Gibberellic Acid, Fruit Freezing, and Post-freeze Quality of `Hamlin' Oranges

in HortTechnology
Authors:
Frederick S. DaviesUniversity of Florida, Horticultural Sciences Department, P.O. Box 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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Glenn ZalmanUniversity of Florida, Horticultural Sciences Department, P.O. Box 110690, Gainesville, FL 32611.

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Our objectives were to determine if gibberellic acid (GA3) application at color break in the fall affected the juice content, soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acid (TA), and ratio of SSC: TA of `Hamlin' orange (Citrus sinensis) fruit following moderate to severe freezes. We also wanted to know if GA3 affected the post-freeze rate of decrease in juice content, fruit and tree cold hardiness, and the amount of fruit drop following a freeze. GA3 (18 floz/acre) was applied at color break in the fall of 2002, 2003, and 2004 to `Hamlin' orange trees on Swingle citrumelo (C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata) rootstock planted in 1995 at Gainesville, Fla. Moderate to severe freezes occurred in all three seasons. Fruit were harvested at about 2-week intervals following freezes in each season and the internal fruit quality was determined. GA3-treated fruit generally had higher juice content compared with nontreated fruit for 8 weeks after moderate to severe freezes in all three seasons, which may be economically important to citrus processors and growers since Florida growers are paid based on fruit pounds-solids (juice content × SSC). The rate of decrease in juice content over time was similar for both treatments in seasons one and two, but was less for GA3-treated fruit than nontreated fruit in season three. In addition, SSC was equal to or slightly greater for fruit treated with GA3 than for nontreated fruit. Fruit drop rate and magnitude were also significantly less for the GA-treated compared with nontreated trees in two of three seasons. GA3 did not affect fruit, leaf, or tree cold hardiness in any season.

Contributor Notes

To whom reprint requests should be addressed. E-mail address: fsd@mail.ifas.ufl.edu
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