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Sa Fruit Journal 2021 04 L Colour Comparison Forelle Pears
April / May 2021

Rooting for red colour

SA Fruit Journal: April / May 2021

How rootstock selection affects blush in pears

Blushed or red pears made up about a third of cartons of pears passed for export from SA in 2020. Blushed Forelle dominates this segment. It was the second most exported pear and represented a quarter of cartons exported in 2019. Blushed pears have the potential to command top dollar in the market – but only if they show the required intensity and extent of red colour development. By Anna Mouton

Red colour development in pears has not received as much scrutiny as in apples. It has been known for more than 50 years that apple trees on dwarfing rootstocks tend to produce redder fruit. More recent work has confirmed that this is also true for pears. Some scientists believe that the improved red colour is simply due to better light exposure in smaller trees. Others have pointed out that apples from trees on dwarfing rootstocks are redder regardless of their position in the canopy.

So do dwarfing rootstocks offer a colour benefit in blushed pears? Or does it just come down to light management? Read on to find out.

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