Causes of Alternate Bearing Cycles
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.