QualiTree, a virtual fruit tree to study the management of fruit quality. II. Parameterisation for peach, analysis of growth-related processes and agronomic scenarios
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- Mirás-Avalos, J.M., Egea, G., Nicolás, E. et al. Trees (2011) 25: 785. doi:10.1007/s00468-011-0555-9
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In this paper, QualiTree, a fruit tree model designed to study the management of fruit quality, and developed and described in a companion paper (Lescourret et al. in Trees Struct Funct, 2010), was combined with a simple light-interception sub-model, and then parameterised and tested on peach in different situations. Simulation outputs displayed fairly good agreement with the observed data concerning mean fruit and vegetative growth. The variability over time of fruit and vegetative growth was well predicted. QualiTree was able to reproduce the observed response of trees to heterogeneous thinning treatments in terms of fruit growth. A sensitivity analysis showed that the average seasonal growth rates of the different organs were sensitive to changes to the values of their respective initial relative growth rates and that stem wood was the tree organ the most affected by a change in the initial relative growth rates of other organs. QualiTree was able to react to simulated scenarios that combined thinning and pest attacks. As expected, thinning intensity and the percentage damage caused by pests significantly affected fruit yield and quality traits at harvest. These simulations showed that QualiTree could be a useful tool to design innovative horticultural practices.