Causes of Alternate Bearing Cycles

  • Apr 10, 2013

Alternate bearing cycles result in on-crop harvests (large amount of fruit) followed by off-crop harvests (minimal amount of fruit). These alternate bearing cycles can be caused by a variety of factors.

Off crops can be caused by:

  • Climactic events — freezes, low or high temperatures
  • Water-deficit stress during bloom or fruit set (causes low flower numbers or excessive flower and/or fruit drop)
  • Under fertilization — causes excessive fruit/flower drop (abscission)
  • Over pruning — results in low flower or fruit numbers and excessive vegetative shoot growth                           

On crops can be caused by:

  • Excessive fruit set  
  • Excessive fruit retention

A variety of cultural management practices can be utilized in order to manage the alternate bearing cycles including pruning, irrigation, fertilization and grove monitoring.