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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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Thomas Björkman

Buckwheat has historically been used to suppress weeds and improve soil condition, but many of the tricks to success have been lost to history. Buckwheat is inexpensive and particularly effective in short windows between crops. We are documenting the techniques of existing experts and complementing that with research. We surveyed northeastern vegetable and strawberry growers to identify what information they need in order to feel confident that they could succeed with a buckwheat cover crop. Top questions include seed availability, types of weeds controlled, relation to other cover crops, volunteer management, and herbicide tolerance. One question tested experimentally was how to establish a full stand with minimum cost. We tested the minimum tillage requirement following pea harvest. No-till resulted in good emergence but slow growth, and dominance by weeds. Disk incorporating the pea residue resulted in excellent growth, which was not further enhanced by chisel plowing before disking. Buckwheat seedlings are intolerant of waterlogging, so deeper tillage may be important in wet years. Sowing buckwheat immediately after tillage resulted in emergence of 35%, leaving gaps large enough for weeds to grow. Waiting 1 week gave an 80% stand and complete weed suppression. Waiting 2 weeks also gave an 80% stand, but weed growth was advanced enough that weed suppression was incomplete. Therefore, a buckwheat cover crop following early vegetables requires light tillage to permit root growth, and up to a week of decomposition. If those provisions are made, complete weed suppression is obtainable.

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Michael B. Thomas, Jonathan H. Crane, James J. Ferguson, Howard W. Beck, and Joseph W. Noling

The TFRUIT·Xpert and CIT·Xpert computerbased diagnostic programs can quickly assist commercial producers, extension agents, and homeowners in the diagnosis of diseases, insect pest problems and physiological disorders. The CIT·Xpert system focuses on citrus (Citrus spp.), whereas the TFRUIT·Xpert system focuses on avocado (Persea americana Mill.), carambola (Averrhoa carambola L.), lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.), mango (Mangifera indica L.), papaya (Carica papaya L.), and `Tahiti' lime (Citrus latifolia Tan.). The systems were developed in cooperation with research and extension specialists with expertise in the area of diagnosing diseases, disorders, and pest problems of citrus and tropical fruit. The systems' methodology reproduces the diagnostic reasoning process of these experts. Reviews of extension and research literature and 35-mm color slide images were completed to obtain representative information and slide images illustrative of diseases, disorders, and pest problems specific to Florida. The diagnostic programs operate under Microsoft-Windows. Full-screen color images are linked to symptoms (87 for CIT·Xpert and 167 for TFRUIT·Xpert) of diseases, disorders, and insect pest problems of citrus and tropical fruit, respectively. Users can also refer to summary documents and retrieve management information from the Univ. of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension publications through hypertext links. The programs are available separately on CD-ROM and each contains over 150 digital color images of symptoms.

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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.

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N.G. Beck, M.L. Arpaia, J.S. Reints Jr., and E.M. Lord

Deformations consisting of longitudinal ridges in the rind of Citrus fruits have recently been found in Southern California Citrus groves. Here, we report the correlation between ridge formation and applications of chlorpyrifos (Lorsban, Dow Chemical Company, Midland, MI) during the feather-growth stage of bud break. All chlorpyrifos formulations resulted in significant ridging. Addition of agricultural oil and 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) to chlorpyrifos resulted in the greatest ridging damage and widened the window of susceptibility by 2 weeks in 1988. In 1989, no significant difference was seen between treatments of chlorpyrifos, although all were significantly greater than the control. The susceptible stages of bud growth are described, as are the non-susceptible stages which precede and follow it. Floral buds in which carpels are initiating are susceptible to fruit ridging upon application with chlorpyrifos. These ridges are the result of an increase in cell size of the flavedo tissue which may be the result of a polyploid chimera.

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Timothy K. Broschat

Royal palms [Roystonea regia (HBK.) O.F. Cook], coconut palms (Cocos nucifera L. `Malayan Dwarf'), queen palms [Syagrus romanzoffiana (Chamisso) Glassman], and pygmy date palms (Phoenix roebelenii O'Brien) were grown in a rhizotron to determine the patterns of root and shoot growth over a 2-year period. Roots and shoots of all four species of palms grew throughout the year, but both root and shoot growth rates were positively correlated with air and soil temperature for all but the pygmy date palms. Growth of primary roots in all four species was finite for these juvenile palms and lasted for only 5 weeks in royal palms, but ≈7 weeks in the other three species. Elongation of secondary roots lasted for only 9 weeks for coconut palms and less than half of that time for the other three species. Primary root growth rate varied from 16 mm·week-1 for coconut and pygmy date palms to 31 mm·week-1 for royal palms, while secondary root growth rates were close to 10 mm·week-1 for all species. About 25% of the total number of primary roots in these palms grew in contact with the rhizotron window, allowing the prediction of the total root number and length from the sample of roots visible in the rhizotron. Results indicated that there is no obvious season when palms should not be transplanted in southern Florida because of root inactivity.

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Kitren G. Weis, Stephen M. Southwick, and George C. Martin

Gibberellic acid reduces return bloom in many fruit tree species. Reducing bloom may cut costs of hand thinning apricot, peach and plum fruit. Sprays of 250 ppm GA, during floral bud evocation (June 1993) resulted in bud death and abscission as determined by light microscopy sections in `Patterson' apricot (Prunus armeniaca L). GA treatment in May did not cause observable effects. August treatments, immediately prior to floral initiation, did not impede differentiation. Treatment of `Elegant Lady' peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batsch.) buds with 75-250 ppm GA, in late June, 1993 (evocation phase) did not have any discernable effects in that season with respect to abscission or differentiation. Treated peach buds differentiated simultaneously with untreated buds in early August. The patterns of response to GA treatment imply `windows of opportunity' with respect to effectiveness of GA treatments. The specific response suggests that apricot buds possess differing levels of sensitivity to GA treatment and probably reflect distinct phases in transition to flowering. In August buds were already `determined' and were in a potentially floral state that was irreversible.

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Thomas E. Marler and Cecil Stushnoff

The influence of plant size on recovery following defoliation of `Tainung 1' papaya was used to study the role of respiratory sink size relative to photosynthetic surface area and the carbohydrate pool size available for remobilization. Defoliated (D) plants at three different ages: oldest, 24 weeks posttransplant (PT), supporting ≈8 weeks of fruit set; intermediate, 10 weeks PT, ≈2 weeks from initial flowering; and youngest, 4 weeks PT, were compared to an equal number of control plants. The oldest plants abscised all fruit <5.5 cm in diameter as a result of defoliation. Increase in stem height and basal circumference ceased on all plants and increase in fruit circumference ceased on the oldest plants following defoliation. Increase in stem height of D plants began again 3 weeks postdefoliation (PD) and returned to that of control plants by 6 weeks PD. Increase in basal circumference of D plants began again 6 weeks PD. Root density was observed on observation windows, and fine roots completely disappeared within 1 week PD. Root density returned to that of control plants by 6 weeks for the youngest and intermediate plants and by 8 weeks for the oldest plants. Increase in fruit circumference of pre-existing fruit for the oldest D plants never returned to that for control plants. These plants began setting fruit again ≈8 weeks PD. Defoliation delayed initial flowering of the intermediate plants 6.5 weeks and of the youngest plants ≈2 weeks. Thus, the greatest impact of defoliation on reproductive growth occurred with the two oldest age groups.

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K. Tano, L.Z. Lee, F. Castaigne, and J. Arul

Use of modified atmosphere (MA) as an adjunct to low temperature can be effective method for prolonging the shelflife of fresh fruits and vegetables. However, if storage temperature fluctuates, anoxic conditions can result and, consequently, the fresh produce quality can deteriorate rapidly. The objective of this investigation was to evaluate the effects of temperature fluctuation on the atmosphere inside the package and on the quality of packaged produce. Mushrooms (A. bisporus, U3 Sylvan 381) were packaged in rigid containers (4 liters) fitted with diffusion windows to obtain an atmosphere of 5% O2 and 10% CO2 at 4C. Temperature fluctuation had a major impact to the atmosphere inside package. During the first fluctuation sequence, O2 level depleted to 1.5% and CO2 increased to 18%. When the temperature returned to 4C during the next sequence, CO2 level fell back to 10%, but O2 level remained at 1.5%. The quality of mushrooms stored under temperature-fluctuating conditions was severely affected, as indicted by the extent of browning, loss of texture, and level of ethanol in the tissue compared to mushrooms stored at constant temperature. It was clear from this experiment that under temperature fluctuation, even it occurs once, can seriously compromise the benefits of MA packaging and safety of the packaged product. It is thus necessary that MA packaging compensate for the additional permeability required that is caused by storage temperature fluctuations.