Control of Bolting in Autumn-sown Sweet Onions through Undercutting

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, North Carolina State Univeristy, Box 7609, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609

The efficacy of undercutting as a technique to control bolting of two short-day onion cultivars was studied in controlled-environment chambers. `Buffalo' and `Granex 33' onions were grown to the third, fifth, and seventh visible leaf stages in a 10-hour photoperiod at 22/18 °C (day/night) and then exposed to 30, 40, 50, 60, or 70 days of vernalizing temperatures (10/10 °C). Half of the plants were undercut at the initiation of the vernalizing treatment. After vernalizing treatments, plants were returned to 14-hour photoperiods at 22/18 °C. `Buffalo', which is resistant to bolting, did not flower significantly under any of these conditions. The flowering response of `Granex 33' increased with leaf number at vernalization and as the duration of vernalization increased. Undercutting `Granex 33' increased the days of vernalization required for flowering and reduced the proportion of flowering relative to controls. Overall dry-matter accumulation was unaffected by leaf number at vernalization or the duration of vernalization but was reduced ≈30% by undercutting. In both cultivars, fresh mass per bulb decreased with increasing leaf stage of vernalization and number of vernalizing days. Undercutting also decreased fresh mass per bulb, but through its effect on bolting, undercutting increased marketable yield for plants vernalized and undercut at the fifth and seventh leaf stages.

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