Impact of irrigation during flowering and fruit growth on fruit yield and quality of the cactus Opuntia spp.

Mohamed ARBA, André FALISSE, Redouane CHOUKR-ALLAH, Marianne SINDIC


Most plantations of cactus pear are not irrigated in Morocco and fruits are tiny. The impacts of irrigation during flowering (FLO) and fruit growth (FRG) on fruit yield and quality were monitored along two years on three varieties of cactus pear. In 2011, irrigation treatments were: T1 (0 mm), T2 (30 mm during FLO and 30 mm during FRG) and T3 (30 mm during FRG only). In 2012, irrigation treatments increased to 60 mm during FLO and FRG. The irrigation treatments were applied in 8 (T3) or 16 (T2) watering, once every three days. Interactions between varieties and treatments were significant for fruit yields and for yield components. In 2011, T2 and T3 irrigations had a negative effect on ‘Aissa’ and ‘Moussa’ (-2.8 kg/plant) and T2 had a positive effect on ‘Achefri’ (+2.7 kg/plant). Fruit quality was not affected by irrigation. In 2012, all the varieties responded positively to irrigation: ‘Achefri’ and ‘Aissa’ yielded very significantly more with T3 (plus 63 % and 30 % resp.) and ‘Moussa’ with T2 (+30 %). All irrigations increased fruit number and size. Irrigation had no significant effect on the fruit quality or slightly decreased the content of total sugars and titratable acidity


cactus pear; fruit yield; fruit quality; irrigation; irrigation scheduling

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