468 Effect of Hydrogen Cyanamide (Dormex) and Ethephon (Ethrel) on Fruiting of `Surecrop' Peaches

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  • 1 Auburn University, AL 36849

Early flowering of peach in the southeastern United States can result in annual crop loss as a result of late winter-early spring freezes. In peach and other prunus, a fall application of ethephon delays flowering several days; however, delayed harvest and smaller fruit size of certain varieties may occur. Hydrogen cyanamide replaces the late stage of chilling in peach but can also advance bloom and harvest date while maintaing or enhancing fruit size. A randomized complete-block experimental design using 13-year old `Surecrop' trees was used to evaluate whether hydrogen cyanamide could offset the delayed harvest and smaller fruit size disadvantages of using ethephon without advancing bloom dates. Treatment combinations of ethephon (at 20%, 50%, and 90% of required chilling) and hydrogen cyanamide (at 90% to 100% of required chilling) were applied as whole-tree foliar sprays to near point of drip. Although not significant, there were trends toward hydrogen cyanamide overcoming both smaller fruit size and delayed harvest induced by ethephon. This agrees with an earlier study using `Redhaven'. Dormex negated the late flowering effects of ethephon applied at 20% chilling but did not cause flowering earlier than the control.

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