Replicated trials were conducted in Summers 1998 and 1999 at two commercial orchards (A and B) to determine the influence of a metalized, high density polyethylene reflective film (SonocoRF) and aminoethoxyvinylglycine (ReTain), on fruit red skin coloration and maturity of `Gala' apples (Malus sylvestris var. domestica). There were four experimental treatments: 1) nontreated control; 2) reflective film (RF); 3) ReTain; and 4) RF + ReTain. RF was applied 4 weeks before anticipated start of harvest by laying a 5-ft-wide (150-cm) strip on each side of the tree row in the row middle. ReTain was applied 4 weeks before harvest at the commercial rate in one orchard and at 60% of the commercial rate in a second test. ReTain delayed fruit maturity. Fruit from RF trees had a significantly greater percent surface red color than fruit from trees not treated with RF. Fruit from RF + ReTain were significantly redder and had higher soluble solids concentration (SSC) than fruit from trees treated with ReTain alone. There were no differences in size, fruit firmness or starch content between fruit from RF and RF + Retain. RF appears to be a method to increase red skin coloration in `Gala' apples treated with ReTain without adversely impacting maturity.
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