Agroclimatic Requirements of Traditional European Pear (Pyrus communis L.) Cultivars from Australia, Europe, and North America

Abstract

Flowering in temperate fruit trees depends on the temperatures during the previous months; chill is required to overcome endodormancy, and then heat exposure is needed. These agroclimatic requirements are cultivar-specific and determine their adaptability to the growing area and their response to climate change. We aim to estimate the agroclimatic requirements of 16 traditional cultivars of European pears grown in Zaragoza (Spain). We used Partial Least Squares regression analysis to relate 20-year records of flowering dates to the temperatures of the 8 previous months. This approach allowed us to establish the chilling and forcing periods, through which we quantified temperatures with three models for chill accumulation (Chilling Hours, Utah model, and Dynamic model) and one model for heat accumulation (Growing Degree Hours). The results indicated very little difference in the chilling and forcing periods. Chill requirements ranged from 43.9 to 49.2 Chill Portions; from 1027 to 1163 Chilling Units; and from 719 to 774 Chilling Hours. Heat requirements ranged from 6514 to 7509 Growing Degree Hours. Flowering dates were mainly determined by the temperatures during the chilling period. This means that reductions in winter chill caused by global warming in many regions could cause flowering delays or even failures in the fulfillment of chill requirements.Publishe

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