Benzyladenine (BA) stimulated lateral branching on young apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees at concentrations as low as 100 mg·liter-1. BA reduced lateral shoot length indirectly through increased intersboot competition, whereas daminozide reduced lateral shoot growth as a direct effect of the chemical inhibition. Daminozide reduced the number of spurs that were induced by BA to grow into lateral shoots. BA reduced the size of terminal buds on spurs that were stimulated to grow into lateral shoots. When daminozide was included with BA, spur quality was increased, as determined by Increased bud size. The positive effect of daminozide on BA-treated spurs was indirect, and other growth retardants used in combination with BA may be equally effective at improving spur quality. It may not be possible to stimulate lateral branching with BA on young trees just coming into production without causing an unacceptable amount of thinning. However, on bearing `Empire' trees, lateral shoot growth was increased with BA while still achieving an appropriate level of thinning. In general, there was no advantage to applying BA in a split application. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)]; butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide).
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