Peach Pistil Carbohydrate and Moisture Contents and Growth during Controlled Deacclimation following Ethephon Application

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Flower bud growth and carbohydrate content of pistils of two peach cultivars [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. cvs. Jerseydawn and Jerseyglo] was studied during controlled postrest deacclimation in February and March at 7 and 21C following an application of ethephon (100 mg·liter-1, in October. Ethephon-treated pistils contained more sorbitol and sucrose than untreated pistils, and levels of both sugars decreased during deacclimation. Sorbitol content decreased more rapidly at 21C than at 7C in February, but no difference was detected in March. Fructose content increased during deacclimation in February and was not affected by cultivar, ethephon treatment, or deacclimation temperature. In March, fructose increased in untreated `Jerseydawn' pistils during deacclimation, but not in ethephontreated pistils. In `Jerseyglo', fructose was detected in all samples and declined during deacclimation. Glucose was not detected in treated pistils in February. In untreated pistils, glucose increased during deacclimation. In March, glucose was not detected in `Jerseydawn' pistils reacclimated at 7C. At 21C, glucose was detected only in untreated pistils after 2, 3, or 4 days of deacclimation. In `Jerseyglo', glucose was detected in all pistils. Moisture content of ethephon-treated pistils was lower than untreated pistils in both February and March. Pistil moisture content during deacclimation increased more slowly in ethephon-treated pistils than in untreated pistils in February, but not in March. Pistils sampled in March had a lower moisture content when reacclimated at 7C than at 21C. Pistil growth at 21C was slower in ethephon-treated buds than in untreated buds, but no difference was detected at 7C. The effects of a fall application of ethephon on the carbohydrate content of flower buds in relation to both winter deacclimation and growth in the spring are discussed. Chemical names used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon).

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