The effect of high tunnel microclimate on cherry fruit quality can never be overlooked. They surpass every challenge a grower may face, making every effort worthwhile. For instance, it enables growers to get the sweet cherries in the market earlier than their counterparts who grow them in an organic garden.
This gives them an upper hand and can ward off stiff competition, enabling the growers to sell the products at a higher price because sweet cherries are always in demand, but the supply can be inadequate.
Other effects of high tunnel microclimate on cherry fruit quality include; increased sugar content and reduced number of days from harvest to market.
This post will show you other effects of high tunnel microclimate on sweet cherry fruit quality.
The Impact of High Tunnel Microclimate on Cherry Fruit Quality
Sweet cherry growers are always aware that their product is susceptible to temperature and humidity. The microclimate created by high tunnels preserves them from the harsh climatic conditions that can reduce quality.
Other Impacts include:
- It helps to increase the size of the fruit because it prevents frosty weather from causing damage to flowers and leaves.
- You will produce profitable crops even during seasons when the weather is not favorable for growing fruits.
- Chery growers can control fungal diseases such as brown rot.
- Relieve you of the stress of contending with insect and mite pests.
- It enables organic sweet cherries production in regions where higher rainfall, pest infestation, and diseases make organic field production challenging.
Why Grow Sweet Cherries
Sweet cherries are one of the most popular fruits on the market. They are an excellent option for fresh consumption and as an ingredient in baking and other dishes. Sweet cherries, unlike sour cherries, can be grown in various climates. One way to grow sweet cherries is through high tunnel systems. You can grow sweet cherries in a high tunnel system and enjoy their delicious taste year-round with a few tips and tricks.
Netting Systems In High tunnel
You can cover the high tunnel system with a plastic sheet made of Polypropylene material. This is a material that is used to make nonwoven layers. It covers cherry fruits and defends against rain, frost, and wind.
The cover is maintained in place by a solid system of timber or metal poles and tensioned wires. It’s a long-term structure. You can hire contractors to do everything from design to construction.
The anticipated tree height, as well as the space necessary between the canopy and the net after trimming to allow for regrowth.
How To Grow Sweet Cherries in a High Tunnel System
The cherry can be cultivated in multiple-row tunnels or in greenhouse-like structures with retractable roofs that cover entire orchards. Consider if you want
- A system to protect the cherries from rain during ripening- a single advantage to production
- A system that protects against frost, encourages faster ripening, and hail increases the return on investment.
To grow sweet cherries in a high tunnel system, you will need to create a trellis and install it on the side of your tunnel. You can use wood or metal for the frame, depending on what is more appropriate for your situation.
Some people may not have enough room for a traditional trellis and opt for shorter options, like deer fencing or hog wire mesh. Once you have your frame in place, attach the cord to one end of the frame so that it can hang from one corner of your tunnel.
Next, plant a new seedling at each point where the cord touches the ground. Plant sweet cherry trees 8 inches apart and 6 inches away from each other on top of the thread. Like most plants, you want to water them frequently and make sure they get plenty of sunlight during their first year of growth. After their first year is over, remove any plants which are too close together so that they don’t compete with one another for space or nutrients as they grow older.
Sweet cherry trees are planted between 3-5 years old, with some cultivars needing up to 10 years before they start bearing fruit. Once this happens, be sure to thin out any undesired trees so that the desired ones have plenty of space and resources to thrive!
Tips for Caring for Sweet cherries in a High Tunnel System
Crop load and fruit size can be affected by tree shape and pruning regimes. Vase and bush systems are pruned more severely to achieve their unique shape. This promotes vegetative growth while discouraging flower buds. Central leader trees, spindles, and trellised systems promote early fruiting and development, but over-cropping is dangerous.
Small cherry fruits are unavoidable if trees are not properly pruned. You have to prune sweet cherry fruits regularly to produce larger fruits. It not only grows the best canopy possible, but it also thins prospective fruit buds to increase fruit size. The following pruning tips will assist you:
- Prune your cherry trees in late winter or early spring.
- Spurs four years old and older produce smaller fruit. Fruit size can be increased by renewing, pruning, and removing old spurs.
- Cut away any shaded wood on the inside of the cherry tree.
- Remove well-spurred branches that are two to three years old.
- Let your cherry tree’s branches grow outwards, never downwards.
Give Enough Light to the Cherries
A lack of light is highly harmful. A 10% to 14% reduction will lower fruit set and quality, particularly sugars and flavor. Ensure your sweet cherries are getting enough sunlight for maximum yields. Don’t plant your cherry trees near tall plants or trees that will block sun rays.
Keep Pest and Insect away from High Tunnel
The biggest challenge in your tunnel is avoiding the insect. It is necessary to use insect netting and support structures. Insect netting can be placed on the longitudinal sides when the sides are rolled up to prevent insects from entering.
When using nets or other exclusion tactics in your high tunnels, keep the following in mind:
- Concentrate on the insects that you have control over.
- Choose a net with the appropriate mesh size
- Natural enemies should be released
- Completely extend the fabric
Other Helpful Tips Include
- Maintain a healthy watering schedule and provide mulch.
- Plant your sweet cherry trees at the end of the fall or the beginning of the winter. It’s best to do this before the ground freezes so that you can easily water your plants.
- Harvest your sweet cherries when they are ripe, and make sure to pick them up regularly to keep the yield consistent.
How to Care for Sweet Cherries Growing in a High Tunnel System
Although high tunnels take a lot of concern in sweet cherry production, you have to play your part of the bargain and maintain it in the following ways;
First off, you have to water the tunnel regularly after planting the plants. Drip irrigation is the most highly recommended method to avoid excess water on the root, contributing to cracking.
- Unless you use temperature-sensitive timers and automatic retractors, you’ll be responsible for raising and lowering the side covers, and you have to do this twice a day. Also, you have to monitor the pests regularly to ward off an infestation since some pests reproduce rapidly and have no natural enemy to keep them in check.
- Because honeybees have difficulty navigating in high tunnels, high tunnel growers should provide alternative pollination either by hand or by procuring bumblebee colonies.
Growing sweet cherries in a high tunnel system is a great way to take advantage of the unique growing conditions to produce higher yields, better fruit quality, and improved disease control. You still have to monitor the pests regularly, water the tunnel, and offer a pollination alternative. Even so, the benefits that come with producing sweet cherries in a high tunnel system outweigh any challenges that may have to face.
We hope that the info provided here will help you streamline your sweet cherries production. If you need any help, contact us at Info@Eyouagro.com.We’ll be glad to help you.