in HortScience
Author: Ted M. DeJong1
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  • 1 Pomology Department, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Previous research using relative growth rate models indicates that under normal cropping conditions peach fruit growth and yield is alternately source and sink limited during different phases of fruit growth. An experiment was designed to test this concept on whole trees in the field. Shortly after bloom central leader trees of `Spring Lady' and `Cal Red' peaches, were thinned to various crop loads ranging from -50 to -400 fruit per tree. At specific intervals trees representing the full range of crop loads were harvested to determine mean individual fruit weight/total crop weight relationships for whole trees. Then, assuming that fruit on low cropped trees grew at their maximum potential growth rate (sink demand) and that total crop growth on unthinned trees represented the maximum dry matter available for fruit growth (source supply), the relative source and sink limitation between each harvest interval was calculated. With `Cal Red', fruit growth appeared to be primarily source limited early and late in the season but primarily sink limited during the mid-period (Stage II) of fruit growth. At normal commercial crop loads, `Spring Lady' was less source limited than `Cal Red'.

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