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Angela D. Myracle, Zakkary J. Castonguay, Amber Elwell, and Renae E. Moran

Fruit quality and consumer acceptance were measured in 14 plum cultivars. In 2015, six cultivars of asian plum (Prunus salicina) and one cultivar of american plum (Prunus americana) were harvested partially ripe and tree-ripe. In 2016, three types of plums, asian, american, and european (Prunus domestica), were harvested tree-ripe. Within most cultivars in 2015, partially ripe fruit were rated as highly as tree-ripe fruit using a hedonic rating from 1 to 9 with 1 being dislike extremely and 9 being like extremely. ‘Obilnya’ and ‘Abundance’ were rated higher than ‘Shiro’ and ‘Methley’ at both stages of ripeness and higher than ‘Vanier’ at the partially ripe stage. ‘Early Golden’ and ‘Spring Satin’ were rated higher than ‘Shiro’ and ‘Methley’ at the tree-ripe stage. In 2016, seven cultivars (Obilnya, Kahinta, Superior, Toka, Castleton, Early Italian, and Rosy Gage) were scored at the desired consumer acceptance level. ‘Shiro’ and ‘Caçak’s Best’ received overall acceptability scores below the level of acceptability. Plum type had minimal effect on scores for texture, sweetness, sourness, and overall liking. European cultivars received lower color scores than american and asian plums. Soluble solids concentration (SSC) ranged from 6.7% to 13.6% in asian plums, from 14.8% to 19.8% in american plums, and from 15.3% to 22.1% in european plums. Overall consumer acceptance of american and european cultivars was as good as for asian cultivars.

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Dennis E. Deyton, Renae E. Moran, Carl E. Sams, and John C. Cummins

Applications of soybean oil to dormant peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees were tested for prebloom thinning of flower buds in five separate experiments. Data were combined from experiments in which 2.5% to 20% emulsified soybean oil was sprayed on `Belle of Georgia' or `Redhaven' trees. The number of dead flower buds was concentration-dependent with maximum bud kill of 53% occurring with application of 12% soybean oil. The amount of thinning was fairly consistent from year to year, ranging from 34% to 51% when 10% soybean oil was applied, but was less consistent when 5% was applied, ranging from 6% to 40%. Overthinning by midwinter applications of soybean oil occurred in one experiment when bud mortality on nontreated trees was 40% due to natural causes. Mild to moderate spring freezes occurred in three experiments, but did not reduce yield more in soybean oil–thinned than in nontreated trees. Flower bud survival was improved when trees were sprayed with 10% or 12% soybean oil prior to a –4 °C spring frost. Applications of soybean oil to dormant trees thinned flower buds, reduced the amount of hand thinning required, and hastened fruit maturity.

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Renae E. Moran, Youping Sun, Fang Geng, Donglin Zhang, and Gennaro Fazio

Winter injury to the root systems of fruit trees can cause significant tree losses and yield reductions in the northern regions of the United States and Canada. To compare the root and trunk cold temperature tolerance, a series of experiments were conducted using ungrafted apple rootstocks. ‘Geneva® 11’ (G.11), ‘Geneva® 30’ (G.30), ‘Geneva® 41’ (G.41), ‘P.2’, and ‘Budagovsky 9’ (B.9) apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) rootstocks had root tissue hardiness similar to ‘M.26’, but ‘Geneva® 935’ (G.935) had greater cold-hardiness than M.26 when based on shoot regrowth in ungrafted trees. The LT50 of M.26 and P.2 roots ranged from –12 to –14 °C. The LT50 was –13 °C for B.9, –13.4 to –14.6 °C for G.30, and –12 °C for G.11. The LT50 of G.41 was one of the highest in one experiment, –8 °C, and one of the lowest in another, colder than –15.0 °C. The LT50 of G.935 roots was the lowest and ranged from –16 to –19 °C. Compared with M.26, trunk cold-hardiness in December was greater in B.9 and P.2 and was similar in G.30. Cold-hardiness of G.11 in December was mixed with less injury in the xylem but more injury in the phloem compared with M.26. In October, M.26 and G.935 trunks had little injury after exposure to –24 °C.

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Renae E. Moran, Bryan J. Peterson, Gennaro Fazio, and John A. Cline

The goal of this research was to evaluate resistance of apple rootstocks to late winter deacclimation during a 2-day exposure to warm temperatures in Maine. We measured the cold temperature tolerance of xylem, phloem, and cambium from 0 to −40 °C in 1- and 2-year-old shoot pieces from apple rootstock cultivars and advanced selections ‘M.9 T337’ (M.9), ‘M.7 EMLA’ (M.7), ‘Budagovsky 9’ (B.9), ‘Geneva® 41’ (G.41), ‘Geneva 30’ (G.30), ‘Geneva 935’ (G.935), ‘Geneva 814’ (G.814), G.4013, G.5257, and Vineland 6 (V.6) after a 2-day exposure to warm (22 °C) or cold (2 to 4 °C) temperatures. Injury was measured on a 0 to 10 rating scale based on percentage of discolored cross-sectional xylem and phloem, and cambial length and circumference with brown discoloration, with 0 indicating no browning and 10 indicating browning in the entire tissue. Injury was also measured as intensity of browning on a scale of 0 (no browning) to 5 (dark brown to black). The weighted averages of the two ratings were used to calculate an index of browning. Genotypic variation occurred in the degree of deacclimation, which ranged from none to as much as 15 °C loss in hardiness. Two genotypes, ‘G.41’ and ‘M.9’, showed little change in hardiness in both years they were tested. Two genotypes, G.4013 and ‘G.814’, lost substantial hardiness in both years and may be vulnerable to late winter freeze-thaw events, but were among the hardiest before deacclimation. ‘G.935’ and G.5257 showed a small loss of hardiness, whereas ‘B.9’ lost hardiness in the cambium, but not the xylem, and V.6 lost hardiness after warm exposure, but showed almost no injury at temperatures as cold as −35 °C. The loss of hardiness of these four genotypes that were tested in only one year should be verified with additional testing because of the potential for yearly variation.

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Christopher B. Watkins, Mustafa Erkan, Jacqueline F. Nock, Kevin A. Iungerman, Randolph M. Beaudry, and Renae E. Moran

`Honeycrisp' is a new apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] cultivar that has been planted extensively in North America, but the storage disorders soggy breakdown and soft scald have resulted in major fruit losses. The effects of harvest date and storage temperature on fruit quality and susceptibility of fruit to these disorders have been investigated in Michigan, New York, and Maine. Internal ethylene concentrations were variable over a wide range of harvest dates, and a rapid increase in autocatalytic ethylene production was not always apparent. The starch pattern index, soluble solids content, titratable acidity and firmness also appear to have limited use as harvest indices. Development of soggy breakdown and soft scald is associated with later harvest dates and storage of fruit at temperatures of 0 to 0.5 °C compared with higher storage temperatures. It is recommended that `Honeycrisp' be stored at 3 °C, although storage disorders still can occur at this temperature if fruit are harvested late. In addition, greasiness development may be worse at higher storage temperatures.

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Yin Xu, Yizhou Ma, Nicholas P. Howard, Changbin Chen, Cindy B.S. Tong, Gail Celio, Jennifer R. DeEll, and Renae E. Moran

Soft scald is an apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) fruit disorder that appears in response to cold storage after about 2–8 weeks. It appears as a ribbon of dark tissue on the peel of the fruit, with occasional browning into the flesh. Several apple cultivars are susceptible to it, including Honeycrisp. The objectives of this study were to examine the cellular microstructure of fruit exhibiting soft scald and determine if any aspect of the peel microstructure at harvest could be indicative of future soft scald incidence. Light and electron microscopy were used to examine the peel microstructure of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit that were unaffected or affected by soft scald. Tissue with soft scald had brown pigmented epidermal and hypodermal cells, whereas unaffected fruit peel epidermal cells were unpigmented. Cuticular wax of unaffected peel had upright wax platelets or clumps of wax, but peel surfaces with soft scald exhibited flattened granules and were more fragile than that of unaffected fruit. Epidermal cells of fruit with soft scald were more disorganized than that of unaffected fruit. Light microscopy was used to examine peels of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit from four growing locations and fruit from a ‘Honeycrisp’ breeding population at harvest. ‘Honeycrisp’ and ‘Honeycrisp’ progeny fruit were also stored at 0 °C for 8 weeks and scored for soft scald incidence. Cross-sections of unaffected peel of stored ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit looked similar to that of freshly harvested fruit. No significant correlations were found between soft scald incidence and measured microstructural attributes of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit at harvest, suggesting that peel microstructure cannot be used to predict possible soft scald incidence after storage.

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Cindy B.S. Tong, Hsueh-Yuan Chang, Jennifer K. Boldt, Yizhou B. Ma, Jennifer R. DeEll, Renae E. Moran, Gaétan Bourgeois, and Dominique Plouffe

Multiple types of flesh browning can occur as storage disorders in ‘Honeycrisp’ apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) fruit. Predicting its occurrence is hindered by differing definitions of the types of browning, incomplete understanding of their etiologies, and difficulty in assessing harvest maturity of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit. In 2013, of ‘Honeycrisp’ fruit grown, harvested over multiple weeks, and stored in Maine, Minnesota, Ontario, and Quebec, only the Quebec fruit developed diffuse flesh browning. A detailed comparison showed that the Quebec fruit differed in size, but not in other quality attributes, from fruit of the other locations. The Quebec fruit experienced lower temperatures during active fruit growth and were increasing in cell size up to harvest. Analyses of climate data from 2009 to 2015 indicated that accumulated growing degree-days (GDD) 50–60 day after full bloom (DAFB) could account for 31% of the variation in diffuse flesh browning, and seasonal GDD <500 are associated with a greater likelihood of injury. Fruit that exhibited diffuse flesh browning had higher magnesium and lower fructose levels than unaffected fruit. As these measurements were made after browning was assessed, the timing of the onset of these characteristics in relation to browning cannot be determined.