With current climate change, unpredictable and severe weather systems, growing cherries under protection has become increasingly important, also to increase fruit size and quality. Good rain and insect protection is provided by innovative net-houses and screens manufactured by Arrigoni Agrotextiles & Techtextiles SpA. Rain, Drosophila Suzukii and other insects are the main threats to cherry cropping. PROTECTA® SYSTEM is the rain protection complemented by BIORETE® insect screens. This completely innovative rain protection system is installed row by row. It cuts the passage of water by up to 90% and reduces the need for pesticides and improves the microclimate. Picture courtesy of Arigoni.
A more sophisticated, more expensive system is represented by the Cravo retractable roof greenhouse that attemps to obtain the best of the outdoor and indoor climates for various crops. Greg Lang, Michegan State University, has undertaken trials with the Cravo retractable roof greenhouse. The small trees are protected from rain and the accumulation of soil moisture around the growing area, and from wind and hail. By providing optimum temperatures and sunlight exposure, leaf development and flowering are promoted.
Opening the roof panel/cladding can be adjusted to faciliate access to honeybees. Former research with multi-bay high tunnels found that by protecting cherry trees led to higher yields and larger fruit, encouring earlier flowering, eliminated cherry leaf spot, reduced bacterial canker and reduced damaged from Japanese beetles and other insects. Disadvantages concern reduced bee populations, temperatures too high during the ripening of the fruit and increased powdery mildew. Picture courtesy of Cravo Equipment Ltd.
Cravo greenhouses have been installed in Liguria and Rose Barni in Tuscany. Attempts to utilize different cladding materials to those specifically supplied can cause significant problems in proper functioning. See the main Hortcom theme ‘Pant Stress Dynamics’, Retractable Roof Greenhouses.