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Effects of boron fertilization on `Conference' pear tree vigor, nutrition, and fruit yield and storability

Abstract

The aim of the study was to examine the response of pear (Pyrus communis L.) trees to soil and foliar applications of boron (B). The experiment was carried out during 2000–2001 in a commercial orchard in Central Poland on mature `Conference' pear trees grafted on Pyrus communis var. caucasica seedlings planted at a spacing of 4 × 2.5 m on a sandy loam soil with a low hot water-extractable B status. Annually, foliar sprays with B were applied. (i) before full bloom (at green and white bud stage, and when 1–5% of flowers was at full bloom), (ii) after flowering (at petal fall, and 7 and 14 days after the end of flowering), or (iii) postharvest in fall (approximately 6 weeks before leaf fall). Spray treatments involved application of B at a rate of 0.2 kg ha−1 in spring or 0.8 kg ha−1 in fall. Additionally, other trees were supplied with soil-applied B at the bud break stage at a rate of 2 kg ha−1. Trees untreated with B served as the control. The results revealed that foliar applications of B before full bloom or after harvest increased fruit set and fruit yield. Tree vigor, mean fruit weight, firmness, soluble solids concentration and titratable acidity of fruits at harvest were not affected by B treatments. Foliar B sprays before full bloom or after harvest increased B concentrations in flowers, and both leaves and fruitlets at 40 days after flowering. Only the foliar treatments after flowering and soil fertilization with B increased the content of this microelement in fruit and leaves at 80 and 120 days after full bloom. Foliar B application before full bloom or after harvest increased calcium (Ca) in fruitlets at 40 days after full bloom, in fruit, and in leaves at 80 and 120 days after full bloom. Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and magnesium (Mg) in plant tissues were not affected by B fertilization. After storage, and also after the ripening period, fruits from the trees sprayed with B before full bloom or after harvest had higher firmness and titratable acidity than those from the control trees. After the ripening period, fruits from the trees sprayed with B before full bloom or after harvest had lower membrane permeability and were less sensitive to internal browning than the control fruits. These findings indicate that prebloom and postharvest B sprays are successful in increasing pear tree yielding and in improving fruit storability under the conditions of low B availability in the soil.

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Correspondence to Pawel Wojcik.

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Wojcik, P., Wojcik, M. Effects of boron fertilization on `Conference' pear tree vigor, nutrition, and fruit yield and storability. Plant and Soil 256, 413–421 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1026126724095

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  • boron fertilization
  • fruit storability
  • nutrition
  • pear trees
  • vigor
  • yielding