Warming winters due to climate change may critically affect temperate tree species. Insufficiently cold winters are thought to result in fewer viable flower buds and the subsequent development of fewer fruits or nuts, decreasing the yield of an orchard or fecundity of a species. The best existing approximation for a threshold of sufficient cold accumulation, the chilling requirement of a species or variety, has been quantified by manipulating or modeling the conditions that result in dormant bud breaking. However, the physiological processes that affect budbreak are not the same as those that determine yield. This study sought to test whether budbreak-based chilling thresholds can reasonably approximate the thresholds that affect yield, particularly regarding the potential impacts of climate change on temperate tree crop yields. County-wide yield records for almond (Prunus dulcis), pistachio (Pistacia vera), and walnut (Juglans regia) in the Central Valley of California were compared with 50 years of weather records. Bayesian nonparametric function estimation was used to model yield potentials at varying amounts of chill accumulation. In almonds, average yields occurred when chill accumulation was close to the budbreak-based chilling requirement. However, in the other two crops, pistachios and walnuts, the best previous estimate of the budbreak-based chilling requirements was 19-32 % higher than the chilling accumulations associated with average or above average yields. This research indicates that physiological processes beyond requirements for budbreak should be considered when estimating chill accumulation thresholds of yield decline and potential impacts of climate change.
- HEAT REQUIREMENTS
- ALMOND CULTIVARS
- Environmental Sciences
- Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences
[Pope, Katherine S.; Brown, Patrick H.; DeJong, Theodore M.] Univ Calif Davis, Dept Plant Sci, Davis, CA 95695 USA; [Dose, Volker] EURATOM, Max Planck Inst Plasmaphys, Garching, Germany; [Da Silva, David] INRA, UMR Plant Genet Improvement & Adapt AGAP 1334, F-34060 Montpellier, France
Pope, KS (reprint author), Univ Calif Davis, Dept Plant Sci, 70 Cottonwood St, Davis, CA 95695 USA.