Girdled or nongirdled `Biscoe' peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batsch) secondary scaffold branches were covered with shade fabric to provide a range of photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFD) from 44 to 20 days before harvest (DBH), from 20 to 0 DBH or 44 to 0 DBH. Fruit quality was affected differently by the various periods of shade during the final swell of fruit development. Shading 40 to 20 DBH did not affect fruit weight or quality, whereas shading 44 to 0 DBH had the greatest effect on fruit weight and quality. Fruit quality was generally similar on branches exposed to 100% and 45% incident PPFD (IPPFD). Fruit on” girdled branches generally responded to shade more than fruit on nongirdled branches. Fruit weight was positively related to percent IPPFD for girdfed but not nongirdled branches shaded 20 to 0 DBH and 44 to DBH. On nongirdled branches, fruit exposed to 45% IPPFD for 44 to 0 DBH had 14% less red color and 21% lower soluble solids content (SSC) than nonshaded fruit. Harvest was delayed >10 days and preharvest fruit drop was increased by shading to <23% IPPFD. Shading branches for 20 to 0 or 44 to 0 DBH altered the relationship between flesh firmness and ground color: Firmness declined as ground color changed from green to yellow for fruit shaded 44 to 20 DBH, but firmness declined with little change in ground color for fruit shaded 20 to 0 or 44 to 0 DBH. Girdling results indicated that fruit weight and SSC partially depended on photosynthate from nonshaded portions of the canopy, whereas fruit redness, days from bloom to harvest, and ground color depended on PPFD in the vicinity of the fruit.
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