Distillate Flower Abortion in `Serr' Walnut Associated with Reduced Carbohydrate and Nitrogen Concentrations in Wood and Xylem Sap

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Pomology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616

Abortion of distillate flowers (PFA) in a protandrous cultivar of walnut (Juglans regia L. cv. Serr) was increased by N deficiency. Starch and N concentrations in wood of 2-year-old twigs decreased to minimal levels during abortion of distillate flowers. Nitrogen reserves in woody tissues were reduced by foliar N deficiency, as were concentrations of sugars and N in vacuum-extracted xylem sap. Abortive distillate flowers ceased growth before spur leaves reached 50% of full expansion. PFA may result from transient deficiencies of C and N during the spring flush of growth. Depletion of storage C and N was accentuated before maturation of distillate flowers in this cultivar by the metabolic demands of many catkins, spur growth, and leaf expansion.

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