The Effect of Weed Competition on Apple Fruit Quality
Orchard performance is influenced by weed competition. In this study, the effects of weed competition on nutrient contents, chemical and physical fruit quality properties were sought. The study was carried out in a high-density apple orchard (‘Golden Delicious’/M.9) over two consecutive growing seasons. The effect of weed competition was studied at three different levels: weak, moderate and strong. Fruit firmness, soluble solids content, macronutrients (such as nitrogen, potassium and calcium) and potassium+magnesium/calcium ratio in fruit were significantly affected by weed competition. Strong weed competition negatively affected soluble solids content and potassium+magnesium/calcium ratio. In both trial years, soluble solids content was significantly higher in weak weed competition. In the first year of the study, soluble solids content ranged between 13.77±0.06% (strong weed competition) and 15.20±0.10% (weak weed competition). In the following year, soluble solids content values were determined as 13.13±0.23% in strong weed competition and 13.83±0.21% in weak weed competition. Weak weed competition showed superiority for fruit weight and potassium+magnesium/calcium ratio. As a whole, this study indicates that insufficient weed control in tree rows might be a limiting factor for fruit quality in high-density apple orchards.
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