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Differential frost damages in flowers and fruits and selection criteria for frost tolerance in almond

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Authors: O. Kodad, R. Socias i Company
Issue: 101-4 (349-363)
Topic: Plant Production
Keywords: Prunus amygdalus, Breeding, Blooming time, Frost resistance, Bloom density

The effect of frosts during the month of March of 2003 and 2004 on two groups of almond selections of different blooming time has been studied. The first group of selections was of medium blooming time and suffered heavier damages from the frosts than the selections of the second group, of very late blooming time. However, within each group there was a large variability for the damages in flowers or small fruits, showing the existence of significant differences in the intrinsic resistance of each genotype to frost. Differences between the two years were also observed in spite that the negative temperatures during the frost were similar, showing a relevant year effect on the response to the frost, probably due to the general physiological status of the plants. Selections with a high bloom density had a higher fruit set and, thus, a higher crop level. As a result, a high bloom density may compensate at some level the damages produced by frosts and shows its importance as a selection criterion in an almond breeding programme.

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