Forced production of custard apples (Annona cherimola Mill.) by defoliation and pruning of shoots.

Bruno Razeto M.1 y Evelyn Díaz de Valdés I.

Five-year-old Cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) trees of the Concha Lisa variety located in a protected site at Hijuelas, Vth Region, Chile, were totally defoliated and pruned in early August 1997. During December, 25 flowers per tree were hand pollinated. In mid-December tips were eliminated on all shoots, which were left 10-buds long. As well, 20 flowerless shoots per tree were headed back to four-buds length; the last two of which were defoliated. These leafless shoots rapidly developed flowers and buds with one or two flowers each. Forty-five of these flowers per tree were hand-pollinated during February 1998. The first flowering gave rise to an average of 16 fruit per tree, which were harvested on July 17 and August 26, 1998. The second flowering produced 32 fruit per tree; these fruit were smoother and more symmetrical than the former, and were harvested on November 3 and 24, 1998. In neighboring, non-defoliated trees, whose shoots were not headed back, only the normal spring cropping was obtained. These results enable us to envision the possibility of better utilizing the productive potential of this species and lengthening the harvest period considerably.

Keywords: shoot tipping, flowering, fruit yield.
1 Universidad de Chile, Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Casilla 1004, Santiago, Chile.