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S.R. Drake, D.C. Elfving, M.A. Drake, T.A. Eisele, S.L. Drake, and D.B. Visser

This study was conducted over two crop seasons using `Scarletspur Delicious' and `Gale Gala' apple trees (Malus ×domestica). The bioregulators aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), ethephon (ETH), and 1-methylcyclopropene (MCP) were applied at various times before or after harvest. Fruit response was evaluated at harvest and after regular atmosphere (RA) and controlled atmosphere (CA) storage [2.0% oxygen (O2) and <2.0% carbon dioxide (CO2) at 0 °C] and quality of whole and juice apple products evaluated. AVG reduced starch loss and ethylene production, enhanced firmness, and reduced cracking in `Gale Gala,' but reduced sensory acceptance of apples and apple juice. ETH intensified starch loss, ethylene production, and reduced firmness, but did not affect `Gale Gala' fruit cracking. AVG followed by ETH reduced starch loss, ethylene production, and cracking and maintained firmness. This combination also aided in sensory acceptance of apples but reduced sensory preference of apple juice. Exposure to postharvest MCP improved flesh firmness retention and reduced ethylene production after both RA and CA storage. MCP either favored or reduced sensory acceptance of whole apples, depending on the particular season, but reduced sensory preference of apple juice. Sensory scores for `Scarletspur Delicious' apples were more strongly modified by bioregulators than were `Gale Gala' apples.

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George Ouma and Frank Matta

Experiments were conducted in 1995 and 1996 to investigate the effect of Accel and Carbaryl sprayed 2 weeks postbloom on apple fruit yield and quality and to relate the degree of fruit set reduction to the yield of three apple cultivars (Empire, Jon-A-Red, and Braeburn). The treatments consisted of Accel 25 ppm, Accel 50 ppm, Accel 75 ppm, Carbaryl 0.05%, Carbaryl 0.1%, Carbaryl 0.2%, and an unsprayed control. Trials conducted over the 2 years indicated that Accel and Carbaryl reduced the fruit set of three apple cultivars as shown by the lower number of fruit per limb cross-sectional area on the sprayed trees compared to the unsprayed trees. Most effective concentrations in reducing the fruit set on apples were Accel 50 ppm, Accel 75 ppm, Carbary 0.01%, and Carbaryl 0.2%, with high yields and high fruit rates. Therefore, it was concluded that these are the best concentrations for thinning of apples. Other quality attributes, such as pH, sugar content, and percent fruit red were also increased by the treatments. The treatments did not influence the number of seeds in the fruit, fruit length, fruit diameter, and fruit length: diameter ratio.

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Tory Schmidt, Don Elfving, and Jim McFerson

In three trials, 2004 crop loads were adjusted at the balloon stage of blossom development on heavily cropped whole apple trees by clipping all flower pedicels within a cluster while leaving the spur intact. Trees were adjusted to 0% crop (all flowers removed), 50% crop (half of all clusters removed), or left as 100% crop (no flowers removed). On `Cameo'/Bud.9, 400 ppm GA4+7 were applied to trees of each crop level at petal fall, 10 mm, 20 mm, or left unsprayed. At each crop load, GA4+7 marginally diminished the 2005 return bloom regardless of application timing, but the 2004 crop level was far more influential in 2005 flowering. In a second `Cameo'/Bud.9 trial, 0, 300, 600, or 900 ppm ethephon were applied to whole trees of each crop level at 45 DAFB. Ethephon generally demonstrated a rate response in improving the 2005 return bloom, but the 2005 flowering was more dramatically influenced by 2004 crop levels. On `Honeycrisp'/M.9, 300 ppm GA4+7 were applied to whole trees of each crop level at 10 mm. GA4+7 diminished 2005 return bloom at the 50% crop load, but spray effects were not as clear at the extreme 2004 crop levels. These results suggest that commercial floral inhibitors and promoters have difficulty overcoming endogenous effects of heavy or light bloom and crop in severely alternating apple trees. In a fourth trial, lightly cropped organic `Fuji'/MM.106 trees were sprayed with 0, 150, 300, or 450 ppm GA4 at petal fall, 10 mm, or 20 mm timings in 2004. The 2005 return bloom was inversely correlated with spray rates, with 10 mm showing more floral inhibition than other timings. Overall, `Cameo' was less sensitive to GA and ethephon than `Honeycrisp' or `Fuji'.

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Don C. Elfving and Dwayne B. Visser

A new bioregulator, cyclanilide (CYC, Bayer Environmental Science, Montvale, N.J.), was tested for growth-related effects on apple trees over three years. Although treatment with CYC produced small reductions in shoot length, its principal effect was to stimulate the formation of lateral shoots on current-season's shoot growth and from spurs on older wood. CYC treatment of `Scarletspur Delicious' apple trees in the nursery more than doubled the formation of well-developed feathers with wide crotch angles (≈60°) and with no effect on final tree height. CYC appeared to flatten the apples and reduce fruit size in one trial. CYC appears promising for lateral branch induction in apple, especially in the nursery. Chemical names used: 1-(2,4-dichlorophenylaminocarbonyl)-cyclopropane carboxylic acid (Cyclanilide); calcium 3-oxido-4-propionyl-5-oxo-4-propionylcyclohex-3-enecarboxylate (prohexadione-Ca, Apogee); N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine + gibberellins A4A7 (Promalin); polyoxyethylenepolypropoxypropanol, dihydroxypropane, 2-butoxyethanol (Regulaid).

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Don C. Elfving and Dwayne B. Visser

A new bioregulator, cyclanilide (CYC, Bayer Environmental Science, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709), was compared with a proprietary formulation of 6-benzyladenine and gibberellins A4 and A7 [Promalin (PR), Valent BioSciences, Walnut Creek, Calif.] for branching effects on sweet cherry trees. CYC stimulated the formation of lateral shoots on current-season's shoot growth under both orchard and nursery conditions. In the nursery CYC was as effective or better for feathering compared to PR in all cherry cultivars tested. There were no synergistic effects of CYC/PR tank mixes on feather development. Crotch angles of induced feathers were not different from the angles of feathers that formed spontaneously. The growth of CYC-induced feathers was sufficient to produce acceptable quality feathered trees. Trunk caliper of nursery trees was either not affected or reduced to a very minimal degree. CYC is effective for lateral branch induction in sweet cherry, especially in the nursery. Chemical names used: 1-(2,4-dichlorophenylaminocarbonyl)-cyclopropane carboxylic acid (cyclanilide); N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine + gibberellins A4 and A7 (Promalin); polyoxyethylenepolypropoxypropanol, dihydroxypropane, 2-butoxyethanol (Regulaid).

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R. Núñez-Elisea, J.H. Crane, and M.L. Caldeira

Panicles of `Kohala' longan (Dimocarpus longan Lour.) trees often retain more than 250 fruit, which results in small fruit (<10 g) of reduced market value. During 1997 and 1998, we conducted experiments to increase fruit size in commercial groves. Trees flowered and fruited normally in 1997, but very scarcely and late in 1998. In 1997, treatments consisted of panicle pruning (clipping off half of the panicle) and/or removal of entire panicles (50% per tree) when young fruits were 5 or 10 mm in diameter. Control trees were left intact. The number of fruit per panicle varied greatly within trees. Panicles (pruned or intact) with <125 fruit generally developed fruit >15 g (32–33 mm equatorial diameter). Total soluble solid content of mature fruit generally decreased with increasing fruit size. Removing whole panicles did not increase average fruit size in remaining intact panicles, suggesting that panicles were fed primarily by leaves within the same branch. In 1998, treatments consisted of applications of GA3 and/or CPPU (a synthetic cytokinin) when fruits were 6 to 9 mm in diameter. Panicles were not pruned since they generally had <150 fruit. Control panicles were not sprayed. There was no consistent effect of treatments on average fruit weight, and no treatment significantly increased fruit size in relation to controls. These preliminary results indicate that other factors besides current fruit set, such as previous fruit load of a branch, branch position (exposure to sunlight and/or wind, and proximity to major limbs), and the amount/age of leaves, may influence the fruiting potential of individual branches.

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Wilhelm Rademacher*

APOGEE and REGALIS have recently been introduced in a number of countries for use in pome and other fruit trees. These products contain 27.5% and 10% of prohexadione-Ca (ProCa), respectively. As a result of inhibiting excessive vegetative growth, less summer and dormant pruning is required, the ratio between vegetative growth and fruit formation is improved, and crop protection is facilitated due to the reduction of tree row volume and a more open canopy. Additionally, a lowered incidence of diseases such as fire blight and scab is observed, which is not due to a direct bactericidal or fungicidal effect of the compound. Further, the compound may reduce fruit drop early in the season. Prohexadione is a structural mimic of 2-oxoglutaric and ascorbic acid. Therefore, distinct dioxygenases are blocked, which require these compounds as a co-substrate. Such enzymes catalyze late steps in gibberellin biosynthesis. After treatment with ProCa, less growth-active gibberellins are formed and treated plants remain more compact. ProCa also affects ACC oxidase, another dioxygenase. The resulting reduction of ethylene formation, in addition to the availability of more assimilates for fruit growth, is most likely the cause of reduced fruit drop. 2-Oxoglutaric acid-dependent dioxygenases are also involved in the metabolism of flavonoids and their phenolic precursors: In shoots of apples and pears, ProCa causes considerable changes by inhibiting flavanone 3-hydroxylase. Convincing evidence is now available that ProCa triggers pathogen resistance by inducing the formation of 3-deoxyflavonoids, in particular luteoforol, with phytoalexin-like properties. Morphoregulatory effects caused by ProCa are only of secondary relevance for the reduction of disease incidence.

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T.K. Hartz, L.J. Kies, A. Baameur, and D.M. May

Application of DCPTA, as a seed treatment and a foliar spray, was evaluated for effects on productivity and fruit quality of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) and fresh-market pepper (Capsicum annuum L.). Two field trials for each crop were conducted in California during 1992. No DCPTA treatment was effective in increasing vegetative growth or fresh fruit yield of either crop at any site. Total soluble solids concentration and color of tomato fruits were unaffected by DCPTA, regardless of application method. We conclude that DCPTA is not a useful production aid for field-grown tomato or pepper. Chemical name used: 2-(3,4-dichlorophenoxy) triethylamine (DCPTA).

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J.H. Keithly, H. Kobayashi, H. Yokoyama, and H.W. Gausman

Application of DCPTA as a pregermination seed treatment (DCPTA plants) increased the seedling vigor, relative growth rate, harvestable yield, and yield quality of processing tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cvs. UC82, VF6203, H100). When compared with controls, the growth rates of roots and shoots of 30 μm DCPTA plants were increased significantly (P = 0.05) during seed germination and midexponential growth. At fruit harvest, greenhouse-grown 30 μm DCPTA plants showed a 2- to 3-fold increase in leaf, stem, and root dry weight compared with that of controls. Improvements in the uniformity of fruit maturation significantly increased the harvestable fruit yields of greenhouse-grown DCPTA plants compared with that of controls. The total soluble solids (oBrix), glucose, fructose, and carotenoid contents of red-ripe fruits harvested from greenhouse- and field-grown DCPTA plants were significantly increased compared with controls. Chemical name used: 2-(3,4-dichlorophenoxy)triethylamine (DCPTA).

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S.R. Drake, T.A. Eisele, D.C. Elfving, M.A. Drake, S.L. Drake, and D.B. Visser

In a study conducted over three crop seasons, Ethrel (ETH) increased the Brix, sucrose, and sorbitol content of 'Scarletspur Delicious' apple juice while reducing the fructose content. Both longer preharvest exposure to, and higher concentrations of, ETH had a stronger influence than application closer to harvest and/or at lesser amounts. Time of ETH application tended to influence individual carbohydrates more so than amount of ETH applied. ETH reduced total acidity and also reduced apple juice individual acid (quinic and malic) contents with longer preharvest exposure or higher concentrations. Aminoethoxyvinylglycine [AVG (ReTain)] reduced both Brix and sucrose content of 'Scarletspur Delicious' apple juice, but had no influence on either total acidity or individual acid contents. Combinations of AVG with ETH tended to counteract the influence of either used alone on total Brix, carbohydrates, total acidity and individual acids. Mineral content of 'Scarletspur Delicious' apple juice was not strongly influenced by application of either ETH or AVG.