PALMETTE-LEADER (PL) AND CENTRAL-LEADER (CL) TREE-FORM EFFECTS ON LIGHT DISTRIBUTION, PRODUCTIVITY AND FRUIT QUALITY OF `McINTOSH' APPLE TREES

in HortScience

Mature `Macspur McIntosh'/MM.106 trees trained to the CL tree form were converted to the PL tree form in 1987 by removal of east- and west-oriented upper scaffold limbs. Control trees were pruned to maintain the CL form. Dormant pruning in later years maintained either tree form. No summer pruning was used in this study. Canopy light levels along horizontal transects at one m above the soil and vertical transects, both through the center of the canopy, were unaffected by tree form or transect direction. Yields were significantly lower for PL trees in 1987 and 1989, while yield efficiency was reduced in PL trees in all 3 years. Fruit size, trunk cross-sectional area, and foliar macro-nutrient content were unaffected by tree form during this study. Fruit color development in both the upper and lower halves of the canopy was uninfluenced by tree form.

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