323 REDUCING POLLEN LOAD MINIMIZES PISTILLATE FLOWER ABSCISSION AND IMPROVES COMMERCIAL ENGLISH WALNUT YIELDS UNDER FIELD CONDITIONS

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  • 1 University of California Cooperative Extension Office, Agricultural Building, County Civic Center, Visalia, CA 93291-4585

In both laboratory and field experiments, excessive pollen has been found to be a major cause of pistillate flower abscission (PFA) and reduced yields of sensitive English Walnut cultivars (CVs) (especially “Serr”). In the field, PFA and reduced yields develop when substantial overlap of male and female walnut bloom occurs. PFA and poor yields can be further aggravated when pollenizing CV's have been included into an orchard to maximize pollen availability for the commercial CV Field experiments, conducted in 1992 and 1993, demonstrated that mechanically shaking trees to remove male flowers pre-bloom from either pollenizer CV's or the main CV reduced pollen load, PFA, and substantially improved yields.

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