Pesticides and alternative fruit thinners are needed for certified organic fruit growers. Transient reductions in photosynthesis (Pn) have proven an effective technique for fruit thinning. Pesticides can be detrimental to plant growth by Pn reduction. This study was developed to measure plant response to foliar applications of essential oils at 2% concentrations. Treatments were applied to vegetative apple trees grown under controlled environment conditions to study photosynthetic effects. There was no significant effect on Pn for treatments; however, clove oil was very phytotoxic and defoliated all trees in this study. Cinnamon oil and cedarwood oil significantly decreased evapotranspiration and stomotal conductance 1 day after treatment. Differences in plant growth were not significantly different for all treatments excluding clove oil. Studies on concentration effects may determine horticultural usefulness of these compounds.
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