Morphophysiological plasticity of plagiotropic branches in response to change in the coffee plant spacing within rows

Cláudio Pagotto Ronchi, Wellington Luiz de Almeida, Daniela Silva Souza, José Márcio de Souza Júnior, Antonia Mirian Nogueira de Moura Guerra, Paulo Henrique Chaves Pimenta

Abstract


Changes in spacing within rows may alter the morphology of the coffee plant by affecting the physiological constituents of its productivity. Even though some common plant responses to crop spacing variation are known, there is yet no scientific evidence that elucidates the effects of decreased spacing on the sourcesink relation in plagiotropic branches and, its association with both productivity and eco-physiological aspects of coffee leaves, mainly for new coffee cultivars in the Brazilian savannah. The aim of this work was to characterize the morphophysiological responses of Coffea arabica L. cultivars subjected to different spacing between plants within rows. Four Arabica coffee cultivars (Catuaí Vermelho IAC 144, Catuaí Amarelo IAC 62, Catuaí Amarelo IAC 32, and Tupi RN IAC 1669-13) were transplanted in January 2010. A row spacing of 0.40, 0.50, 0.60, 0.70, and 0.80 m was adopted between plants, maintaining a 3.80-m constant between rows. A randomized block design with four replicates was applied. During the experimental period, several morphophysiological characteristics of plagiotropic fruiting branches were evaluated in the months of April and December in 2013 and, in April 2014. The evaluation was conducted based on two canopy positions; canopy toward the rows, representing low exposure to light or toward the inter-row spacing, representing high light exposure. Leaf gas exchange, chlorophyll fluorescence, and photosynthetic pigments levels were minimally or not at all affected by changing either the coffee cultivars or plant spacing. During the first evaluation, the leaf-to-fruitratio linearly increased, regardless of the cultivar. Light-exposed branches showed higher content of carotenoids and chlorophyll a in leaves and lower leaf-to-fruit-ratio as compared to those within the plant canopy. A major reduction in the number of fruits per branch was observed which was closely related to a parallel decrease in the number of fruits per node but not in the number of fruiting nodes per branch. Although this response was largely cultivar-dependent, it also changed according to the branch position in the hedgerow. Our results suggest that all tested cultivars exhibit high morphophysiological plasticity and have the potential to grow under different plant spacing within rows.

Keywords


Coffea arabica; Gas exchange; High-density planting; Leaf area; Source/sink relationship.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5433/1679-0359.2016v37n6p3819

Semina: Ciênc. Agrár.
Londrina - PR
E-ISSN 1679-0359
DOI: 10.5433/1679-0359
E-mail: semina.agrarias@uel.br
Este obra está licenciado com uma Licença Creative Commons Atribuição-NãoComercial 4.0 Internacional