Spur Leaves Increase Calcium in Young Apples by Promoting Xylem Inflow and Outflow

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

The effects of spur leaf removal on xylem sap flows and calcium accumulation in fruit of apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh. `Royal Gala') were determined 56 to 61 days after full bloom. Fruit calcium concentrations were reduced but fruit size was not influenced by partial spur defoliation at bloom. Apples exchanged xylem sap with the tree in daily cycles of flow reversal. The presence of local spur leaves promoted this exchange by accentuating the xylem sap drawn out of the fruit during the day, requiring more to flow back into the fruit at night to replace it. Calcium concentrations were lower in the xylem sap leaving the fruit than in that entering it. The reduced calcium accumulation in the fruit borne on defoliated spurs can therefore be attributed to the reduced volume of xylem sap exchanged between tree and fruit.

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