Studying Parameters Affecting Accumulation of Chilling Units Required for Olive Winter Flower Induction

Chaim Engelen, Tahel Wechsler, Ortal Bakhshian, Ilan Smoly, Idan Flaks, Tamar Friedlander, Giora Ben-Ari, Alon Samach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1714
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 2023

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  • Olea europaea
  • flowering


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