In conclusion, our results shown that postharvest DI advances loquat bloom dates thru an effect on shoot growth and dormancy onset and release. Apical bud dormancy is briefly preceded by panicle initiation indicating that a large plastochron length (i.e. reduced meristem activity) is the switch that activates the flowering program in loquat. The advancement in harvest date in response to DI and the consumers' appreciation for early season loquats clearly demonstrate that the modification of reproductive phenology by means of the management of the agricultural water is profitable in this species. We also expect from these studies to bring some insight into the endogenous factors controlling flowering in other tree crops. The unusual phenology of loquat makes it a suitable model to explore the role of water stress, bud rest, and hormonal changes in the flowering of fruit crops, more economically important as apple and pear. A major difference with these closely related species is that loquat bud break follows summer rest and no fruits are present at this time. Although water deficit causes an early rest too in these temperate-zone tree crops (and the prolongation of the watering a delay that increases frost risks), the confounding effects of chilling requirements for bud break makes them less amenable for experimentation. Finally, a model for flowering promotion under DI is proposed and the environmental and endogenous factors leading to flower induction in loquat discussed.
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