balloons and deterrent sprays, all of which must be used in rotation as the birds will become conditioned to just one approach. Depending on local and state government regulations, growers may be permitted to use firearms for scaring birds or for culling birds attacking the crop. A permit will be required for the culling of native species.
The key diseases causing losses in the Australian cherry industry are bacterial gummosis or canker (Pseudomonas syringae), brown rot (blossom and twig blight), leaf curl, and shothole.
The main treatment for bacterial infections is chemical control. Good orchard hygiene methods include pruning during mid-summer to early autumn when bacterial populations are at their lowest, good soil drainage, selection of tolerant varieties and regular monitoring. Destruction of any infected and removed tree material is important as it will act as an inoculum source.
币游注册Brown rot is treated with fungicides and should be regularly monitored. Removal of unwanted or infected fruit, and control of pests which can spread the infection, are key brown rot management methods.
币游注册Leaf curl and shot hole are treated and managed through regular spraying.