Phenological models for implementing management practices in rain-fed avocado orchards1

<div><p>ABSTRACT Only a few phenological models have been formulated for rain-fed avocados in warm subhumid environments, and none of them have suggested crop management strategies for improving the trees performance in such conditions. The occurrence and intensity of major phenological events were assessed in 'Hass' and 'Margarida' avocado trees, in order to properly schedule the main crop practices for optimum management of rain-fed orchards in warm subhumid growing environments. Shoot growth, root density, number of open flowers, fruit set and fruit dropping rate were evaluated. For both cultivars, two shoot flushes were observed in September-October (spring) and January-February (summer), while a maximum feeder root growth took place in late August, coinciding with flowering. Two other minor root growth flushes occurred after the onset of summer rains. Both cultivars had only one flowering period, followed by an intense fruitlet dropping. A second minor fruit dropping wave occurred in February (mid-summer), for both cultivars. By determining the extent of each phenological phase in both avocado cultivars, it is possible to schedule applications of fertilizer, mulch and soil amendments, during the root growth flushes, as well as foliar sprays during shoot flushes, in order to maintain an adequate nutritional and sanitary status.</p></div>