A Cravo retractable roof “X Frame” greenhouse was installed this past spring at Michigan State University, where trials are being done by cherry systems specialist Dr. Greg Lang on various styles of protective covers over cherries.
The goal of the trials under the retractable roof are to document and optimize the ability of the retractable roof to protect the crop from environmental risks, manipulate the timing of the harvests, and increase fruit size, quality, and yield.
The retractable roof is automatically controlled by a computer to manipulate and enhance the growing conditions throughout the year.
The retractable roof will be used:
• In the early spring to change temperatures to manipulate the flowering time and to help protect the flowers from frost or freeze.
• During flowering to create the best possible temperatures and humidity levels for pollination.
• To protect the trees from hail.
• During spring and summer to eliminate rain-disseminated diseases.
• During sunny and hot conditions, by automatically closing 85%, to help reduce losses due to sunburn and prevent a reduction in fruit size due to excessive transpiration.
• To protect fruit from rain prior to harvest.
• During harvest, to keep the fruit cooler to maximize water content helping to extend the shelf life.
• After harvest, to create optimum growing conditions to help trees prepare for the following growing season.
The results of this research will help create optimum crop and roof management protocols and will facilitate the creation of financial models which will allow growers to determine the impact on profit and return on investment.
For more information on Cravo, including a video on installation of the X Frame Greenhouse, go to www.cravo.com.