Vegetative and Reproductive Characteristics of 'Golden Delicious' Apple Trees as a Basis for Tree Modeling
Adequate knowledge of vegetative and reproductive characteristics of fruit trees provides the opportunity for managing them more efficiently. Vegetative traits of fruit trees includes various kinds of shoots and leaves that form the skeleton and green canopy. The reproductive proportion of fruit trees is initially comprised of flowers and later in season, fruits. The ultimate goal of all management practices, such as pruning and training, is keeping a balance between vegetative and reproductive proportions, which leads to well-established, good shaped trees with profitable yield. In order to achieve desirable, productive fruit trees, the balance between vegetative and reproductive components needed to be understood. In the majority of previous studies of vegetative or reproductive components of fruit trees, mean values of descriptive parameters have typically been reported. However a more detailed understanding of vegetative and reproductive tree components requires knowledge of frequency distributions of parameters, rather than mean values only. Descriptive results of vegetative and reproductive traits can be utilized in computer-based models. Functional- structural plant models (FSPMs) refers to simulating the development of plant structure considering plant physiology, genetics, environmental factors and management interventions with the objective of capturing the plant structure (3D shape) and function. Combining knowledge from fields such as plant biology, computer science, and applied mathematics is required for the development of functional-structural plant models. Such models may allow us to test hypotheses and conduct virtual experiments much more quickly and efficiently than traditional field-based approaches. From a horticultural perspective, appropriate orchard design and efficient management practices can be investigated using this approach. Functional-structural modeling is also a useful approach to explore the integration of factors that influence growth and development and they are likely be useful as an educational tool for researchers, instructors, students and growers.
Hirst, Purdue University.
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