Climate is one of several factors that can greatly influence growth and development of reproductive organs, which in turn can have an effect on crop yield. The effects of climate on reproductive growth have been observed in many diverse crops. George et al. (1994) reported that larger flowers were produced at lower temperatures in persimmon. Low temperatures have also been reported to cause abnormalities in flower development in pepper (Polowick and Sawhney, 1985). In almond, a condition known as non infectious bud failure has been attributed to environmental factors such as warm temperatures (Kester and Asay, 1978). This condition can result in erratic canopy development and is often called crazy top.
The percentage of vegetative, floral, and blind nodes can indicate which cultivars are adapted to a climatic zone and which cultivars have a high cropping potential. Peaches initiate their floral and vegetative buds in the summer and fall before flowering (Raseira and Moore, 1987). Generally, a node on a mature peach tree consists of a single vegetative bud flanked on both sides by a flower bud. However, different combinations of flower and vegetative buds can occur: nodes with a single vegetative bud, nodes with a single vegetative bud and one or more flower buds, nodes with a single flower bud, or nodes that are blind. A blind node is defined as a node without vegetative or floral buds (Boonprakob et al., 1996). Blind nodes are more prevalent in subtropical or tropical regions versus temperate regions. Boonprakob et al. (1996) concluded that blind node formation was not attributable to a failure of bud initiation, but was the result of a failure of the buds to differentiate. Similar to that reported for noninfectious bud failure, blind nodes appear to be incited by high temperatures during bud development (Boonprakob and Byrne, 1990).
The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of four low-chill peach cultivars at three locations in Florida with respect to the percentages of nodes with only vegetative buds, mixed nodes (nodes with vegetative and floral buds), and blind nodes set within each location.
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