Optimizing new thinning strategies with a mathematical model to increase yields and control biennial bearing of Honeycrisp apple trees
The recently introduced variety, Honeycrisp, is well-suited to the Annapolis region. Already planted in over 350 acres, Honeycrisp sells for four times the price of other apples. Unfortunately this variety has a major flaw - a tendency to biennial bearing through a strong tendency of producing only spurs and no substantial shoot growth. We need to understand this negative growth habit and develop innovative fruit management techniques to stabilize and increase yield. Variability in yield from year to year is a major risk factor for Nova Scotia fruit growers which could be mitigated by improved management techniques. The information and understanding gained will be used to refine the mathematical model (Pellerin, Buszard and Iron, 2009) and design experiments for 2011. With all these data, we will create a new model which will enable us to predict what percentage of thinning is required to regulate yield and growth on spur-bound Honeycrisp apple trees.