Effect of Temperature on Chemical Apple Thinning Results

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  • 1 1Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., 595 Laurel Grove Road, Winchester, VA 22602
  • | 2 2Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 595 Laurel Grove Road, Winchester, VA 22602

An analysis of daytime high temperatures for the 10-year period from 1984 to 1993 indicated that, in the 21 days after full bloom (AFB) in 7 of 10 years, there were 3 days or more above 29.5C. In the 15- to 21-day period AFB, when fruit are considered at their optimum diameter (8 to 12 mm) for thinning, only 3 days above 29.5C were recorded. In the 15 to 21 days AFB, the high temperature was only 24C for 7 out of 10 years. Thus, growers would have to spray at temperatures 5.6C degrees lower if they were to choose to spray the warmest 3 days during the 15- to 21-day period when fruit are 8 to 12 mm in diameter. NAA caused thinning of `Golden Delicious' fruit at 8-mm fruit diameter. Tank mixing of one of several pesticides (regulaid or guthion, captan, carzol, imidan, polyram, lorsban, omite, or lannate) had no effect on NAA efficacy. Comparison of identical chemical thinning treatments (carbaryl + Accel + oil) applied to `York' and `Red Delicious' apple trees indicated that more thinning occurred with the PF treatments than at 8 mm. Average 2-day high temperatures at PF were 7.1C higher at PF for the `Red Delicious' experiment and 5.6C higher for the `York' experiment. The higher temperatures at PF could account for the differences in thinning response and not the spray timing. Pollination and fertilization inhibitors caused some fruit thinning at the highest rates and multiple applications. The MYX4801 caused more thinning and more injury to fruit than other materials. Endothall gave good thinning without fruit injury. Wilthin (GWN-6592) did cause some thinning, but fruit injury was a problem in one experiment.

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