Skip to main content
Completed project

Rootstock and training system to optimise stone fruit bearing and growth (SF13001)

Key research provider: The Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Publication date: Thursday, December 13, 2018

What was it all about?

Using the Stonefruit Field Laboratory established in sister project Increased stone fruit profitability by consistently meeting market expectations (SF12003), this investment addressed issues related to the very early years of tree establishment and development until full production.

It generated knowledge on how rootstocks and tree training systems – and their interaction with crop load – affect the physiology of trees and fruit development, with a particular focus on fruit size, composition and performance, and on reserves as wood starch content.

With avenues of investigation varied, comprehensive information and resources from the project (and from SF12003) can be found on the Profitable Stonefruit Research website at

In short, results showed that a higher crop load reduced shoot growth, quantity of pruning wood and fruit size, and generally delayed fruit maturity. It did not affect wood starch reserves in any of the canopy systems or rootstocks investigated.

Some of the key recommendations from the project included:

  • For newly planted orchards, removing most or all of the fruit in the first year is a way to increase starch accumulation in trees and improved tree uniformity

  • Cropping levels should be adjusted by thinning to one fruit per 12 to 15cm of fruiting lateral when fruit are less than 15mm diameter, to maximise returns

  • Fruit maturity should be monitored to identify optimal harvest timing

  • In cases where tree canopies have uneven light distribution, fruit maturity needs to be assessed in different canopy positions.

The project extended its findings through a series of orchard walks, workshops and industry roadshow events, as well as fact sheets, industry magazine articles, and videos.


Visit the Profitable Stonefruit Research website here to explore the project’s work, findings and recommendations. It includes a range of instructional videos, including how-tos on summer pruning, using DA-meters and the IAD index and more.

Related levy funds

978 0 7341 4472 0

Funding statement:
This project was a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Summerfruit Fund

Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2018. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).