Thinning and pruning are expensive cultural practices in peach cultivation, but essential to obtain adequate production. This study evaluated the effects of combining two pruning (four and six scaffold branches) and three thinning (low, medium, and high crop load) levels on yield and fruit quality of four different flat peach cultivars, trained as Catalonian vase in 2017–2018 in Italy. Productive (average fruit weight, plant total production, and fruit circumference), qualitative (fruit firmness and overcolor, Soluble Solids Content, and Titratable Acidity), and nutritional (Total Antioxidant Capacity, and Total Phenol Content) parameters were evaluated. For productive parameters, a high crop load level led to a decrease in fruit weight and circumference, while a high crop load resulted in higher plant yield. Regarding the qualitative parameters, fruit SSC significantly increased with the diminution of the crop load level in both years of study, while TA was not influenced by crop load and number of branches. Both the total antioxidant capacity and the polyphenol content decreased with an increase in branches number. The findings derived from this study will help growers to select the most suitable combination among genotypes and plant management, to obtain the desired productive or qualitative goals.
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