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Duane W. Greene and Wesley R. Autio

A series of experiments were initiated to evaluate the influence of notching on improving lateral branching of young apple trees. Buds on 2-year-old wood of `Redspur' Delicious/MM.111 were notched at 2-week intervals from 6 weeks before bloom to 2 weeks after. Notching increased lateral branching cubically with the greatest response occurring when notching was done 2 to 4 weeks before bloom. Bud break occurred equally well and shoots grew comparably when `Redcort'/M.7 were notched at the tip, middle, or base. Bud break and shoot growth from unnotched buds was greatest at the tip, intermediate in the middle and least at the base. Limbs of `Spygold'/M.7 were spread to a 45 degree angle then one bud from each 1-year-old shoot was notched at either the top, side or on the bottom of the shoot. Notching increased lateral branching from all bud positions, but the greatest response was from buds notched at the top and least from those located at the bottom of a branch. Buds of `Marshall McIntosh' were notched on either 1 or 2-year-old wood. Notching increased lateral branching more on 2-year than on 1-year old wood.

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Wesley R. Autio and Joseph F. Costante

Ripening of `Liberty' and `Empire' apples was compared in 1988-90. The internal ethylene of `Liberty' fruit reached 1 ppm approximately 7 to 10 days before `Empire.' `Liberty' and `Empire' fruit both attained acceptable eating quality on approximately 30 Sept. each year. Generally, `Liberty' fruit were firmer and had a higher soluble solids content than `Empire' fruit. Storage properties were compared in 1988 and 1989. In 1988, fruit were harvested at weekly intervals from 20 Sept. to 12 Oct. and kept at 0C for 2.5 months. The firmest fruit of both cultivars were from the 27 Sept. harvest. Fruit of both cultivars harvested on 27 Sept. 1988 retained firmness better when kept at 3.3C, 3% O2, 5% CO2 than when kept at 0C, 3% O2, 2% CO2. Data from 1989 showed that `Liberty' developed large amounts of browncore in controlled atmospheres at either 0C or 3.3C. The incidence of browncore in refrigerated storage declined with later harvests.

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Duane W. Greene and Wesley R. Autio

There is a general increase in interest in planting new apple cultivars. The loss of daminozide has provided an additional stimulus for growers in New England to find an alternative to McIntosh. Promising new apple cultivars have been identified from around the world and from breeding programs in Arkansas, British Columbia, New York, New Jersey and the PRI Program. Trees were propagated and planted in a cultivar evaluation block at the University of Massachusetts Horticultural Research Center. In 1992 we evaluated over 80 new cultivars. Fruit assessment consisted of laboratory analysis and visual and sensory evaluation. All cultivar were given an overall rating, and several were identified as being worthy of further evaluation. These apple cultivars include: Arlet, BC 9P 14-32, BC 8M 15-10, BC 17-30, Ginger Gold, Honeycrisp, Kinsei, NJ 55, NY 75414-1, and Sansa.

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Wesley R. Autio and Duane W. Greene

The effects of summer pruning on the yield and quality of apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) from mature `Rogers McIntosh'/M.7 trees were assessed in 1986-88. Summer pruning from 1 July through 1 Sept. enhanced red coloring and increased the percentage of the crop graded U.S. Extra Fancy. Fruit weight was not altered by summer pruning. Total yield was reduced by summer pruning only in 1 year, however, in no year was the harvested yield reduced. The portion of the crop that was picked in the first harvest was increased by summer pruning. Dormant-pruning time was decreased by summer pruning, and the total time required for pruning was increased only 1 of the 2 years where it was measured. Summer pruning and daminozide treatment significantly increased the estimated net returns.

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Duane W. Greene and Wesley R. Autio

Benzyladenine (BA) stimulated lateral branching on young apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees at concentrations as low as 100 mg·liter-1. BA reduced lateral shoot length indirectly through increased intersboot competition, whereas daminozide reduced lateral shoot growth as a direct effect of the chemical inhibition. Daminozide reduced the number of spurs that were induced by BA to grow into lateral shoots. BA reduced the size of terminal buds on spurs that were stimulated to grow into lateral shoots. When daminozide was included with BA, spur quality was increased, as determined by Increased bud size. The positive effect of daminozide on BA-treated spurs was indirect, and other growth retardants used in combination with BA may be equally effective at improving spur quality. It may not be possible to stimulate lateral branching with BA on young trees just coming into production without causing an unacceptable amount of thinning. However, on bearing `Empire' trees, lateral shoot growth was increased with BA while still achieving an appropriate level of thinning. In general, there was no advantage to applying BA in a split application. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)]; butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide).

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Wesley R. Autio and Duane W. Greene

In 1991, experiments were conducted to assess the effects of several growth controlling techniques on tree growth and fruit set, abscision, ripening, and other qualities. The first two experiments assessed the effects of root pruning (4-8 days after petal fall, 1 m from the trunk, 30 cm deep) in commercial orchards. Compared to controls, root pruning reduced fruit abscision from mature `Cortland'/M.7A trees by 70% on 17 Sept. In another orchard, root pruning reduced fruit abscision from mature `McIntosh'/MM.106 trees by 47% on 24 Sept. The third experiment utilized vigorous `Gardiner Delicious'/MM.106 trees. Treatments included root pruning (as described above), trunk scoring (single, complete circle, approximately 40 cm from the soil), trunk ringing (single, complete circle, 1 mm wide, approximately 40 cm from the soil), ethrel spray treatment (500 ppm), and dormant-pruned and unpruned controls. Treatments were applied on 15 May, when terminal growth was 12-15 cm. No treatment affected fruit set. Trunk growth was less for ringed and scored trees than other treatments. Ringing and scoring advanced ripening compared to controls, and ethrel resulted in intermediate ripening. Treatments had no effect on fruit size, flesh firmness, or the development of bitter pit and cork spot. Fruit abscision was least from controls and root-pruned trees. Trees that were treated with ethrel in May had the most rapid abscision rate.

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Duane W. Greene and Wesley R. Autio

BA, NAA, and carbaryl at 75, 6, and 600 mg·liter-1, respectively, were applied alone or in combination to `Starkrimson Delicious' in 1989 and `Redspur Delicious' apples (Malus domestica Borkh.) in 1990. BA was effective alone, but when combined with carbaryl it thinned excessively. Thinning failed when BA was combined with NAA because many seedless pygmy fruit were formed and they persisted until harvest. BA and carbaryl were more effective than NAA at increasing return bloom. Return bloom was more closely related to total seed count than to final set. BA improved flesh firmness at harvest and after cold storage. None of the treatments influenced the development of calcium-related storage disorders following air storage. Chemical names used: benzyladenine (BA); naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).

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Justine E. Vanden Heuvel and Wesley R. Autio

Anecdotal information has linked cool air temperatures before harvest with increased phenolic production in cranberry; however, there is little information available on the effect of temperature on phenolic production in cranberry fruit. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of air temperature throughout the growing season on the concentration of total anthocyanins, total flavonols, and total phenolics at harvest in fruit from seven ‘Early Black’ bogs in southeastern Massachusetts. Contrary to the anecdotal information available, correlations of temperature to fruit composition indicated that warmer temperatures early in the season (around bloom and fruit set) had the most positive impact on total anthocyanins and total flavonols. Total phenolic concentration in the harvested fruit was impacted by air temperature in the preharvest period; however, that relationship was positive.

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Joseph F. Costante, Wesley R. Autio, and Lorraine P. Berkett

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Duane W. Greene, Wesley R. Autio, and Paul Miller

Postbloom sprays of BA thinned `McIntosh', `Delicious', `Golden Delicious', `Mutsu, `Empire', and `Abas' apples. BA at 75 to 100 mg·liter-1 was equal to NAA at 6 to 7.5 mg·liter-1 or carbaryl at 600 to 800 mg·liter-1. BA increased fruit size, flesh firmness, and soluble solids concentration (SSC) on all cultivars evaluated. Since BA is applied during the time when cell division is occurring, it is concluded that the increased fruit size and flesh firmness were due to Increased cell numbers. Increased SSC was not due solely to increased leaf: fruit ratio. Thinning with BA was additive with other chemical thinners and no interactions were found on fruit abscission. In most eases, BA increased return bloom. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)]; 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA); 1-naphthalenyl methylcarbamate (carbaryl); butanedioic acid mono(2,2dimethylhydrazide (daminozide); (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).