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Charles T. Rohla*, Michael W. Smith, Niels O. Maness, and William R. Reid

Whole fruit clusters were collected from three shoot types: terminal and lateral shoots without secondary growth, and shoots with secondary growth. Fruit per cluster was counted and nuts were individually weighed, shelled and graded. Return bloom of the same shoots was measured. Results indicated that cluster size of lateral bearing shoots was negatively related to next year's average kernel weight, nut weight, and kernel percentage. However, only kernel percentage was related to cluster size on terminal bearing shoots, and none of these parameters were related to cluster size on shoots with secondary growth. Cluster size and total kernel weight per shoot were positively related for the three shoot types. Return bloom of terminal shoots was negatively related to cluster size, but cluster size did not affect return bloom of the other shoot types.

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Charles T. Rohla, Michael W. Smith, Niels O. Maness, and William Reid

The most significant horticultural problem facing pecan producers is alternate bearing. Four pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] cultivars were chosen, two with low to moderate and two with severe alternate-bearing tendencies, to compare selected characteristics related to irregular bearing. The cultivars were Colby and Peruque (low to medium alternate-bearing tendency) and Osage and Giles (high alternate-bearing tendency). Vegetative shoots and fruit-bearing shoots in the terminal and lateral position on 1-year-old branches were tagged in October, and flowering was determined the next spring. Shoot and root samples were collected while dormant and then analyzed for organically bound nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations. As expected, ‘Colby’ and ‘Peruque’ had a lower alternate-bearing tendency than ‘Giles’ and ‘Osage’. Cultivars with a low alternate-bearing tendency had a larger return bloom on the bearing shoots in the terminal position than the other shoot types. Cultivars with a high alternate-bearing tendency had a lower return bloom on bearing terminal shoots than vegetative shoots. Bearing shoots in the lateral position usually had a lower return bloom than the other shoot types regardless of cultivar. Neither root nor shoot N, K, or nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations appeared to be closely related to the alternate-bearing characteristics of the four cultivars. The unique characteristic identified for low alternate-bearing cultivars was their ability to produce as many or more flowers and flowering shoots the next year on previously bearing terminal shoots compared with previously vegetative shoots. In high alternate-bearing cultivars, return bloom of bearing terminal shoots was suppressed relative to their vegetative shoots.