EcoLyst Application Timing and Juice Corrected Soluble Solids (Brix) of Processing Oranges and Grapefruit in Florida

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  • 1 Horticultural Sciences Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611.
  • 2 Indian River Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Ft. Pierce, FL 34945.

EcoLyst, a formulation of N-N-diethyl-2-(4-methylbenzyloxy) ethylamine hydrochloride containing 1 g/floz [4.5 oz/gal (33.8 g·L-1)] a.i., is a plant growth regulator that has been reported to increase soluble solids concentration (SSC) in juice oranges by 0.6% to 1.2%. Our objectives were to determine the effectiveness of EcoLyst application for increasing SSC in Florida oranges (Citrus sinensis) and grapefruit (C. paradisi), and to identify the optimum rate and time of application. Experiments were conducted for three seasons using `Hamlin,' `Pineapple,' and `Valencia' sweet oranges; and for two seasons using `Flame,' `Marsh,' and `Ray Ruby' grapefruit, all in commercial groves. EcoLyst was applied at 6 and 12 floz/acre (0.44 and 0.88 L·ha-1) for oranges and 16 and 32 ppm (mg·L-1) [effectively 9 and 18 floz/acre (0.66 and 1.32 L·ha-1) in most sprays] for grapefruit, and included Silwet L-77 adjuvant at 0.05%. Applications were made at several stages of development from prebloom to initial fruit set. In all cases, SSC was determined as juice corrected SSC, by adjusting refractometer readings based on titratable acidity. In 13 trials with sweet orange only five displayed significant increases in SSC (P ≤ 0.05) resulting from EcoLyst application. Two additional trials produced SSC increases significant at P < 0.10. Even where significant increases in SSC occurred they were typically observed in only one harvest and at one time of application and were always relatively low in magnitude (highest increase over controls was 0.38%). No rate or timing of EcoLyst application was consistently associated with best response, although eight of nine SSC increases observed in orange occurred with applications ranging from prebloom to 25% open flowers. Only one significant increase in SSC was observed in five trials with grapefruit. In these studies, increases in SSC resulting from EcoLyst application were neither sufficiently consistent nor large enough to justify a recommendation for commercial use in Florida citrus.

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