Have you ever wondered as you bite into a crispy apple who developed the different varieties or how it actually got to your grocer’s? There are many steps involved in creating that perfect apple, which brings us to the importance of pomology. What is pomology? Pomology is the study of fruit and much, much more.
What is Pomology?
Pomology is the study of fruit, specifically the science of growing fruit and nuts. Pomology was officially introduced in the United States with the inception of a pomology division of the USDA in 1886.
Importance of Pomology in Horticulture
Pomology is an important science. Fruit trees are not easy to grow and require specific information on how to cultivate depending upon the variety and cultivar. Some of this information has been passed down and some has been improved upon over time by the work of pomologists.
What Does a Pomologist do?
One of the major duties of a pomologist is developing new cultivars. New and improved fruit and nut varieties are constantly being manipulated to improve things such as disease resistance.
Pomologists also study fertilization and pruning methods to identify those that are most effective at keeping the trees healthy and productive. Along the same lines, they study pests, infections, diseases, and adverse weather conditions that might affect yields.
A pomologist doesn’t actually drive the produce to the supermarket, but they are essential in determining how to harvest and transport fruit and nuts, often developing special crates to transport produce without injury. They also observe and record shelf life and storage conditions to determine what will keep the product fresh longest post-harvest.
As a pomologist studies the growing conditions of different fruit and nut trees, they are also watering, pruning, and transplanting crops. At the same time during their studies, pomologists are looking for new ways to grow more sustainable crops that have less of an impact on the environment.
The importance of pomology in horticulture can’t be stressed enough. Without these studies, there would likely be very little variety, let alone quantity of fruits and nuts available.