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Jeffrey W. Burcaw, Bruce W. Wood, and Michael W. Pool

The authors have developed a mathematical model designed for shade-intolerant tree crops which describes the amount of intertree shading in an orchard. These data are used to formulate an optimal orchard design based on shading reduction in orchards for any tree crop during any developmental window at any global location for either continuous canopy hedgerows or non-intersecting canopies for several different orchard geometries. Variables include tree shape, orchard geometry intertree spacing, row orientation, time and day of year, and geographical coordinates. Optimal orchard designs are based upon the total amount of unshaded canopy surface per unit area which each orchard configuration confers. Results indicate extensive variability of intertree shading between hedgerow and non-intersecting canopies to be largely a function of latitude, regardless of other variables.

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Logan S. Logendra, Jonathan G. Mun, Thomas J. Gianfagna, and Harry W. Janes

Ethephon (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) was applied to single cluster greenhouse tomato crops (1000 ppm) at the green mature stage of fruit development or when 35% of the plants had fruits at the breaker stage. Fruits were harvested at the pink stage. Untreated fruit were harvested from 95 to 116 days after sowing whereas fruit from the green mature ethephon treatment were harvested from 92 to 102 days, three days earlier and with a reduction in the harvest window from 22 to 11 days. Fruit treated with ethephon at 35% breaker were harvested at the same time as untreated fruit, but harvest was completed after only 12 days. Fruit yield from the green mature ethephon treatment was reduced by about 30%, but there was no significant difference in fruit yield as a result of ethephon treatment at 35% breaker. Fruit color, firmness and soluble solids were evaluated one and six days after harvest. Fruit firmness and soluble solids were unaffected by treatment; however, fruit from the ethephon treatments were significantly redder in color. In a second experiment, ethephon was applied at 500 or 1000 ppm when 100% of the plants had fruit at the breaker stage. Fruit were harvested over a 7-day time interval compared to untreated fruit that were harvested over 14 days, and there was a small but significant increase in fruit yield for the 1000 ppm treatment. Both ethephon treatments also increased fruit soluble solids. For limited cluster tomato production systems, ethephon is effective in reducing the harvest window without loss in postharvest fruit quality.

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Donald T. Krizek and Roman M. Mirecki

Cellulose diacetate has been widely used in UV-B enhancement studies under field and controlled-environment conditions since the early 1970s to remove wavelengths below ≈290 nm, without any evidence of toxicity effects. However, while conducting UV-B exclusion studies in window boxes covered with cellulose diacetate (CA) or in Plexiglas chambers lined with CA, there was marginal chlorosis and cotyledon epinasty in `Ashley' cucumber, which is normally resistant to elevated UV-B, while seedlings exposed to open sunlight and those grown under polyester (PE) film to exclude UV-B were free of visible injury. These findings suggested that the CA filter itself may be causing toxicity. To test this hypothesis, a UV exclusion study was conducted in which CA or Teflon (T), both UV-B and UV-A transmitting films, were used to cover window boxes in the following four combinations (top/bottom): CA/CA, CA/T,T/CA, and T/T. When CA was used as the bottom filter (CA/CA and T/CA), the plants showed significantly greater leaf injury and a 2- to 3-fold reduction in growth than when T was used as the bottom filter (CA/T and T/T). These findings suggest that toxicity is caused by CA itself rather than by solar UV-B radiation, possibly as a result of outgassing of phthalates known to be used as plasticizers in the manufacture of CA. Further evidence that CA was responsible for leaf injury was provided by a companion study in which T was replaced by PE and damage was still observed, although no significant growth effects of CA position were observed.

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Bruce W. Wood

There is increasing evidence of substantial pollination related crop losses by pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] orchards. These most likely occur in block-type orchards consisting of only one or two cultivars, but can also occur at locations with a great number of different genotypes nearby. Main crop cultivars should generally be within about two rows of pollinizers to ensure cross-pollination. Thus, block widths exceeding about four rows between pollinizers are especially likely to exhibit serious pollination problems. Scattered trees of off-type genotypes are potentially of major importance as backup orchard pollinizers. Tree age/size and spring temperatures influence the characteristics of flower maturity windows and are probably primary factors contributing to pollination-related fruit-set losses in many block-type orchards. Flower maturity tends to be earlier in older/larger trees while warmer springs accelerate catkin development relative to that of pistillate flowers. Because of substantial variability in relative differences associated with initiation and duration of flower maturity windows within either protandrous or protogynous flowering types (i.e., Type I or II), selection of complementary pollinizers should be based on the relatively high resolution 30-class flowering classification system rather than the traditional low resolution 2-class system. Other factors sometime causing pollination related crop losses are either abnormally wet weather or strong dry winds during the pollination period or abnormally warm or cool springs. Pollination problems can be visually detected by noting premature non insect related post pollination fruit drop or diminishing fruit set with increasing distance from pollinator trees or off-type genotypes within the orchard.

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Steven J. McArtney and John D. Obermiller

The normal window for application of thinning chemicals in apple extends from bloom until 3 weeks after bloom, when the fruit reach a mean diameter of ≈16 mm. After this time fruit are generally insensitive to standard chemical thinning sprays. The potential for the photosystem II (PSII) inhibitor metamitron and the ethylene precursor 1-aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid (ACC) to thin apple fruit after the traditional thinning window was investigated in field experiments over three years. A standard rescue thinning spray of carbaryl plus ethephon plus naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) reduced fruit set of Gale ‘Gala’ if applied when the mean fruit diameter was 18, 20, and 27 mm in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. The thinning activity of 400 mg·L−1 ACC was equivalent to the standard rescue thinning spray in 2010, whereas 350 mg·L−1 metamitron reduced fruit set more effectively than either the standard or ACC in 2010. Application of 400 mg·L−1 ACC plus 350 mg·L−1 metamitron when the mean fruit diameter was 18 mm reduced fruit set to almost no crop in 2010. The combination of metamitron plus ACC exhibited thinning activity after application at 25 and 33 mm mean fruit diameter in 2011 and 2012, respectively. Increased ethylene evolution was found in detached ‘GoldRush’ fruit 24 h after applications of ACC from 11 mm to 27 mm mean fruit diameter, but not when ACC was applied at 31 mm mean fruit diameter. Ethylene evolution was much higher after application of ACC at the 11 mm or 17 mm mean fruit diameter stage compared with application when fruit diameter was 23 mm or 27 mm. The thinning activity of ACC was related to the period of maximum ethylene response. The effects of delayed applications of ACC and metamitron on fruit set tended to be greater when these two chemicals were combined, suggesting that the creation of a carbohydrate stress and the capacity to convert ACC to ethylene are both required to trigger abscission of apple fruit larger than 18 mm in diameter.

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B.W. Wood

Alternately bearing `Cheyenne' pecan [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] trees were studied to assess the temporal aspects of previous season fruit development on several reproductive and vegetative traits of horticultural importance. Action spectra were generated and used to identify the relative sensitivities of these traits to the temporal aspects of fruiting. Based on date of maximum rate of change in sigmoidal models fitted to these action spectra, the relative sensitivity of certain important growth and developmental parameters to fruit removal time was number of distillate flowers per terminal shoot > number of distillate flowers per flower cluster on lateral shoots> length of terminal shoots > percentage of lateral shoots with fruit= catkins per terminal shoot at top of the tree> percentage of terminal shoots with fruit > catkins per standard terminal shoot> shoots produced per l-year-old branch> percentage of l-year-old shoot death. Maximum rates of change for these reproductive and vegetative parameters were typically during the dough stage of ovule development; however, substantial change also occurred for several parameters over a much wider developmental window. No evidence was found for a hormone-like translocatable factor from developing fruit that either promotes or inhibits flowering. Extending the time from nut ripening to leaf drop increased production of staminate and distillate flowers the following year and appeared to increase fruit set.

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Robert F. Bevacqua

A research and extension program for increasing vegetable production in southeastern Virginia was launched by Virginia Cooperative Extension in 1997. The launch was triggered by the construction of a shipping point market in Southampton County. First, a market window study identified target crops and the harvest period when they could be most profitably marketed. Target crops were watermelon, sweet corn, snap beans, muskmelon, bell pepper, and pumpkin. Second, a technology transfer program was formulated that emphasized demonstrations, field days, classes, and workshops. On-farm demonstrations of intensive vegetable production techniques formed the foundations of the extension effort and focused on drip irrigation, plastic mulch on raised beds, water and nutrient monitoring, honey bee pollination, and integrated pest management (IPM). “Growing Vegetables for the Commercial Market” was the title of a short course offered in partnership with the local community college. Sixty-five graduates completed the course in 1999. Workshops were offered on farm labor, marketing, irrigation, and production techniques. On-farm research was conducted in support of the emerging vegetable industry. The focus was on sweet corn IPM, variety trials for watermelon and pumpkin, and soil and plant analysis. Information was made available to growers through a bimonthly newsletter, an annual bulletin entitled Commercial Production Recommendations, and VCE postings on the World Wide Web.

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C.R. Unrath, J.D. Obermiller, A. Green, and S.J. McArtney

The variation in natural fruit drop of ‘Scarletspur Delicious’/‘M.7’ (M.7) apple (Malus ×domestica) trees in a commercial orchard over a period of 11 consecutive years was visualized using box and whisker plots. Delaying harvest until 1 week after the normal harvest date resulted in fruit drop ranging from 2% to 33% depending on the year. The effects of aminoethoxyvinlyglycine (AVG) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) on fruit drop and fruit firmness at normal and delayed harvests was monitored each year. AVG and NAA programs tended to mitigate fruit drop most effectively in years when natural fruit drop was heavy. AVG delayed the loss of fruit firmness, whereas a preload NAA program delayed firmness loss in fruit that were harvested 3 weeks after the normal harvest date only. A standard NAA program for drop control did not accelerate softening of ‘Scarletspur Delicious’ during the first 3 weeks after the normal harvest date. Growers should closely monitor fruit maturity and stem loosening during the harvest window each year to minimize the risk of major losses due to fruit drop. When timely harvest is not possible, perhaps due to unforeseen weather events or constraints in labor availability, or poor management, then use of harvest management aids such as AVG or NAA becomes critical on cultivars prone to fruit drop.

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Eric D. Miltner, Gwen K. Stahnke, William J. Johnston, and Charles T. Golob

Late fall N fertilization of cool-season turfgrass in northern climates is a common practice. Previous research has been focused in climates where freezing temperatures prevail. Research in more moderate northern climates where turf may not go through winter dormancy is scarce. Four fertilizer N sources and an untreated control were applied in four different months (November, December, January, or February) to perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) in Puyallup, Wash., and to kentucky bluegrass (Poa pratensis L.) In Pullman, Wash., to compare their effects in moderate (Puyallup) and freezing (Pullman) winter climates. In Pullman, only November applications of ammonium sulfate (AmS) or polymer coated sulfur coated urea (PCSCU) enhanced winter turfgrass quality. In Puyallup, November or December application of AmS, PCSCU, or polymer coated urea (PCU) resulted in enhanced winter quality. Polymer coated urea yielded a delayed initial response and a longer residual effect in the spring. Isobutylidenediurea (IBDU) did not improve winter turf quality in either Pullman or Puyallup. Although there was no quality response following January fertilizer application, there was suppression of red thread [Laetisaria fuciformis (McAlpine) Burds.] symptoms in Puyallup, indicating N uptake. Late fall fertilizer N in eastern Washington should be confined to November, using soluble or more quickly available slow-release nitrogen fertilizers. The application window can be extended to December in western Washington, and more slowly available coated ureas can be effectively used.

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D.M. Glenn, D.L. Peterson, and S.S. Miller

This study evaluated the total and marketable yield of three peach cultivars [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch. `Autumnglo', `Harvester', and `Redhaven'] when mechanical pruning and harvesting systems were used and trees were grown under three irrigation regimes. All cultivars were trunk-shaken using an experimental inertial shaker on an over-the-row (OTR) shake–catch harvester. `Autumnglo' also was hand-harvested at all irrigation regimes. Fruit damage was not significantly affected by irrigation. A significant source of fruit damage was pruning debris that remained in the canopy after hedging and became lodged in the fruit-conveying system, resulting in cultivar effects on fruit damage. Total yield of firm-ripe fruit was similar among cultivars in 1987 and 1988. However, `Autumnglo' trees had a higher percentage of marketable fruit than `Redhaven' or `Harvester' in 1987 and 1991. Mechanical harvesting appeared to accelerate the decline of `Autumnglo' as shown by tree deaths and greater symptom expression of Prunus necrotic ringspot virus. The potential for a single mechanical harvest of peaches is limited because of the difficulty in managing the ripening window, the high potential for fruit damage, and the possibility of accelerated tree decline for disease-susceptible cultivars.