A comprehensive overview of the spatial and temporal variability of apple bud dormancy release and blooming phenology in Western Europe

Legave, J. M.; Blanke, M.; Christen, D.; Giovannini, D.; Mathieu, V.; Oger, R.

Int J Biometeorol

2013-03 / vol 57 / pages 317-31


In the current context of global warming, an analysis is required of spatially-extensive and long-term blooming data in fruit trees to make up for insufficient information on regional-scale blooming changes and determinisms that are key to the phenological adaptation of these species. We therefore analysed blooming dates over long periods at climate-contrasted sites in Western Europe, focusing mainly on the Golden Delicious apple that is grown worldwide. On average, blooming advances were more pronounced in northern continental (10 days) than in western oceanic (6-7 days) regions, while the shortest advance was found on the Mediterranean coastline. Temporal trends toward blooming phase shortenings were also observed in continental regions. These regional differences in temporal variability across Western Europe resulted in a decrease in spatial variability, i.e. shorter time intervals between blooming dates in contrasted regions (8-10-day decrease for full bloom between Mediterranean and continental regions). Fitted sequential models were used to reproduce phenological changes. Marked trends toward shorter simulated durations of forcing period (bud growth from dormancy release to blooming) and high positive correlations between these durations and observed blooming dates support the notion that blooming advances and shortenings are mainly due to faster satisfaction of the heating requirement. However, trends toward later dormancy releases were also noted in oceanic and Mediterranean regions. This could tend toward blooming delays and explain the shorter advances in these regions despite similar or greater warming. The regional differences in simulated chilling and forcing periods were consistent with the regional differences in temperature increases.

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1432-1254 (Electronic) 0020-7128 (Linking)

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