The Effects of Ethephon on Saskatoon (Amelanchier alnifolia Nutt.) Fruit Ripening

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, 4-10 Agriculture/Forestry Centre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada T6G 2P5

Field experiments were conducted on two cultivars of saskatoon to test the effectiveness of ethephon in stimulating uniform fruit ripening without compromising fruit quality. Shrubs of cultivars Northline and Smoky were sprayed to runoff with ethephon (0, 250, 500, and 1000 mg·L-1 for `Northline'; 0, 500, and 1000 mg·L-1 for `Smoky') prior to fruit maturity. Fruit were harvested 4 to 8 days after treatment and sorted into ripeness categories by size, and the fully ripe fruit were evaluated for quality (surface color, firmness, mean fruit weight, soluble solids, and titratable acids). Ethephon significantly increased the percent ripe fruit per shrub (by up to 9.7%) in both cultivars, without a significant effect on fruit quality. At concentrations up to 1000 mg·L-1, ethephon may be an effective ripening agent for saskatoon fruit without reducing fruit quality. Although there were significant differences in yield from year to year for both cultivars because of their biennial-bearing habit, ethephon treatments did not significantly affect total yields.

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