(103) Effects of Dormant Application Timing in `Bartlett' Pear

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  • 1 1University of California, Davis, Plant Sciences, Davis, CA, 95616
  • | 2 2University of California, Cooperative Extension, Sacramento, CA, 95827-3898

Pear growers in California's Sacramento River Delta and, to some extent, other pear-growing areas in California, use dormant oils for pest control and dormant bud growth stimulation. It is generally believed that well-timed applications can advance flowering, improve uniformity of flowering and fruit ripening, and improve vegetative budbreak. Traditionally, dormant oils have been applied in late December to mid-January, based on experience and calendar date. However, bud development and full bloom dates may differ from year to year, with variable weather cycles and chill accumulation experienced by the plant. In the 2004–05 dormant season, some dormant oil applications timed at intervals calculated by chill portions (defined by the Dynamic Model) advanced and compressed the bloom period. Fruit size (diameter and weight) and total estimated yield were improved by dormant oil treatments applied within a certain range of chill portion accumulation without reduction in total number of fruit per tree, while the percentage of undersized fruit was decreased by 65% to 83% when compared to the untreated control. The use of chill portions and the Dynamic Model to time applications of dormant oil appears to benefit fruit quality. Although chill was not limiting in the trial dormant season, there may be benefit even in years when chill accumulation is adequate.

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