577 The Influence of Reflective Film and ReTain on Red Skin Color and Maturity of `Gala' Apples in South Carolina

in HortScience
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  • 1Dept. of Horticulture, Clemson Univ., Clemson, SC 29634-0375; 2Coastal R.E.C., 2865 Savannah Hwy., Charleston, SC 29414

Replicated trials were conducted in summers of 1998 and 1999 at two commercial orchards (A and B) to determine the influence of a metalized, high-density polyethylene reflective film (SonocoRF, Sonoco Products Co., Hartsville, S.C.) and ReTain (Abbott Laboratories, Inc., N. Chicago, Ill.), on fruit red skin color and maturity of `Gala' apples. There were four experimental treatments: i) Control; ii) Reflective Film (RF); iii) ReTain; and iv) RF + ReTain. RF was laid 4 weeks before anticipated first pick date by laying a 5-ft-wide strip of plastic on either side of the tree row in the middle. ReTain was applied 4 weeks before harvest at the commercial rate in one orchard (A) and at 60% the commercial rate in the other orchard (B). At harvest, two 50-fruit samples were picked from each of four replicate blocks per treatment. All fruit were sized and visually sorted for color (1 = 0% to 25%, 2 = 26% to 50%, 3 = 51% to 75%, and 4 = 76% to 100% red surface, respectively). A 10-fruit subsample was selected following color sorting and evaluated for puncture pressure, soluble solids concentration (SSC) and starch hydrolysis. ReTain delayed maturity and reduced preharvest drop of `Gala'. Fruit from RF trees had a significantly greater percent red surface than fruit from trees not treated with RF. Fruit from RF + ReTain were significantly redder and had higher SSC than fruits from trees treated with ReTain alone. There were no differences in size, puncture pressure or starch hydrolysis between RF and RF + ReTain. RF appears to be a means to ensure greater redness in `Gala' treated with ReTain in South Carolina.

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