Pg. 23-31 How can tree starch reserves help us to better understand our trees?

Like in all woody plants, carbohydrates are also important in the growth of litchi trees. Starch concentrations of main branches of Mauritius litchi trees were determined as part of an orchard management program to increase yield and fruit size. Starch content varied from year to year and within a year, reflecting alternate bearing and tree phenology. Vegetative growth in autumn, flower panicle development and rapid fruit growth resulted in a decrease of starch reserves, whereas rest phases, such as the period prior to flower panicle development and periods between vegetative flushing, caused starch reserves to increase again. Starch concentrations after harvest and during flower induction were found to be positively correlated with yield of the following season. The period between harvest and flower induction is a very important period where orchard management can influence starch concentrations and therefore help the trees to increase their capacity to flower.

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