The effects of centrifugal pruning on fruiting structure production in Royal Gala apples
Proper sunlight distribution in the tree canopy during the fruit-bud initiation period could increase the number of fruits and the quality of fruit development in the following year. Through winter pruning, it is possible to remove all side structures developed at the center of the tree and on the undersides of the branches. In the following spring, this pruning method produces a tube-shaped area in the canopy center that improves the penetration and distribution of light from the central axis to the canopy periphery. This approach produces a better light level at the sites where fruit-bud initiation occurs. An experiment was performed on apples cv. Royal Gala grafted on EM 9 to quantify the benefits of centrifugal pruning for return bloom. The Royal Gala/EM9 combination shows a high production potential, and the trees produce a large quantity of fruit structures. The results obtained during two consecutive vegetative seasons showed the positive influence of this extinction practice, with higher numbers of fruit structures on the treated trees than on conventionally pruned trees.