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R.C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier Jr., M.L. Nesbitt, N.R. McDaniel, A.A. Powell, A. W. Caylor, and W.R. Okie

There are a limited number of peach and nectarine cultivars available with chilling requirements that perform well in the Gulf Coast area of Alabama. A test planting of 40 peach and 13 nectarine cultivars was established in 1985 at the Gulf Coast Substation at Fairhope, Ala. The plot was prepared and trees grown according to commercial procedures. Blocks of four trees of each cultivar were planted on a 6 x 6-m spacing. Chill hours were calculated each year based on number of hours at or below 7.3 °C; starting from and including the first 10 consecutive days a total of 50 hours were accumulated to 15 Feb. Data collected included date of full bloom, first harvest date, and total yield. Fruit were measured or rated for skin color, attractiveness, firmness, stone freeness, pubescence, flesh color, dessert quality, shape, weight, percentage with split pits, and occurrence of malformed sutures and extended tips. All cultivars were evaluated for 9 years (1987–95). The best performing varieties are discussed.

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R.C. Ebel, P.A. Carter, W.A. Dozier, D.A. Findley, M.L. Nesbitt, B.R. Hockema, and J.L. Sibley

The current study was conducted to relate ice formation to the pattern and rate of leaf and stem injury of Satsuma mandarins on trifoliate orange rootstock. Potted trees were unacclimated, moderately acclimated or fully acclimated by exposing trees to 32/21 °C, 15/7 °C or 10/4 °C, respectively. Freezing treatments consisted of decreasing air temperature at 2 °C·h-1 until ice formed as evidenced by exotherms determined using differential thermal analysis of stems. Air temperature was then decreased, held constant, or increased and held constant to simulate severe, moderate and mild freeze conditions, respectively. All treatment exhibited exotherms at -2 to -4 °C, which were smaller with milder freezing treatments. Only the fully acclimated trees exhibited multiple exotherms. Leaf watersoaking, an indication of ice formation, occurred concurrently with stem exotherms except for fully acclimated trees where there was up to a 30-min delay and which corresponded with the second exotherm. Electrolyte leakage of leaves began to increase near the peak of the stem exotherm, but increased more slowly with milder freezing temperature treatments. In some treatments, electrolyte leakage reached a plateau near 50% but leaves survived. Leaves died when whole-leaf electrolyte leakage exceeded 50%. These data are discussed within the framework of a proposed mechanism of injury of Satsuma mandarin leaves by subfreezing temperatures, especially multiple exotherms of fully acclimated trees, and the plateau of electrolyte leakage of leaves at the critical level for survival.

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Esmaeil Fallahi, Bahar Fallahi, James R. McFerson, Ross E. Byers, Robert C. Ebel, Robert T. Boozer, Jim Pitts, and Bryan S. Wilkins

Effects of Tergitol-TMN-6 surfactant on blossom thinning (fruit set), fruit quality, and yield were studied in different cultivars of peach (Prunus persica [L.] Batsch) during 2003 to 2005, and in one cultivar of nectarine Prunus persica [L.] in one orchard and one cultivar of plum (Prunus domestica [L.]) in two orchards in 2004. In addition to Tergitol-TMN-6, effects of Crocker's fish oil (CFO) alone in three peach cultivars or in combination with lime sulfur in a nectarine cultivar were studied on fruit set, quality, and yield. Tergitol-TMN-6 at 5 mL·L–1 or higher rates, applied at about 75% to 85% bloom, reduced fruit set without russeting peach fruit. Peach fruit size was often increased by Tergitol-TMN-6 treatment. Applications of Tergitol at 20 mL·L–1 or 30 mL·L–1 excessively thinned peaches. Tergitol-TMN-6 at all rates burned foliage, but the symptoms disappeared after a few weeks without any adverse effects on tree productivity. Tergitol-TMN-6 at 7.5 mL·L–1 or 10 mL·L–1, applied either once at about 80% to 85% bloom or twice at 35% bloom and again at 80% to 85% bloom, reduced fruit set without any fruit russeting in nectarine. Tergitol-TMN-6 at 7.5 mL·L–1 to 12.5 mL·L–1 reduced fruit set in `Empress' plum. CFO at 30 mL·L–1 was effective in blossom thinning of some peach cultivars. A combination of lime sulfur and CFO was not effective in blossom thinning of nectarine. Considering results from several orchards in different locations in the Pacific Northwest over 3 years, Tergitol-TMN-6 is an excellent blossom thinner for peach, nectarine, and plum at rates of 7.5 to 12.5 mL·L–1, sprayed at a spray volume of 1870.8 L·ha–1 when about 75% to 85% blooms are open.

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B.S. Wilkins, R.C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier, J. Pitts, D.J. Eakes, D.G. Himelrick, T. Beckman, and A.P. Nyczepir

Twelve peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] seedling rootstocks [Lovell, Nemaguard, Flordaguard, 14DR51, five Guardian™ (BY520-9) selections, and three BY520-8 selections] budded with `Cresthaven' were planted in 1994 and evaluated through 2000 to determine performance under commercial management practices. Mesocriconema xenoplax population densities were above the South Carolina nematicide treatment threshold of 50 nematodes/100 cm3 of soil after 1996. However, symptoms of peach tree short life (PTSL) were not observed. Tree mortality was less than 14% through 1999, with most of the dead trees exhibiting symptoms consistent with Armillaria root rot. About 13% of the surviving trees in 1999 were removed in 2000 due to symptoms of phony peach. There were no differences in tree mortality among rootstocks. Tree growth, photosynthesis, and suckering varied among rootstocks, but leaf conductance, internal CO2, and leaf transpiration did not. Foliar calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus varied among rootstocks, but all were within the range considered sufficient for peach trees. Fruit yield varied among rootstocks, but yield efficiency did not, indicating that higher yield corresponded with larger trees. Bloom date did not vary among rootstocks, but harvest date was advanced as much as 2 days for some rootstocks, compared to Lovell. Fruit weight varied among rootstocks but skin color, flesh firmness, and soluble solids content were similar. All rootstocks performed satisfactorily for commercial peach production.