EFFECT OF NAA OR ACCEL SPRAYS ON YIELD AND FRUIT SIZE OF `EMPIRE' APPLE ON THREE ROOTSTOCKS

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  • 1 Highmoor Farm, University of Maine, Monmouth, ME 04259

`Empire' is a popular new apple with fruit growers in the northeastern United States, noted for producing small-sized fruit. To test the efficacy of chemical thinners and rootstocks for increasing fruit size of `Empire', three-tree plots containing trees on M.7 EMLA, MM. 111, and seedling rootstocks were chemically thinned at petal fall with 10 ppm NAA or 85 ppm 6 BA, applied as Accel. Both NAA and Accel reduced fruit set. Trees on M.7 EMLA had higher set than trees on seedling. Yield was highest on M.7 EMLA and lowest on seedling. Fruit diameter after final set in July was increased by both chemical thinners and was greater for both clonal rootstocks than for seedling. Fruit on seedling trees were delayed in maturity relative to the two clonal rootstocks. Accel increased the number of fruit 70 mm or greater in diameter, while NAA increased the number of fruit in the 64- to 69-mm-diameter class. Analysis of covariance with crop load suggested that the increase in fruit size associated with Accel was a direct effect rather than a secondary effect from thinning.

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