Research interests of our group are aimed at enhancing the understanding of the physiological processing influencing tree growth, flowering, and fruit productivity. Studies focus on the performance and management of new cultivars and their suitability in Ontario. New germplasm that displays resistance to pests and disease are beneficial to reduce our reliance on agrochemicals and pesticide residues. Studies also focus on utilizing dwarfing Malus and Prunus rootstocks and their influence on precocity, cropping efficiency, fruit quality, tree vigour, and the performance of various cultivar/rootstock combinations in intensive orchard production systems.
Research on advanced horticultural technologies including new central leader and spindle training systems, advanced surface and sub-surface drip irrigation and organic mulching systems, and plant bio-regulators as gibberellins, ethylene biosynthesis promoters and inhibitors to regulate flowering and fruiting to minimize hand thinning, and prohexidione-calcium to reduce vegetative growth, are being actively pursued. Lastly, soil management studies to evaluate the benefits of agricultural and industrial soil amendments on tree establishment, cropping, ag-sustainability, and plant nutrition studies focusing on the improvement of fruit quality and yield while minimizing environmental degradation are also an integral part of this project.
Overall, our research endeavours are devoted to helping Ontario tree fruit growers produce premium quality fruit consistently, competitively and profitably, using sustainable agricultural practices.