Genotype, Temperature, and Fall-applied Ethephon Affect Plum Flower Bud Development and Ovule Longevity

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, 2042 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-2911
  • 2 University of Maryland, U.S. Department of Agriculture Statistical Consulting Service, Beltsville, MD 20705

Flower bud growth and ovule longevity of plum (Prunus domestics L.) cultivars Italian and Brooks and the effects of fall-applied ethephon and of temperature were studied. Fresh and dry weights of terminal flower buds were measured at l-week intervals from 50 days to 1 day before bloom in 1988. Buds were also analyzed for N, P, K, Ca, and B. After bloom, ovule longevity was determined using a fluorescence method after staining with aniline blue. Ovule longevity was determined in 1990 using shoots excised at full bloom from untreated and ethephon-treated trees of both cultivars and held in growth chambers for 18 days at 5, 10, 15, or 20C. `Brooks' flower buds showed a higher accumulation of fresh and dry weight than `Italian', and ethephon reduced bud weights in both cultivars. Ethephon did not affect mineral content of flower buds of `Brooks', but `Italian' flower buds contained a higher concentration of Ca and a lower concentration of P when treated with ethephon. Boron content was higher in the ethephon-treated buds of `Italian' trees on some sampling dates. Ovule longevity was higher for `Brooks' than for `Italian' in both years. Ethephon treatment delayed ovule senescence in `Italian' flowers, but had little or no effect on `Brooks' flowers. Increasing temperatures induced faster ovule senescence in both cultivars. Chemical name used. 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon).

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