Cropping Efficiency of Young `Fuji' Apple Trees

in HortScience

Effects of crop load and time of thinning on productivity of young `Fuji'/M.9 apple trees were tested by hand blossom (B) or fruit (F) thinning to two crop densities (fruit number/trunk cross-sectional area). Heavy (H) crop densities resulted in higher yields in both 2nd and 3rd leaf than light (L) crop densities. Time of thinning had no effect on yields in either year. In the 2nd leaf, fruit size was largest from trees B thinned to L crop densities, and smallest from trees F thinned to either crop density from mid-June through harvest. Both 1° and 2° vegetative growth were greatest in noncropped trees, intermediate in trees with L crops, and least in trees with H crops. Noncropped 2nd-1eaf trees had the highest flowering indices (flower clusters/100 total buds) the following spring and H cropped trees had the lowest. The flowering index was higher when trees were B thinned in the 2nd leaf than when F thinned. In the 3rd leaf, fruit size was largest when borne on weak upright shoots, intermediate on spurs, and smallest on 1-year-old terminal wood. Fruit on spurs had the highest incidence of sunscald (17%) and fruit on weak upright shoots the lowest (8%). Previous-season crop densities affected current-season's vegetative and fruit growth.

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