Variable fall temperature and moisture conditions may alter leaf senescence of deciduous fruit trees, influencing carbon assimilation before dormancy and phenology the following spring. This study explored gas exchange of young peach trees (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch) when senescence proceeded normally or was delayed during the fall under two soil moisture treatments: Well-irrigated trees or water deficit. Results showed leaf carbon assimilation was similar between the senescence treatments, but whole tree assimilation was estimated to be greater in delayed senescence trees compared to normal senescence trees based on timing of defoliation and total leaf area. The effect of soil moisture on carbon assimilation was not consistent between years. Delayed sap flow and bloom time resulted as a consequence of delayed senescence the previous fall, but soil moisture did not affect spring phenology.
Lawrence, B.T.; Melgar, J.C. Variable Fall Climate Conditions on Carbon Assimilation and Spring Phenology of Young Peach Trees. Plants 2020, 9, 1353.