Cytokinin and Ethephon Affect Crop Load, Shoot Growth, and Nutrient Concentration of `Empire' Apple Trees

in HortScience

Benzyladenine (BA) applied postbloom at 125 and 250 mg·liter-1 thinned `Empire' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees below commercial crop levels but thinned less than thidiazuron (THI) at 62 and 125 mg·liter-1. Ethephon (ETH) applied up to 250 mg·liter-1 reduced fruit set only slightly. When BA was tank-mixed with ETH, thinning was the same as with BA alone. Although THI thinned more, BA resulted in a larger increase in fruit weight. Seed development was nearly eliminated by THI, but was unaffected by either BA or ETH. Thinner effects on foliar nutrient concentrations were associated with changes in fruit load but not shoot growth. The effects of BA and ETH on fruit-flesh nutrient concentrations were similar to their effects on foliar nutrient concentrations. Although THI thinned strongly and produced large changes in foliar nutrient concentrations and seed count, THI resulted in virtually no changes in fruit-flesh nutrient concentrations. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1 H-purine-6-amine (benzyladenine); 2-chlorophosphonic acid (ethephon); N-phenyl-N'-1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-ylurea (thidiazuron).

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