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The sectorial material transport disorders induced by cutting back were first detected some two decades ago (Brunner, 1976; 1990; Brunner et al., 1996). The pruning of oblique scaffold branches to an upper bud causes one-sided drying up and material transport disorders on the lower side of the branch, leading to the formation of close to horizontal shoots on the lower side of the scaffold branch without any tendency for the branch to become bare, and with a considerable reduction in manual labour requirements. This is the essence of this novel pruning method having a bending effect.

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The physiologically-based pruning methods elaborated by the authors were found to increase intensity in various ways, including early fruiting, improved yield and quality, and a reduction in the height of the cropping area, allowing at least 80% of the fruit to be picked from the ground. Compared with the Lespinasse control, crowns with a valve-like central leader on a sectorial spindle gave a surplus yield of 8.5 t/ha/year over the average of 3 years, including an increase of 2.3 t/ha/year in the yield of extra quality and grade I fruit.

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