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Cherries: Botany, Production and Uses

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Sweet and sour cherries (Prunus avium and Prunus cerasus) are important fruit crops for which demand is high and growing. A significant number of new varieties, rootstocks and training systems have been released or developed in recent years in order to improve the efficiency and profitability of cherry orchards. Cherries: Botany, Production and Usesæcovers the genetics, ecophysiology, production, protection and uses of cherries. Presenting up-to-date scientific data and applied information, this book is invaluable for researchers, teachers and all professionals working in the cherries value chain.

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19 Chapters

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1: Cherry Production



Cherry Production

Géza Bujdosó1* and Károly Hrotkó2

National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre Fruitculture Research

Institute, Budapest, Hungary; 2Szent István University, Faculty of Horticultural

Science, Budapest, Hungary


1.1 Introduction

Sweet (Prunus avium L.) and sour (syn. tart,

Prunus cerasus L.) cherry ripen first among stone fruits, followed by apricot, peach and plum. Because sweet cherry is first on the fresh market, it is in high demand in the late spring and early summer. Sweet cherry cultivars with a red fruit colour dominate the market, while cultivars of yellow, white or blush colour are in less demand. Sour cherries have smaller fruit size and are less firm than sweet cherries. The vast majority of sour cherries are processed; however, sour cherries with higher sugar content are becoming more common on the fresh fruit market in recent decades.

Sweet cherry cultivars span a longer maturity period than sour cherries. In temperate zones of the northern hemisphere, sweet cherry cultivars mature from the end of April (in southern growing regions) to


2: Flowering, Fruit Set and Development



Flowering, Fruit Set and Development

Maria Herrero,1* Javier Rodrigo2 and Ana Wünsch2

Estación Experimental Aula Dei, CSIC, Zaragoza, Spain; 2Unidad de

Hortofruticultura, Centro de Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de

Aragón, Instituto Agroalimentario de Aragón – IA2 (CITA-Universidad de Zaragoza), Zaragoza, Spain


2.1 Introduction

Cherry trees are a paradigm of how flower biology influences the final crop. While some

8 weeks elapse from flower to mature fruit, the crop load is established very early after flowering, within approximately 4  weeks, although preharvest fruit abscission (‘June drop’) can modify the apparent crop load in some years. Differences between growing and non-growing flowers are determined as early as 1 week after pollination, a time that is concomitant with fertilization (Hedhly et al.,

2007). What occurs during this short bloom time, along with the prebloom stages of flower development, are critical to understand fruit set.


3: Biodiversity, Germplasm Resources and Breeding Methods



Biodiversity, Germplasm Resources and Breeding Methods

Amy Iezzoni,1* Ana Wünsch,2 Monika Höfer,3 Daniela Giovannini,4

Martin Jensen,5 Jose Quero-García,6 Jose Antonio Campoy,6 Aleš

Vokurka7 and Teresa Barreneche6


Michigan State University, Michigan, USA; 2Unidad de Hortofruticultura, Centro de

Investigación y Tecnología Agroalimentaria de Aragón, Instituto Agroalimentario de

Aragón – IA2 (CITA-Universidad de Zaragoza), Zaragoza, Spain; 3Julius Kühn-Institute,

Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit

Crops, Dresden, Germany; 4CREA-FRF Council for Agricultural Research and

Economics, Fruit Tree Unit of Forlì,Forlì,Italy; 5Institut for Fødevarer/Department of

Food Science, Aarhus University, Årslev,Denmark; 6UMR 1332 Biologie du

Fruit et Pathologie, INRA et Université de Bordeaux, Villenave d’Ornon, France;


Department for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Faculty of Agriculture,


4: Sweet Cherry Varieties and Improvement



Sweet Cherry Varieties and Improvement

José Quero-García,1* Mirko Schuster,2 Gregorio López-Ortega3 and Gérard Charlot4


UMR 1332 Biologie du Fruit et Pathologie, INRA et Université de

Bordeaux, Villenave d’Ornon, France; 2Julius Kühn-Institut, Federal Research

Centre for Cultivated Plants, Institute for Breeding Research on Fruit Crops,

Dresden, Germany; 3Murcia Institute of Agri-Food Research and Development

(IMIDA), Murcia, Spain; 4CTIFL, Bellegarde, France

4.1  History of Improvement

Today, hundreds of sweet cherry cultivars are available for growers. A large diversity of landraces are preserved and many have been used for production at a local level or more recently in modern breeding programmes.

Sweet cherry is in general a diploid species

(2n = 2x = 16), and only in a very few cases have triploids or tetraploids been reported

(Fogle, 1975, cited by Bargioni, 1996). The observation of one triploid individual resulting from a natural cross between one haploid and one diploid gamete might also be due to an incorrect chromosome count. As for tetraploids, they are only the result of artificial polyploidization (M. Schuster, Dresden, Germany, 2016, personal communication).


5: Sour Cherry Varieties and Improvement



Sour Cherry Varieties and Improvement

Mirko Schuster,1* Janos Apostol,2 Amy Iezzoni,3 Martin Jensen4 and Dragan ­Milatović5


Julius Kühn-Institut, Dresden, Germany; 2NARIC Fruitculture Research Institute,

Budapest, Hungary; 3Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA;


Aarhus University, Årslev, Denmark; 5University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

5.1  History of Improvement

The variability in tree morphology and fruit characteristics is very high in sour cherry, especially in germplasm from the native

­regions in Eastern Europe and Asia Minor

(Faust and Surányi, 1997). In these regions, sour cherry is not reproductively isolated from its progenitor species, and this continual gene flow has contributed to this high level of diversity. For example, sour cherry individuals with more sweet cherry- or ground cherry-like traits occur and probably represent individuals that have resulted from a ‘backcross’ to one of the two progenitor species (Hillig and Iezzoni, 1988). From this rich genetic diversity, human selection has resulted in the ­ proliferation of many local landraces. For e­xample, local landraces were selected in Hungary (‘Pándy’


6: Rootstocks and Improvement



Rootstocks and Improvement

Károly Hrotkó1* and Elz˙bieta Rozpara2

Faculty of Horticultural Science, Szent István University, Budapest, Hungary;


Research Institute of Horticulture, Skierniewice, Poland


6.1 Introduction

Rootstocks for cherries are chosen from among taxa showing appropriate graft compatibility. Considering this criteria, Prunus avium, Prunus cerasus, Prunus mahaleb and Prunus fruticosa, as well as their hybrids and some related taxa, can be used as rootstocks.

Further factors that influence rootstock use are the diverse pedoclimatic conditions in the different sites. Rootstocks remain important tools for extending the site adaptability of sweet and sour cherry cultivars, and also allow growers to plant cherries in suboptimal sites. Although modern sweet cherry orchard systems, the so-called ‘pedestrian orchards’, require dwarfing and precocious rootstocks, the rootstocks used in sweet and sour cherry orchards are still diverse. The training system and rootstock must be considered together, and matched properly with the vigour of the soil fertility and climate of the orchard site. Growers of intensive orchards, producing hand-picked cherries for fresh market, prefer dwarfing rootstocks, which allow planting densities of up to 1000–5000 trees ha–1 (Robinson,


7: Rain-Induced Cracking of Sweet Cherries



Rain-Induced Cracking of Sweet Cherries

Moritz Knoche* and Andreas Winkler

Institute for Horticultural Production Systems, Leibniz-University

Hannover, Hannover, Germany

7.1 Introduction

Rain-induced cracking is probably the most serious limitation to sweet cherry production in almost all regions where this high-value crop is grown. Cracking occurs during or after rainfall and usually shortly before harvest.

Cracking may result in complete crop failure.

As a general rule, if the canopy contains above about 25% cracked fruit, the harvest becomes uneconomic (Looney, 1985). This is due to the high labour cost associated with eliminating the cracked fruit, both during picking (in the orchard) and also during subsequent grading (in the packhouse). Furthermore, after rainfall, even the uncracked fruit has much decreased storage quality, despite its macroscopically intact surface.

This is because surface wetness also causes the formation of numerous microscopic cracks or microcracks in the cuticle, which bypass its barrier function and result in any, or several, of the following: increased incidence of fruit rot (Børve et al., 2000), increased water uptake during rainfall (Knoche and


8: Climatic Limiting Factors: Temperature



Climatic Limiting Factors: Temperature

Bénédicte Wenden,1* José Antonio Campoy,1 Martin Jensen2 and Gregorio



UMR 1332 Biologie du Fruit et Pathologie, INRA et Université de Bordeaux,

Villenave d’Ornon, France; 2Department of Food Science, Aarhus

University, Aarslev, Denmark; 3Murcia Institute of Agri-Food Research and

Development (IMIDA), Murcia, Spain

8.1 Introduction

Survival and production of woody and perennial plants in temperate and boreal zones depend on precise timing of growth and rest periods in synchrony with seasonal changes in temperature (Olsen, 2010). In cherry trees, several stages of growth are subject to strict temperature control or are at risk from temperature extremes, including dormancy, flowering and fruit development. In order to survive the freezing temperatures of winter, cherry trees and other perennials have developed adaptive mechanisms that include cessation of meristem activity and bud set and an acquired tolerance to cold. In most woody plants in temperate climates, these processes are induced by decreasing photoperiod and temperature, which leads to a greater tolerance to cold and leaf fall (Allona et al., 2008). In spring and summer, warm and hot temperatures can also affect flower and fruit quality.


9: Environmental Limiting Factors for Cherry Production



Environmental Limiting Factors for Cherry Production

G.H. Neilsen,* D. Neilsen and T. Forge

Summerland Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and

AgriFood Canada, Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

9.1 Introduction

Cherry production, especially of sweet

­cherries, has increased worldwide in the past

20 years as a consequence of increased consumer demand for fresh market products.

This has stimulated a demand for improved understanding of environmental limitations affecting cherry as production has expanded to regions and soils not previously planted to cherry. At the same time, growers have begun to experiment with high-density plantings on dwarfing rootstocks following economic strategies pioneered previously for apple orchards. It is anticipated that higher and earlier yields per unit area will alter

­nutrient and water-management strategies if economically desirable maximum fruit size is to be achieved.

Despite increases in production area, cherry remains a specialty fruit crop with considerably less research conducted than for other deciduous fruit crops such as apple and peach. Thus, earlier reviews of the ­nutrient (Westwood and Wann, 1966) and water (Hanson and Proebsting, 1996) requirements of cherry have acknowledged the ­necessity to adapt research from other tree fruits while summarizing cherry-­specific


10: Site Preparation and Orchard Infrastructure



Site Preparation and Orchard


K.S. Koumanov1* and L.E. Long2

Fruitgrowing Institute, Agricultural Academy, Plovdiv, Bulgaria;


Oregon State University Extension, The Dalles, Oregon, USA


10.1 Introduction

Both establishment and management of a cherry orchard require significant investments, much of which will occur before planting the first tree. Proper planning and preparation are critical to success. Orchards should be productive for 20 years or more; therefore, initial poor decisions can have long-term negative effects on profit potential. There is a wide spectrum of issues that have to be analysed carefully to make good preplant decisions, such as site selection and preparation, pollenizers and pollinators, tree support, drainage and irrigation, soil mineral fertility and organic matter, and weed management.

10.2  Site Selection

One of the most important decisions an orchardist makes is site selection. Soil and water quality, potential for winter damage and spring frost, pressure for disease infection and rain cracking are all determined by orchard location. A poorly chosen site may reduce production or fruit quality, or increase the cost of disease control.


11: Orchard Microclimate Modification


11  Orchard Microclimate Modification

Michael M. Blanke,1* Gregory A. Lang2 and Mekjell Meland3

INRES Horticultural Science, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany; 2Department of

Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA; 3Norwegian

Institute of Bioeconomy Research – NIBIO Ullensvang, Lofthus, Norway


11.1  Microclimates in Cherry

­ roduction and Climate Change


Microclimates comprise spatial variations in light, temperature, wind and humidity, which determine the extent to which cherry can be grown in a particular environment. Geological features such as bodies of water or mountain ranges modify regional climates in ways that enhance or limit the production of cherries, which are among the earliest flowering fruit tree species in spring and among the most sensitive to rain with respect to fruit disorders and diseases. Cherry cultivars have originated from a wide range of temperate climates and exhibit a subsequently wide growing potential – second only to apple – ranging in Europe from the moderate Mediterranean climates of


12: Morphology, Cropping Physiology and Canopy Training


12 Morphology, Cropping Physiology and Canopy Training

Marlene Ayala1* and Gregory A. Lang2

Pontificia Universidad Católica, Santiago, Chile; 2Michigan State University,

East Lansing, Michigan, USA


12.1 Introduction

The most significant development in cherry production during the past 20 years is the commercial availability of precocious, highly productive rootstocks that impart a range of levels of vigour control. These have impacted reproductive morphology in terms of temporal and positional development of flower buds (Maguylo et al., 2004), as well as canopy physiology in terms of altering source–sink relations and root–shoot physiology with respect to acquisition of water and nutrients. For example, Olmstead et al.

(2004, 2006) found that vessel diameter in the graft union of dwarfing rootstocks tended to be smaller than in more vigorous rootstocks. This suggests that water transport capacity might be limiting on a diurnal basis and therefore trees on dwarfing rootstocks may be subjected to transient daily water stress with potentially reduced photosynthesis and nutrient uptake, thereby reducing growth, as has been reported in peach (Basile et  al., 2003; Tombesi et  al., 2010). Indeed,


13: Invertebrate and Vertebrate Pests: Biology and Management



Invertebrate and Vertebrate Pests:

Biology and Management

Nikolaos T. Papadopoulos,1* Sławomir A. Lux,2 Kirsten Köppler3 and Tim Beliën4


University of Thessaly, Volos, Greece; 2inSilico-IPM, Konstancin-Jeziorna,

Poland; 3Center for Agricultural Technology Augustenberg (LTZ),

Karlsruhe Germany; 4Proefcentrum Fruitteelt VZW, Sint-Truiden, Belgium

13.1 Introduction

Sour and sweet cherry trees co-evolved with a complex of associated indigenous organisms, such as insects, mites, birds and mammals.

Many of them thrive in the contemporary cherry-­production regions and environments, and some attain the status of a pest of economic concern. Although mammal (rodent) and avian pests may cause significant damage, the most notorious belong to a wide variety of insect families such as Tephritidae, Drosoph­ ilidae, Torticidae, Sessiidae, Cecidomyidae,

Diaspididae, Coccidae, Aphididae, Tenthredinidae, Tingidae, Curculionidae, Cerambycidae, Scarabaeidae, Scolytidae, and Buprestidae


15: Bacterial Diseases



Bacterial Diseases

Joanna Puławska,1* Michael Gétaz,2 Monika Kałuz˙na,1 Nemanja Kuzmanović,3

Aleksa Obradović,3 Joël F. Pothier,2 Michela Ruinelli,2 Donato Boscia,4

Maria Saponari,4 Anita Végh5 and László Palkovics5


Research Institute of Horticulture, Skierniewice, Poland; 2Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Natural Resource Sciences, Wädenswil,

Switzerland; 3University of Belgrade – Faculty of Agriculture, Belgrade, Serbia;


CNR – Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection, Bari, Italy; 5Szent István University,

Faculty of Horticultural Science, Department of Plant Pathology, Budapest, Hungary

15.1 Introduction

15.2  Crown Gall

Bacterial diseases are very often the major limitation in the production of cherries. Yield losses reaching 50% and tree death resulting from established pathogens are common under certain climatic conditions. The two major bacterial diseases that are spread in all cherry cultivation regions are crown gall and bacterial canker. The occurrence of other bacterial diseases on cherries is less common, but the observed symptoms and the severity suggest that they could also cause serious problems in cherry production in the future.


16: Viruses, Viroids, Phytoplasmas and Genetic Disorders of Cherry



Viruses, Viroids, Phytoplasmas and Genetic Disorders of Cherry

Delano James,1* Mirosława Cies´lin´ska,2 Vicente Pallás,3 Ricardo Flores,3 Thierry

Candresse4 and Wilhelm Jelkmann5


Sidney Laboratory – Centre for Plant Health, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, North

Saanich, British Columbia, Canada; 2Research Institute of Horticulture, Skierniewice,

Poland; 3Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular de Plantas (UPV-CSIC), Universidad

Politécnica de Valencia, Valencia, Spain; 4Equipe de Virologie, UMR 1332 Biologie du

Fruit et Pathologie, INRA et Université de Bordeaux, Villenave d’Ornon Cedex, France;


Julius Kuhn Institute, Institute for Plant Protection in Fruit Crops and Viticulture,

Dossenheim, Germany

16.1 Introduction

Cherries are infected by a range of viruses, viroids and phytoplasmas. Some of these cause severe diseases, having a significant impact on commercial cherry production.

Viruses such as prune dwarf virus (PDV) and


17: Fruit Chemistry, Nutritional Benefits and Social Aspects of Cherries



Fruit Chemistry, Nutritional Benefits and Social Aspects of Cherries

Manuel Joaquín Serradilla,1 Milica Fotiric´ Akšic´, 2 George A. Manganaris,3

Sezai Ercisli,4 David González-Gómez5 and Daniel Valero6


Scientific and Technological Research Centre of Extremadura (CICYTEX), Junta de

Extremadura, Badajoz, Spain; 2Faculty of Agriculture, University of Belgrade, Belgrade,

Zemun, Serbia; 3Cyprus University of Technology, Lemesos, Cyprus; 4Agricultural

Faculty, Ataturk University, Erzurum, Turkey; 5Teacher Training College, University of

Extremadura, Cáceres, Spain; 6EPSO, University Miguel Hernández, Alicante, Spain

17.1 Introduction

Cherry nutritional composition, phytochemical content and antioxidant capacity should be considered on a cultivar/genotype basis since many new cultivars that enter into the market through the breeding programmes

(Sansavini and Lugli, 2008) have apparent differences for both qualitative and phytochemical antioxidants contents (Ballistreri et al., 2013; Goulas et al., 2015). The breeding programmes have led to the release of numerous cultivars, where the main attributes considered were bearing habits, ripening period, fruit size and yield, increased fertility, reduced susceptibility to environmental damage and diseases, extension of seasonality, especially for early-ripening genotypes, and resistance to cracking. However, to the best of our knowledge, phytochemical status and nutritional properties are not being evaluated through the breeding programmes.


18: Fruit Harvest Methods and Technologies



Fruit Harvest Methods and Technologies

M.D. Whiting1* and R.L. Perry2

Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center, Washington State University,

Prosser, Washington, USA; 2Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA


18.1 Introduction

Harvest is a time of heightened anxiety for cherry growers, as their livelihood depends upon successful collection and delivery of a highly perishable fruit within a matter of days. Sweet and sour cherries are susceptible to various types of damage during harvest and handling. In addition, sweet cherry harvest is an extraordinarily labour-intensive operation, requiring large crews to collect fruit at optimum maturity and during a short harvest window. Long-standing practices for harvest of fresh market sweet cherries (Looney et al., 1996) and mechanical harvest of both sweet and sour cherries for processing (Brown and Kollár, 1996) are still common in most cherry production regions. However, given the strong fresh market demand for sweet cherries, significantly increased production in many countries over the past 20 years, increasing costs and decreasing availability of harvest labour, and concerns for labour safety, there is renewed interest in alternative technologies to improve harvest efficiency and labour safety. Similarly, the need for alternative mechanical harvest technologies that can facilitate higher harvest efficiencies, earlier


19: Postharvest Biology and Handling for Fresh Markets



Postharvest Biology and Handling for Fresh Markets

Juan Pablo Zoffoli,1* Peter Toivonen2 and Yan Wang3

Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; 2Summerland

Research and Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,

Summerland, British Columbia, Canada; 3Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Oregon State University, Oregon, USA


19.1 Introduction

Sweet cherry is an edible drupe that can be classified according to the physical or pomological characteristics of the fruit. The Bigarreau and Duroni groups (Italy) include cultivars with firm flesh, while the Guigne

(France), Gean (England) and Tenerine groups

(Italy) include soft and tender flesh. Only

Bigarreau cherries are firm enough for commercial use, being better able to withstand the rigours of harvest, postharvest handling and long-distance transport. Fruit have either dark- or light-coloured flesh. Dark cherries are red to reddish-purple or mahogany in colour, whereas light cherries (so-called white) are yellow, usually with a pink to red partial blush on the yellow skin. Fruit vary in shape from round to oval to heart-shaped, and their pedicels vary in length from 2 to 8 cm


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