Evaluation of Super High Density Planting of Stone Fruits Cultivars at TADCO, Tabuk, Saudi Arabia
Due to the increasing cost of fruit production in traditional agriculture (400-500 trees/Ha) and in order to raise the productivity per unit area, the global horticulture businesses had gone towards intensive farming adapting high density and later Super High-density planting (1000-1660 trees/ha). As per the strategic plan of Tabuk Agriculture Development Co. (TADCO), a field trial was conducted in 2009 and 2010 on six plums cultivars, three apricots cultivars, three round type shape and two flat type shape nectarines cultivars; and one flat type peaches cultivar. Most of these stone fruit cultivars originated from South Africa, three apricots cultivars from France and one plums cultivar from USA.
Field observations of the research unit on the trial during the period 2010 to 2013 had shown vigorous trees growth, high yield and high quality of some cultivars under the influence of the selected rootstocks, good soil preparation with the deep ripping and reclamation of the soil after the addition of gypsum and sulfuric acid before planting. It had been noted that the selected rootstocks for the stone fruits cultivars were suitable in the calcareous alkaline salty soil except Mariana rootstock as we observed loss of the cultivars budded on this rootstock: 40% of Black Splendor plum, and 16% of Alba plum cultivar. All the rootstocks encouraged vigorous trees growth and did not reduce the size of the trees of the different cultivars to fit the intensive super high density planting system with the central leading system in plums, peaches and nectarines or the open center system (Vas shape) in apricots.
The obtained results shown two plums cultivars Black Splendor, Pioneer and two nectarines cultivars Crimson Blaze, Royal Gem were suitable for Tabuk area. None of the tested apricots cultivars were suitable to this area.
Ibrahim Naser*, Eng’r Tewfik Al-Hamad and Eng’r Emiliano Olbinado