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Is Cracking in Fruits Inevitable? Key Techniques and Aspects of Orchard and Vineyard Management for Successful Fruit Cracking Prevention

Fruit cracking poses as a lasting, recurring cause of yield loss for orchard and vineyard owners. Different studies cite an average between 30-40% of yield losses for various crops, ranging from cherries, table grapes, pomegranates, pears, peaches, etc., and are variable depending on the crop, season and orchard management practices. Up to this date, no unique solutions have been proposed, but are rather tailor-made for each and every individual crop, orchard, climate and sometimes, even, season. CrackSense aims to develop unique set of sensing tools and to provide means for well informed, data-driven decision making for a wide range of fruit production value chain stakeholders. So far, there are multiple aspects to consider for orchard maintenance, and some of them are described below.

Adequate Irrigation: Proper irrigation is crucial for fruit cracking prevention. Inconsistent or excessive watering can cause rapid changes in fruit moisture levels, leading to cracking. To maintain an optimal moisture balance, it is essential to monitor soil moisture levels regularly and adjust irrigation accordingly. Drip irrigation systems or micro-sprinklers are particularly useful in delivering water directly to the root zone, minimizing fluctuations in moisture content.

Mulching: Applying mulch around the base of fruit trees or vineyard plants offers several benefits, including fruit cracking prevention. Mulch acts as a protective layer, reducing soil moisture evaporation and maintaining a more stable environment around the plants. This helps to prevent extreme fluctuations in soil moisture and minimizes the risk of fruit cracking.

Nutrient Management: Proper nutrient management plays a crucial role in fruit development and preventing cracking. Imbalances in nutrient availability can lead to irregular growth patterns, making fruits more prone to cracking. Conducting regular soil tests and implementing a balanced fertilization program based on the specific nutrient requirements of your orchard or vineyard will help ensure healthy fruit development.


Canopy Management: Prudent canopy management is essential for controlling the amount of sunlight and water reaching the fruits. A dense canopy can obstruct sunlight penetration and increase humidity levels, making fruits more susceptible to cracking. Pruning techniques such as thinning out excess foliage, proper spacing of branches, and training systems can improve air circulation and light exposure, reducing the risk of fruit cracking.

Harvest Timing: Harvesting fruits at the appropriate time can minimize the risk of cracking. Waiting until the fruits are fully ripe before harvesting ensures that they have reached their maximum size and have developed a thicker skin, making them less prone to cracking. However, the harvest timing is highly dependent on the plant and variety genetics, weather and other environmental factors, as well as commercial factors which may influence decision-making on harvesting.

Disease and Pest Management: Fruits that are compromised by diseases or pests are more likely to crack. Implementing a comprehensive disease and pest management program is essential to maintain healthy fruit. Regular scouting, timely application of appropriate pesticides or biological control agents, and proper sanitation practices help prevent fruit damage and minimize the risk of cracking.

Preventing fruit cracking requires a holistic approach to orchard and vineyard management. Orchards and vineyards are unique ecosystems influenced by various factors, including crop varieties, climate conditions, and orchard management practices. By implementing strategies such as proper irrigation, mulching, nutrient management, canopy management, weather monitoring, appropriate harvest timing, and effective disease and pest control, significant reduction of the fruit cracking incidence can be achieved. Recognizing the diverse nature of fruit production, CrackSense will address the need for tailored strategies to combat fruit cracking.