Covering hailed in cherry performance trials

This season's tough weather has emphasised the advantages of modern covered formats for cherries, according to East Malling estate manager Graham Caspell.

The Kent research station, backed by produce importer Univeg Katope UK, planted a 1ha site with a selection of cherry varieties, rootstocks, spacing and shaping regimes, enclosed by Quick Zip covers from Dutch supplier Hago FruitSafe, in 2010.

Caspell said the covering system has proved itself this year, not only in terms of the speed it can be erected or taken down.

"Given the dramatic variations in weather experienced over the past few years, protection systems are becoming increasingly important to cherry growers," he added.

"With 1,600 trees per hectare compared to a European standard of 1,000, we are pushing production boundaries." Results on the comparative performance are not expected until next year.


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