Rootstock, Time, Technique, and Quantity of Nitrogen Effects on Production, Mineral Nutrition, and Postharvest Quality of `Fuji' Apple

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  • 1 Dept. of Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences, Univ. of Idaho, Parma R & E Center, 29603 U of I Lane, Parma, ID 83660.

The influence of three rootstocks, various levels of soil-applied nitrogen in fall, and spring spray applications with and without minimum ground nitrogen on tree growth, productivity, leaf and fruit nutrient partitioning, and postharvest quality of fruit at harvest and after storage in `B.C. 2 Fuji' apple was studied over several seasons. Early results showed that trees on M.26 and M.9 were more precocious and had higher yield and yield efficiency. Trees on M.9 had significantly higher leaf Ca and incidence of sunburned fruit than those on other rootstocks. Trees on M.7 had larger fruit and higher leaf N, K, and Cu, but had lower fruit starch degradation pattern (SDP) and leaf Ca. Soluble solids at harvest were lower in fruit from trees on M.26 rootstock. Trees with fall nitrogen application had lower leaf N and better fruit color. Lower quantities of N application had smaller fruit but better fruit color and higher firmness at harvest. Fruit from all rootstocks did not produce ethylene for several days in the ripening chambers. After this period, fruit on M.9 rootstock produced ethylene before those from other rootstocks. Trees established with only nitrogen spray without any ground application had leaf N deficiency after they started bearing fruit. Establishment of a new `Fuji' orchard based on only nitrogen spray produced weak trees with low yield and yield efficiency, while addition of a small quantity of ground-applied N improved tree growth and fruit quality.

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