616 PB 296 GROWTH RESPONSES OF VERTICAL APPLE SHOOTS BENT WITH BRANCH BENDER' OR A HAND-TOOL

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  • 1 Rogers Mesa Research Center, Colorado State University, 3060 Hwy 92, Hotchkiss, Co. 81419

The main objective of this research was to compare the growth responses of l-year-old, vertical, apple shoots to bending with a simple hand-tool (HT) or bending with the commercially available Branch Bender® (BB). Single, vigorous, vertical shoots of `Red Chief Delicious (RCD), `Valnur' Jonathan (VJ), and Granny Smith were either bent with the BB or were bent by spirally wrapping the shoot around a 2.5 cm diameter plastic-rod, HT 2 times. Each variety had nine single-tree blocks with a control, BB, and HT as treatments. Measurements were taken on the number of clusters formed, length of subsequent terminal growth, number of shoots and spurs formed, and shoot cross-sectional area. No differences were found in RCD between the BB and the HT on all parameters; however, terminal growth was less with the BB than the control. With VJ, first year shoot cross-sectional area for the BB was less than for the HT. Cluster formation on both 1 and 2-year-old wood was greater with the BB than the control but not with the HT. No differences were found with Granny Smith.

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