An intense survey of the Sicilian's olive growing areas for autochthonous germplasm, mainly represented by centennials olive trees (Olea europaea var. europaea L.) apparently older then III centuries, started at the beginning of the 1980s and resulted in the selection of more than 150 cultivars and accessions. This germplasm was propagated in a nursery, by grafting onto seedlings of Olea europaea L., and planted in an experimental orchard, in an olive district located in the South-west of the Island, where they were evaluated for over 30 years and selected for their early bearing, high and constant productivity, as well as high oil content of the fruits and excellent chemical (oleic acid and phenol content) and organoleptic profile of the oil. This paper reports data on the horticultural performances (production, vigor, crop efficiency and oil quality) of four cultivars (‘Kalat’, ‘Olivo di Mandanici’, ‘Abunara’ and ‘Minuta’), selected within the Sicilian's autochthonous germplasm trained as 'Free Palmetta' and tested in a hedgerow planting system at three different planting densities: 500, 666 and 1000 trees ha-1. The cultivar ‘Nocellara del Belice’, ‘Cerasuola, and ‘Biancolilla’, widely cultivated in the area where the trial was carried out, were used as references. The outstanding performance of the cultivar ‘Kalat’ at planting density of 1000 trees ha−1, suggests that this cultivar can be a promising choice for the super high density orchards (SHD). The other cultivars tested did not performed as ‘Kalat’ and seem not suitable for SHD planting system due to their high vigor. The hedgerow planting system tested, in the first 6 years of planting, increaseed productivity of all cultivars compared to traditional olive orchard typical of the area where the trial was conducted. This hedgerow olive orchard may represent a valid solution to increase orchard productivity and to reduce harvest costs by mechanization, depending on tree high, with straddle or side by side canopy contact machines. Achieve higher yield and reducing management costs using autochthonous, resilient cultivars, could be a new strategy to counteract climate changes. The unique organoleptic profiles of the oils obtained from the cultivars tested, could improve the offer of tasty, flavored and nutraceutical extra virgin olive oils in the international markets. Results highlight the importance of preserving and valorizing biodiversity to increase productivity and resiliency of agricultural systems, facing continuous, fast and deep social and environmental changes.
|Numero di pagine||9|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2019|
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