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Nature abhors a vacuum: Deciphering the vegetative reaction of the mango tree to pruning

Persello S., Grechi I., Boudon F., Normand F.. 2019. European Journal of Agronomy, 104 : p. 85-96.

Pruning is an important horticultural practice that generally promotes vegetative growth. However, the precise characterization of vegetative growth after pruning and of the factors affecting it are little known. The objective of this study was to decipher the vegetative response to pruning in a tropical evergreen species, the mango tree. Pruning was characterized by two factors: pruning intensity, defined at the tree scale as the amount of fresh biomass removed per unit volume of canopy, and pruning severity, defined at the axis scale as the distance between the pruning point and the distal end of the axis. Vegetative growth after pruning was broken down into structural (burst rate, vegetative growth intensity, leaf area produced) and temporal (burst date) variables, and the effects of pruning were evaluated on these variables at a local scale on pruned axes and at a distant scale on unpruned axes. Burst rate and leaf area produced increased with pruning intensity (pruned and unpruned axes), pruning severity (pruned axes), axis diameter (pruned and unpruned axes) and proximity to pruned axes (unpruned axes). Vegetative growth intensity increased with pruning severity (pruned axes) and axis diameter (pruned and unpruned axes) but was not affected by pruning intensity. For these three variables, local responses were more important than distant responses. The dynamics of vegetative growth was affected by pruning intensity and severity. Results depicted the complexity of mango tree response to pruning at different scales. As a general rule, more extensive pruning led to larger and more synchronous vegetative growth.

Mots-clés : pousse; surface foliaire; croissance; taille; mangifera indica; réunion

Thématique : Physiologie végétale : croissance et développement; Culture des plantes; Façons culturales

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