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Chilean 'bonsai' cherry trees increase productivity

Staff Writer |
Chile, the world's leading exporter of cherries, has developed "bonsai" cherry trees that allow tool-less harvesting (ladders, stepladders), thus increasing productivity.

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A team of Chilean researchers (Faculty of Agronomy of the Universidad Católica de Chile) and American (University of Michigan) have developed techniques to reduce the size of cherry trees. Choice of grafts, varieties but also control of branches and trunk to reach the desired shape and height.

Several types of processes have given good results: inclination of 45 degrees, branches radiating from a central point, system with 2 fruit-bearing branches and inclination of the horizontal branches.

Named V-Trellis, this last process gave the best performances, with cherries of excellent caliber.

To generalize this process the only problem would be the investment because the plants remain quite expensive. But these innovations could have an important economic impact.

This "pedestrian" system allows a 30% increase in the volumes harvested per hour compared to traditional orchards.

Currently an orchard of cherry trees produces 35,000 dollars of profit per hectare per year, the cherry tree "bonsai" could strengthen the leadership of Chile in the exports of this fruit.

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