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Rongcai Yuan and Duane W. Greene

BA was applied at 50 or 100 mg·L-1 to `More-Spur McIntosh'/Malling 7 (M.7) apple trees [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] at the 10 mm stage of fruit development. BA thinned fruit and increased fruit size. There were two distinguishable peaks of fruit abscission during `June drop'. BA accentuated the naturally occurring waves of fruit abscission, and enhanced translocation of 14C-sorbitol from leaves to fruit when applied directly to the fruit, but not when applied directly to the leaves. Net photosynthesis was decreased and dark respiration was increased when temperature following BA application was high (30 °C), whereas there was no effect when temperature was lower (20 °C). Total nonstructural carbohydrates, total soluble sugars, and starch in the leaves decreased dramatically over the 12- or 13-day observation period, regardless of BA treatment. These carbohydrate concentrations in the leaves were lowered further by BA application. Abscising fruit, based on specific reddening of the pedicel, had higher carbohydrate levels than persisting fruit, regardless of BA application. We conclude that BA thins fruit, at least in part, by increasing dark respiration and decreasing net photosynthesis. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)].

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Walter J. Kender, Ulrich Hartmond, and Jacqueline K. Burns

Fruit of 11 citrus cultivars were evaluated for their response to the experimental abscission material metsulfuron-methyl at 2 mg·L-1 (ppm) active ingredient as an aid to mechanical or hand harvest. Cultivars evaluated included `Ambersweet', `Glen Navel', `Hamlin', and `Valencia' oranges [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.], `Robinson' tangerine (Clementine × Orlando, C. reticulata Blanco), `Sunburst' tangerine [`Robinson' × `Osceola', C. reticulata × (C. paradisi Macf. × C. reticulata)], `Murcott' and `Temple' tangor (C. reticulata × C. sinensis), `Orlando' tangelo (C. reticulata × C. paradisi), `Ray Ruby', and `Marsh' grapefruit (C. paradisi). Six of the 11 cultivars were effectively loosened by sprays of metsulfuron-methyl (`Hamlin', `Valencia', `Orlando', `Murcott', `Temple', and `Ray Ruby'). Addition of an adjuvant (Kinetic, 0.125%) was necessary for abscission activity in fruit and leaves. Trees sprayed with metsulfuron-methyl in combination with an adjuvant had higher percent cumulative fruit drop, higher internal ethylene, and lower fruit detachment forces (FDF) than trees sprayed with metsulfuron-methyl alone. `Sunburst' tangerine responded poorly to the abscission material in the presence or absence of Kinetic. Leaf loss was greatest in trees sprayed with metsulfuron-methyl and adjuvant, intermediate in trees sprayed with metsulfuron-methyl alone, and least in control trees. Twig dieback was observed in trees of `Valencia' orange and `Marsh' grapefruit sprayed with metsulfuron-methyl. The peel of some cultivars had irregular coloration and developed pitted areas after harvest. Although metsulfuron-methyl is an effective abscission agent for mature citrus fruit, further work is needed to more accurately define conditions for its safe and dependable use.

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C. Degani, R. El-Batsri, and S. Gazit

The reciprocal effect of two avocado (Persea americana Mill.) cultivars—Ardith and Ettinger—on outcrossing rate and yield was studied in several orchards in Israel. Multilocus estimates of outcrossing rates were made using the isozyme loci Mdh-1 (malate dehydrogenase) and Aat-1 (aspartate aminotransferase) for `Ettinger' progeny and Lap-2 (leucine aminopeptidase), Pgm-1 (phosphoglucomutase) and Tpi-1 (triosephosphate isomerase) for `Ardith' progeny. When the two cultivars were in close proximity, estimated yields ranged from 10 to 20 t·ha-1 and outcrossing rates ranged from 0.71 to 0.89 and from 0.87 to 0.90 for `Ettinger' and `Ardith', respectively. The effect of `Ettinger' as a pollenizer was not restricted to adjacent `Ardith' trees; it also reached more distant `Ardith' trees. Thus, outcrossing rate in `Ardith' was 0.82 at a distance of 30 m from `Ettinger' in one orchard and 0.91 at a distance of 36 m in another orchard. These results confirm previous observations that `Ettinger' is a highly potent pollenizer. Outcrossing rates in `Ardith' and `Ettinger' were found to increase from the young fruitlet stage to that of mature fruit. These findings provide evidence for selective abscission of selfed fruitlets. In addition, parentage analysis of abscised versus retained `Ardith' fruit showed that `Ardith' selfed fruit abscised at a much higher rate than outcrossed ones. The survival advantage of outcrossed fruit is probably related to the fact that selfed progeny have less-vigorous embryos than outcrossed progeny due to inbreeding depression.

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George C. Martin, Chic Nishijima, and Jack D. Early Jr.

Olive fruit persistence is a crucial component of yield and an important factor in estimating alternate bearing potential.

Unfortunately, measurement of fruit persistence exhibit considerable variation, with coefficients of variation greater than 100. Such a high degree of variation makes field studies on questions regarding flowering and fruiting unmanageable due to the large number of experimental units necessary. To determine the source of this variation and how it might be reduced, comparisons of flower and fruit number per node were made within branches and trees over the course of two seasons. Results show that while the largest population of flowers are most distal on the branch, the central portion of the branch contains the majority of the final fruit population and has the lowest coefficient of variation. Furthermore, variation in the number of flowers and fruits is greater between branches than between nodes or trees. The implications of these data on experimental design are discussed and a design is proposed for reducing variation and labor needs.

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Luis Pozo, Rongcai Yuan, Igor Kostenyuk, Fernando Alférez, Guang Yan Zhong, and Jacqueline K. Burns

1-MCP is a gaseous ethylene binding inhibitor that controls or delays ethylene-related postharvest problems in a range of horticultural commodities. Our previous work demonstrated that exposure of calamondin to 1-MCP 16 hours before canopy sprays of ethephon greatly reduced unwanted leaf drop while only partially inhibiting the ability of ethephon to cause fruit loosening. The objective of this work was to determine whether formulated 1-MCP (SmartFresh) could be used in the field to stop defoliation caused by abscission agent applications without significantly altering abscission agent-induced fruit loosening. Spray solutions containing 400 mg·L-1 ethephon with 0, 1, 2.5, and 5 mm 1-MCP were applied to canopies of `Hamlin' and `Valencia' (Citrus sinensis). Timing of 1-MCP applications was a) 24 hours before, b) in combination with, or c) 24 hours after ethephon. Ethephon at 400 mg·L-1 significantly reduced fruit detachment force (FDF) but caused >70% leaf drop within 15 days after application in both cultivars. Applications of 1-MCP reduced ethephon-associated leaf abscission but had little effect on the ability of ethephon to reduce FDF. Timing of 1-MCP applications did not affect the ability of ethephon to cause fruit loosening; however, the best consistent treatment for control of leaf drop was achieved with the combined application of 5 mm 1-MCP and 400 mg·L-1 ethephon. 1-MCP was used in combination with the abscission agents coronatine, methyl jasmonate (MeJa) and 5-chloro-3-methyl-4-nitro-1H-pyrazole (CMNP) to determine its effect on leaf drop and fruit loosening. Leaf drop in trees treated with ethephon, coronatine, and MeJa was reduced by addition of 1-MCP. However, fruit loosening was largely prevented when 1-MCP was used in combination with coronatine or MeJa. Like ethephon, CMNP-induced fruit loosening was not affected by 1-MCP. The results demonstrate the ability to control ethephon-induced leaf abscission without affecting mature fruit loosening by targeting ethylene binding in citrus.

Open access

Hudson T. Hartmann, Walfred Reed, and Karl Opitz

Abstract

Foliar applications of 2-chloroethyl-tris-(2-methoxy ethoxy)-silane (CGA 13586) caused abscission of olive fruits and, to much lesser extent, leaves due to its release of ethylene upon contact with water. Maximum reduction in fruit removal force occurred 7 to 8 days after application and seemed to be a direct effect on the abscission layer. The ethylene-releasing reaction rate was affected by the solution pH, increasing with higher pH values. Lower pH (ca. 6) gave greater abscission than did higher pH levels since the compound presumably hydrolyzed too rapidly in the latter for the ethylene released to cause abscission. CGA 13586 produced considerably higher initial ethylene release in comparisons with (2 chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon) but it was not as long lasting.

Open access

G. E. Stembridge and C. E. Gambrell Jr.

Abstract

Postbloom application of gibberellin A3 (GA3) to open pollinated peach trees prevented seed development in some fruit, and also resulted in the persistence and maturation of both seeded and seedless fruit on the same trees. GA3 temporarily promoted fruit growth and delayed abscission of both seeded and seedless fruit, but the final crop load was not altered. Both seeded and seedless fruit abscised from treated trees during physiological drop. The persisting seedless fruit, therefore, competed successfully with seeded fruit. Seedlessness was associated with smaller fruit size at maturity.

Open access

G. A. Lang and G. C. Martin

Abstract

A laboratory system was developed to study olive (Olea europaea L.) organ abscission (21). An improvement of the use of ethylene-releasing compounds in this system is described to provide a model for field abscission responses and characterization of ethylene release. Olive fruit began the separation process as early as 7 to 13 hr after treatment with CGA-15281 (CGA), but not until 19 to 25 hr after treatment with ethephon (ET). CGA is characterized by an immediate, substantial breakdown to ethylene, whereas ET reaches its maximum ethylene release at 12 to 18 hr after application. Ethylene release was much greater from CGA than from equimolar concentrations of ET throughout the abscission initiation period. The relation of ethylene release characteristics to control of olive fruit and leaf abscission is discussed, with the suggestion that fruit respond more rapidly to, and at shorter durations of applied ethylene than do leaves.

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Duane W. Greene, Alan N. Lakso, Terence L. Robinson, and Phillip Schwallier

Attempts have been made to identify factors that can be easily quantified and serve as early harbingers of ultimate fruit abscission. Ward and Marini (1999) applied a high rate of ethephon plus carbaryl to ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Delicious’ apples

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Duane W. Greene

AVG was applied as the ReTain formulation over three harvest seasons to determine the influence of time of application on drop control efficacy and its influence on fruit maturity of 'McIntosh' apples. Effective drop control was achieved through the commercial harvest season with application of AVG made from 1 to 6 weeks before the anticipated start of harvest for untreated fruit. Drop control extended beyond the normal harvest period when application was made either 2 weeks or 1 week before anticipated harvest. Application made between 6 and 4 weeks before anticipated harvest generally delayed parameters associated with ripening, such as softening, degradation of starch, and development of red color, more than applications made on later dates. While AVG consistently and effectively retarded abscission, the length of time it controlled drop varied from year to year, even when used on similar trees in the same block. Once applied, it required 10 to 14 days before AVG started to retard fruit abscission. AVG controlled drop linearly with increasing concentration. AVG was a superior drop control compound than NAA. Chemical names used: aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).