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Aims: The apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.), is a drought-sensitive deciduous fruit. This concept arises from the fact that soil moisture stress can: Decrease the number and quality of flower buds differentiated; delay the time of flower differentiation and decrease the number of flower buds per shoot. The objectives of this investigation were to determine: The extent to which drought influences water status in the leaves; its effect on flower buds development and on bloom in apricot cv. “Royal”.
Study Design: Trees were divided into 6 groups of six replicate each under a random block design. Results were analyzed using the statistical program 'RStudio' for Windows version 10 and data obtained subjected to a comparison of means with the Tukey (P≤0.05) test.
Place and Duration of Study: The experiment was conducted at the Department of Horticulture in Universidad Autónoma Agraria Antonio Narro, Saltillo, Mexico, during 2018-2019.
Methodology: Seven-year-old apricot trees growing in containers were subjected to a 4 to 5week period of water stress at different times during the growing season. Leaf water potential was periodically measured and flower bud development was followed from early differentiation up to full bloom.
Results: Leaf water potential in water stressed trees was constantly low. Water stress early in the season induced a delay in bud development during late summer and fall. Water stress late in the season did not appreciably affect the rate of bud development. Full bloom was delayed when water stress was applied in late summer and fall. Water stress at flower bud initiation and differentiation, together with high temperatures, may have induced flowers with double pistils. Water stress from April through October did not induce flower drop.
Conclusion: Soil water stress severely affect leaf water potential; delays flower bud development and may induce flowers with double pistils without flower drop.
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