Self-compatible varieties

Self compatible varieties do not require other varieties to pollinate, which allows setting up monovarietal orchards. Before planting my first orchard, I tried to choose the right ones. I found much advertisement on new varieties in specialized webpages. From the 1970s on, research institutes in France and Spain have obtained varieties which bloom late and are self-compatible, which are supposed to be the key features to stand the severe conditions at bloom in central Spain. What they do not say much is that this kind of varieties already existed in Puglia, South East Italy.Origin

High demand made me impossible to buy nursery trees of new protected varieties, which turn out to be good luck. I have been able to find self-compatible varieties which have been grown for decades, so their productivity has been tested in real fields. Almond growing in La Mancha is quite new, so I have no expertise on their behavior. In any case I describe the useful information that I have read on this three self-compatible varieties:

Filippo Cea is a traditional Italian variety. It is named after its breeder, who was an almond producer. It was already grown in Italy during the 1880s. It seems to be resistant to fungal diseases and to be very productive. The only negative comment that I have read is that it produces many double kernels. It seems to be very appreciated because of its flavour and fat content for producing traditional pastries. There is an Italian association founded by Filippo Cea descendants that promotes it (http://assfamigliafilippocea.altervista.org/).

Third leaf Lauranne
Third leaf Lauranne

Lauranne was obtained by a French institute of agricultural research (INRA). It was a cross-breed selection of Tuono (another self-compatible Italian variety) and Ferragnes. Its Plant Breeder Right ended in 2007, surrendered by its holder. This variety has been successfully grown in Spain for years. According to the data provided by a Valencia based centre of agricultural research, this variety blooms late, is suitable for dry land and the quality of the fruit is good. It is resilient to fungal diseases. Lauranne has been used during the last decades by Spanish institutes to cross-breed new varieties.

According to their respective chilling hours and heat requirements, and taking into account the climatic data of La Mancha region of the last four years, their respective blossom times lag 14 and 21 days that of Marcona, the hoary example of Spanish variety. If Marcona bloomed in February, 14, Filippo Cea would bloom in March 1 and Lauranne in March, 8. In 2017, Lauranne was at full Bloom by March, 25.

I was lucky enough to find nursery trees of Lauranne for the orchard that I set up in 2013. I have observed its resistance to fungal diseases. Young trees are easy to prune and train. 3 years on, they have grown well. I have been able to find nursery trees of Filippo Cea for 2016 planting. Time will tell if these varieties yield well under the dry and harsh conditions of La Mancha.

lauranne2016_33
Lauranne 2016. 33% Yield (kernel/fruit with shell ratio). 20% double kernels
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