With global warming, mean winter temperatures are predicted to increase. Therefore, understanding how warmer winters will affect the levels of olive flower induction is essential for predicting the future sustainability of olive oil production under different climactic scenarios. Here, we studied the effect of fruit load, forced drought in winter, and different winter temperature regimes on olive flower induction using several cultivars. We show the necessity of studying trees with no previous fruit load as well as provide evidence that soil water content during winter does not significantly affect the expression of an FT-encoding gene in leaves and the subsequent rate of flower induction. We collected yearly flowering data for 5 cultivars for 9 to 11 winters, altogether 48 data sets. Analyzing hourly temperatures from these winters, we made initial attempts to provide an efficient method to calculate accumulated chill units that are then correlated with the level of flower induction in olives. While the new models tested here appear to predict the positive contribution of cold temperatures, they lack in accurately predicting the reduction in cold units caused by warm temperatures occurring during winter.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The research was funded by the Chief Scientist Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel (grant No. 12-02-0002 to A.S and G.B-A and grant No 20-01-0020 to G.B-A., A.S and T.F.) and the UoI-HUJI Joint Research and Innovation Seed Grants Program (T.F.).
© 2023 by the authors.
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