AVG Effects on Preharvest Apple Fruit Drop and Maturity in Virginia

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  • 1 Virginia Polytechnic Inst. and State Univ., Alson H. Smith, Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center, 595 Laurel Grove Road, Winchester, VA 22602

AVG applied 2 to 6 weeks before the optimum harvest date for several cultivars dramatically reduced pre-harvest fruit drop. The loss of fruit firmness and starch loss after the optimum harvest date was reduced by AVG sprays. The development of watercore in `Starkrimson Delicious' and `York' and maturity cracking in `Rome' and `Golden Delicious' were delayed and/or prevented by AVG. Color development was slightly delayed for most red cultivars and `Golden Delicious'. Soluble solids concentration was generally unchanged. Airblast applications of 123 g·ha–1 AVG was no more effective than a standard rate of NAA (28 to 56 g·ha–1), but rates of 248 g·ha–1 AVG and above were more effective than NAA for most cultivars. When fruit were left on the tree for periods of 3 to 5 weeks after the optimum harvest date, NAA hastened the loss of fruit firmness and starch and NAA increased watercore of `Delicious' and maturity cracking of `Golden Delicious' and `Law Rome'. Soluble solids and red color were generally unaffected by NAA. Ethephon sprays hastened the rate of fruit drop. When NAA was tank mixed with ethephon, NAA delayed fruit drop caused by ethephon, but AVG did not. The use of superior oil or Regulaid surfactant did not affect NAA or AVG responses; however, the silicone surfactant Silwet L-77, in one experiment, promoted the effectiveness of AVG. Tank mixing NAA or AVG with pesticides (Guthion + Lannate + Captan) did not affect the responses of AVG or NAA on fruit drop.

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