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Stephen S. Miller and Ross E. Byers

When temperatures reach -26 °C and lower, even for brief periods of time, damage to fruit buds and woody tissue of the peach tree is common. Low temperature injury on peach can lead to bark damage, gummosis, increased incidence of perennial canker, partial or complete crop losses, reduced shoot growth and/or tree death. In Jan. 1994 the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and surrounding states experienced three successive nights of temperatures at -28 °C or lower. Beginning in Apr. 1994, 7-year-old `Blake'/Lovell peach trees were subjected to four pruning levels (none, light, heavy, and dehorned) each at three times (April, May, and June) in a replicated factorial arrangement. Specific pruning treatments were applied only in 1994; a local commercially recommended level and time of pruning were applied to all trees from 1995 through 1998. Treatments had a significant effect on canopy volume and fruit yields. Trees receiving no pruning or dehorned trees and trees pruned in June had lower yields in 1995 than trees pruned in April or May or trees receiving a light or heavy pruning. These treatments also produced fewer large fruit at harvest. Lower yields and smaller fruit led to reduced dollar returns per hectare in 1995. Yields from 1996 through 1998 were lower for trees that were dehorned pruned in 1994 although there were little or no differences in fruit sizes between treatments. Time and/or level of pruning had effects on the number of cankers and number of large (>5.1 cm) cankers.

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Thomas A. Obreza and Robert E. Rouse

The growth response of young `Hamlin' orange (Citrus sinensis L. Osbeck) on Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliatu L. Raf.) trees to N-P-K fertilizer rates under field conditions in southwestern Florida was studied to determine the minimum fertilizer required to bring trees into maximum early production. The highest 8N-1.8P-6.6K fertilizer rate was 2.72,5.45, and 8.17 kg/tree in 1989,1990, and 1991, respectively. Additional fertilizer treatments equaled 50%, 25%, or 13% of the maximum rate. Fertilizer sources contained either all water-soluble N (applied more frequently) or 40% to 50% controlled-release N (applied less frequently), and they did not affect fruit yield or quality. The response of trunk cross-sectional area, tree canopy volume, and fruit yield to fertilizer rate was described by a linear plateau model. The model predicted a fruit yield of 22.6 kg/tree at the estimated critical fertilizer rate of 48% of maximum. Fruit yield at the 50% maximum rate averaged 21.2 kg/tree. As fertilizer rate increased, total soluble solids concentration (TSS) in juice and the TSS: acid ratio decreased, but weight per fruit and TSS per tree increased. A fruit yield >21 kg/31-month-old tree indicated vigorous growth.

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R.C. Beeson Jr.

Three species of woody ornamentals, Viburnum odoratissimum Ker Gawl, Ligustrum japonicum Thunb., and Rhaphiolepis indica Lindl. were transplanted from 3.8-L into 11.4-L containers and grown for 6 months while irrigated with overhead sprinkler irrigation. Irrigation regimes imposed consisted of an 18-mm-daily control and irrigation to saturation based on 20%, 40%, 60%, and 80% deficits in plant available water [management allowed deficits (MAD)]. Based on different evaluation methods, recommendations of 20%, 20%, and 40% MAD are supported for V. odoratissimum, L. japonica, and R. indica, respectively, for commercial production. Comparisons of plant growth rates, supplied water, and conversion of transpiration to shoot biomass are discussed among irrigation regimes within each species. Comparisons of cumulative actual evapotranspiration (ETA) to either shoot dry mass or canopy volume were linear and highly correlated. Results indicated there were minimum cumulative ETA volumes required for plants to obtain a specific size. This suggests that irrigation regimes that restrict daily ETA will prolong production times and may increase supplemental irrigation requirements. Thus the hypothesis that restrictive irrigation regimes will reduce irrigation requirements to produce container plants is false due to the strong relationship between cumulative ETA and plant size.

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Mebelo Mataa and Shigeto Tominaga

The effects of root restriction, induced by root restriction bags, was evaluated on `Yoshida' Ponkan mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco). Trees were planted in 0.02-m3 volume root wrap bags (RWBs), which were made from woven polystyrene fiber, or root control bags (RCBs) made from nonwoven UV-stabilized Duon polystyrene fibre with plastic bottoms. A direct soil planted, nonrestricted root treatment (DPC) was included as a control. After 3 years, reductions in height (14% to 29%), canopy volume (66% to 43%), girth (10% to 22%), and leaf area (8% to 12%) were recorded in both of the root restriction treatments. Greater reductions occurred in the RWB treatment. Photosynthesis, transpiration, water potential, and leaf carbohydrate content were not affected by root restriction although soil moisture content was lower in the root restricted treatments. Fruiting efficiency (i.e., number of fruit per unit volume of tree canopy) improved only in the RWB treatment over the control. Total soluble solids and the fruit color index were enhanced by root restriction.

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Alvaro Otero, Carmen Goni, and Jim Syvertsen*

Six-year-old `Spring' navel [Citrus sinensis (L.). Osb.] orange trees were either totally defruited, 50% defruited or left fully cropped to study effects of fruit load on growth net gas exchange characteristics of mature leaves on seven selected clear days from Nov. 2001 through July 2002. Near harvest time, defruited trees had more shoot flushes, greater leaf dry wt per area (LDW/A) but lower net assimilation of CO2 (Ac) and stomatal conductance (gs) at midday than leaves on trees with fruit. Defruited trees had a higher ratio of internal to ambient CO2 (Ci/Ca) concentration in leaves implying internal limitations were dominant over stomatal limitation on Ac. Removal of half the crop increased individual fruit mass but reduced fruit color development. Half the trees were also shaded for four months prior to harvest with reflective 50% shade cloth to determine effects of lower leaf temperature (Tl) and leaf-to-air vapor pressure difference (D) on leaf responses. On selected clear days throughout the season, shade increased midday Ac and gs but decreased Ci/Ca compared to trees in the open implying that high mesophyll temperatures in sunlit leaves were more important than gs in limiting Ac. There were no effects of the shade treatment on canopy volume, yield or fruit size. Shaded fruit developed better external color but lower Brix than sun-exposed fruit. Thus, the presence of mature fruit maintained higher Ac than in leaves on defruited trees but high leaf temperatures and D reduced gs and Ac on warm days throughout the season.

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Anne-Marie Hanson, J. Roger Harris*, and Robert Wright

Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia L.) is a common native shrub in the Eastern United States; however, this species can be difficult to establish in landscapes. Two experiments were conducted to test the effects of transplant season and container size on landscape establishment of Kalmia latifolia L. `Olympic Wedding'. In experiment one, 7.6-L (2-gal.) and 19-L (5-gal.) container-grown plants were planted into a simulated landscape (Blacksburg, Va., USDA plant hardiness zone 6A) in early Fall 2000 and in late Spring 2001. 19-L (5-gal.) plants had the lowest leaf xylem potential (more stressed) near the end of the first post-transplant growing season, and leaf dry weight and area were higher for spring transplants than for fall transplants. For spring transplants, 7.6-L (2-gal.) plants had the highest visual ratings, but 19-L (5-gal.) plants had the highest visual ratings for fall transplants three growing seasons after transplanting. 7.6-L (2-gal.) plants had the highest % canopy volume increase after three post-transplant growing seasons. In experiment two, 19-L (5-gal.) plants were transplanted into above-ground root observation chambers (rhizotrons) in early Fall 2000 and late Spring 2001. Roots of fall transplants grew further into the backfill than spring transplants at the end of one post-transplant growing season. Overall, our data suggest that smaller plants will be less stressed the first season after transplanting and will likely stand a better chance for successful establishment in a hot and dry environment. Fall is the preferred time to transplant since capacity for maximum root extension into the backfill will be greater than for spring transplants.

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Larry R. Parsons, T. Adair Wheaton, and William S. Castle

Citrus trees in an experimental planting responded well to high application rates of reclaimed water. Irrigation treatments included annual applications of 400 mm of well water and 400, 1250, and 2500 mm of reclaimed water. The effects of these irrigation treatments on two citrus cultivars (`Hamlin' orange and `Orlando' tangelo) combined with four rootstocks were compared. Growth and fruit production were better at the higher irrigation rates. The concentration of soluble solids in juice was diluted at the highest irrigation rate, but total soluble solids per hectare increased due to the greater fruit production. Average soluble solids/ha production was >15% higher at the 2500-mm rate than the 400-mm reclaimed water rate. While fruit soluble solids were usually lowered by higher irrigation, the reduction in fruit soluble solids observed on three of the rootstocks did not occur in trees on Carrizo citrange. Trees on Cleopatra mandarin grew similarly at the different irrigation rates, but canopy volume of trees on Swingle citrumelo was significantly smaller at the 400 mm rate than at the 2500 mm rate. Fruit peel color score was lower but juice color score was higher at the highest irrigation rate. Weed pressure increased with increasing irrigation rate, but was controllable. Both juice and fruit soluble solids were higher on Swingle citrumelo and lower on Cleopatra mandarin rootstock. Total soluble solids/ha, solids/acid ratio, and juice color were higher on Swingle rootstock. Reclaimed water, once believed to be a disposal problem in Florida, can be an acceptable source of irrigation water for citrus on well drained soils at rates up to twice the annual rainfall.

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Robert J. McNeil* and Colleen M. Dettling

A 4-year `Satsuma' mandarin cultivar trial was conducted on the California Central Coast in San Luis Obispo. Cultivars compared were Owari, Dobashi Beni, and Okitsu Wase, all on Carizzo citrange rootstock. Trees were from 3 to 6 years of age and in their first 4 years of production during the four seasons that data was taken. Data taken each year was fruit maturity, color, size, and yield. Tree size was measured in the fourth year. `Okitsu Wase' fruit were harvestable 2 to 4 weeks earlier than `Owari' and `Dobashi Beni' considering meeting both minimum soluble solids to acid ratio (6.5/1) and minimum color (75%). `Okitsu Wase' was more consistent as to time of maturity. Maturity time of all cultivars varied each season based on weather. `Okitsu Wase' first minimum internal maturity varied from 15 Oct. to 1 Nov. Minimum color varied from 1 Nov. to 1 Dec. Dobashi Beni first internal maturity varied from 15 Oct. to 31 Dec. Minimum color varied from 15 Nov. to 31 Dec. Owari first minimum internal maturity varied from 15 Nov. to 31 Dec. Minimum color varied from 15 Nov. to 31 Dec. `Owari' had the highest total yield for the 4 years, followed by `Dobashi Beni'. `Okitsu Wase' had a significantly lower total yield than the other two cultivars for the 4 years. `Okitsu Wase' had higher percentages of smaller fruit and lower percentages of larger fruit than the other two cultivars in the first and fourth crop year, but had comparable percentages of larger fruit in the second and third year. The `Okitsu Wase' was a smaller tree than both the `Owari' and `Dobashi Beni' in height, width, and canopy volume.

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Jeffrey G. Williamson and E. Paul Miller

Bearing `Misty' and `Star' southern highbush blueberries were grown on pine bark beds and fertilized at three rates using granular and liquid fertilizers with a 3–1–2 (1N–0.83K–0.88P) ratio. Granular fertilizer was applied 8 times per year at 4-week intervals beginning in April and continuing through October. Liquid fertilizer was applied with low volume irrigation 16 times per year at 2-week intervals during the same period. During the growing season, irrigation was applied at 2- to 3-day intervals in the absence of rain. A 2 cultivar × 2 fertilizer type × 3 fertilizer rate factorial arrangement of treatments was replicated 8 times in a randomized complete-block design. All fruits were harvested from single-plant plots at 3- to 4-day intervals. Canopy volume was not affected by fertilizer type, but fruit yield was slightly greater for granular than for liquid fertilizer treatments. In 2003, fruit yield of 2.5-year-old `Misty' and `Star' plants increased with increasing fertilizer rates up to the highest rate tested (50 g N/plant/year). Similarly, in 2004, fruit yields increased with increasing fertilizer rates up to the highest rate (81 g N/plant/year). Root distribution was limited to the 12-cm-deep layer of pine bark with very few roots penetrating into the underlying soil. The positive growth responses of blueberry plants to high fertilizer rates in pine bark beds suggests that soluble fertilizer was leached through the pine bark layer into the soil below the root zone. More frequent, lighter applications of soluble fertilizers, use of slow-release or controlled-release fertilizers, and careful irrigation management may improve fertilizer use efficiency of blueberry plantings on pine bark beds.

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Zimian Niu, Dapeng Zhang, Jicheng Zhan, and Curt Rom

Influence of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) microclimate in the canopy of four training systems [open-center with high trunk (OH); open-center with middle trunk (OM); open-center with low trunk (OL); and a traditional round canopy (RC)] on the growth, yield and fruit quality of apple were studied in the Beijing area. The results showed that: 1) the growth and yield potential were affected by canopy light microclimate. The average leaf chlorophyll content from OH, OM and OL systems was 12.3% to 18.1% greater than that from the RC system. Trees from OH, OM, and OL systems produced 84.2% to 89.7% of shoot forming flower clusters compared to only 47.3% to 50.9% of the RC shoots. Training system did not affect total yield of 8-year-old trees, but in 10-year-old trees the RC system had lower yields compared with open-center systems. 2) Fruit quality was also affected by canopy light microclimate. The average anthocyanin content in the skin of fruit from OH, OM, and OL systems was 35.9% to 46.1% higher than that from the RC system, but chlorophyll content from the OL system was higher than in the open-center systems. Meanwhile, the contents of TSS and esters in apple flesh from the open-center systems were significantly higher than that from the RC system. 3) When the relative value of PAR in canopy exceeded 33.8%, the growth index of trees (chlorophyll: return-bloom ratio) exceeded 66.6% and the fruit quality index (TSS × anthocyanin) exceeded 94.7%. When PAR was less than 20.6%, the growth index was under 37.2% and the fruit quality index was under 67.5%. PAR value was significantly correlated with the growth and fruit quality index in the four training systems, and the total canopy volume of higher PAR(exceeding 33.8%, relative value) from OH, OM, and OL systems was 37.1% to 45.0% greater than that from the RC system.