067 SHOOT ORIENTATION AFFECTS PEACH SHOOT AND FRUIT GROWTH

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

One-year old fruiting shoots averaging 50 cm in length were tagged according to naturally-occurring orientations ranging from vertical to horizontal throughout the canopies of dormant `Encore' peach (Prunus persica L Batsch) trees. Following fruit set, tagged shoots were thinned to two or three fruit per shoot. Fruit diameter, terminal shoot extension, and shoot orientation were measured at intervals throughout the season. Fruit were harvested at uniform maturity based on ground color for assessment of fresh weight, diameter, percent red blush, and red color intensity. A linear relationship (p=.001) was found between final fruit size and initial orientation, with fruit diameters 6 percent larger on shoots initially oriented horizontally than those initially vertical. Fruit size differences were not detected until the last two to three weeks of growth. Fruit size response to orientation was found to be independent of light. Red color development was not influenced, probably due to fairly uniform light environments within the canopies. Terminal shoot length was linearly related to initial orientation, with shoots initially oriented horizontally having the least terminal shoot extension. Development of lateral shoot growth in relation to shoot orientation will be discussed.

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