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Jason D. McAfee and Curt R. Rom

Pesticides and alternative fruit thinners are needed for certified organic fruit growers. Transient reductions in photosynthesis (Pn) have proven an effective technique for fruit thinning. Pesticides can be detrimental to plant growth by Pn reduction. A two-part study was developed to measure plant response to foliar applications of sulfur compounds. In study 1, 2% concentrations of various sulfur compounds were observed for potential physiological or pesticidal effects. Foliar treatments were applied to vegetative apple trees grown under controlled environment conditions to study photosynthetic effects. No treatments significantly reduced CO2 assimilation (A) and stomatal conductance (gs). Copper sulfate, ammonium sulfate, and potassium sulfate significantly reduced evapotranspiration (Et) 7 days after treatment. No significance was observed for plant growth. In study 2, a 2% potassium sulfate concentration significantly reduced A 22 days after treatment; however, no differences were observed for Et and gs. Differences in plant growth were not significantly different among treatments.

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Renae E. Moran and Curt R. Rom

Our objective was to determine the potential for acclimation to high temperature in apple. `Imperial Gala'/Malling 26 EMLA and ungrafted Malling 26 EMLA tree were grown in growth chambers under four temperature regimes: 1) 25C for 42 days; 2) 35C for 42 days; 3) 25C for 21 days, followed by 21 days at 35C; and 4) 35C for 21 days, followed by 21 days at 25C. Response of net CO2 assimilation (A) to leaf temperature from 20 to 35C was measured at 21 and 42 days. Response to CO2 from 0 to 1000 ppm was measured at 42 days. Trees were separated into leaf, stem, and root fractions; dried; and weighed. High temperature increased the number of leaves per tree and reduced leaf size and leaf dry weight but did not affect leaf area, stem, and root dry weight. The apparent and minimal acclimation of A to high temperature is discussed.

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Curt R. Rom, Roy C. Rom, and James N. Moore

The Arkansas apple breeding program began in 1966 with objectives to develop high quality, dual purpose, adapted cultivars with a range of harvest dates and resistance to spring diseases. The program has two goals: 1) to develop red colored apples which are large, tart, firm and ripen between June and August; and, 2) develop yellow apples as a replacement for `Golden Delicious' which are large, typey, without russet and with a range of maturities from July through September. Apples with commercial potential are AA-18 (red, ripens 1-July), AA-44 (red, ripens 15-July), AA-58 (yellow, ripens 29-Aug.), AA-65 (yellow, ripens 11-Sept.) and AA-62 (yellow, ripens 15-Sept.). Data on time of bloom, harvest, fruit size, and fruit storage tests will be presented.

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Curt R. Rom, R.C. Rom, and R. Bourne

`Redhaven' trees on 10 rootstocks planted in 1984 were annually evaluated for growth and cropping as part of the NC-140 national cooperative rootstock troial. All trees on Citation have died, 60 % of trees on GF-43 have died and only a single tree of Lovell, Halford, and GF-677 have died. Trees on Damas GF-1869 and GF-655.2 had significantly more root suckers than other trees. Redhaven own-root, Halford and GF-677 were largest in height, spread, canopy volume or TCSA while the smallest trees were GF-43, Damas, and GF-655.2. Damas, GF-43 and GF-655.2 bloomed 3-4 days before trees on Lovell. Fruit on Redhaven own-root matured 4 days before fruit on Lovell while fruit on Halford, GF-677 and GF-43 ripened 2 days later than Lovell. Trees on Halford had the highest annual yield and accumulated yield while GF-655.2, Damas and GF-43 had the lowest yields. Redhaven own-root and Halford had the highest yield efficiencies (kg/cm2TCSA). Trees on Lovell consistently produced the largest individual fruit size.

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Zimian Niu*, Dapeng Zhang, Hongyu Zhao, and Curt Rom

The volatile aromas from the fruits of `Naganofuji No.2' apple (Malus domestica Mill.) were determined by gas chromatography (GC) and combined GC-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) after different temperature conditions. The fruits from CA storage were sealed in glass and the volatiles in the headspace were determined. Eleven compounds of four chemical classes from active carbon absorbed samples were measured and three of them—tormic acid pentyl ester, butanoic acid-1-methyl ethylester and 4-hydroxy-3-methyl-2-butanone, were identified at 20 °C, but not at °C. Under 20 °C condition, the contents of three volatiles increased from 1 hour and reached to their peaks at the 4th to 7th hour. The content of ethylene reached its peak at 4 hours and changed synchronically with the other volatiles during the experiment. The content of ethylene was significantly positively correlated with the contents of volatile aromas (r = 0.96-0.98, P ≤ 0.01). Under °C condition, the content of ethylene was significant lower than that of at 20°C and there was no ethylene peak produced during experiment. When the fruits were treated with ethephon (0.1 mg·L-1) at 5°C, the content of ethylene increased greatly. The highest level of ethylene was found at 4 to 7 hours and the peaks of volatiles also appeared at 7 hours or 10 hours after the treatment. It was suggested that the production of ethylene in fruits could be thought as an indicator of some volatile aromas.

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Krista L. Kugler-Quinn, Curt R. Rom, and Donn T. Johnson

Single leaf gas exchange measurements were taken at a range of light intensities from 20 to 1500 μmol·m-2·s-1 PAR under greenhouse conditions on `Washington Spur'/EMLA seven potted apple trees subjected to either 1500 cumulative mite days (CMD) European Red mite (ERM) damage or no mite damage. 1500 CMD ERM damage significantly reduced assimilation (A) over all light intensities for leaves present during mite damage at 6 days after the mite population had reached the 1500 CMD level and the mites were killed. Mite damage did not significantly affect A of either leaves present during mite damage or leaves produced after the mites were killed on any other sampling date. However, a trend of reduced A of leaves present during mite infestation on the mite-damaged trees was apparent on all sampling dates after the mites were killed. Evapotranspiration (E) was not affected by mite damage. The mite damage by light intensity interaction did not have a significant effect on A or E on any sampling date.

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Curt R. Rom, R. Andy Allen, and Bryan Blackburn

The Arkansas tree fruit research program has a history of involvement in rootstock development. The elements of rootstock development are rootstock cultivar testing and rootstock breeding and evaluation. Research is focused on apple and peach rootstocks. Rootstock testing is done in conjunction with the NC-140 cooperative uniform rootstock research project. Currently, there are 10 NC-140 trials in progress for apples, peaches, pears, and cherry rootstocks in Arkansas. The Arkansas rootstock breeding projects were established in the early 1970s as components of the fruit breeding program. The objectives are to develop apple and peach rootstocks which are adaptable to the Arkansas edaphic and adaphic conditions, have size control, have some degree of pest resistance, and are efficient in production. To date, 92 apple rootstock selections have been made and 41 are still in early evaluation for propagation and growth characteristics, while 56 peach rootstocks have been selected and are in early evaluation. Arkansas apple rootstocks selections are sequentially numbered with numbers preceded by AAR (ex: AAR-92). Peach rootstocks selections are numbered with numbers preceded by APR. Data from 2 NC-140 apple rootstock trials were presented and discussed.

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Mengmeng Gu, James Robbins, Curt Rom, and Hyun-Sug Choi

It has been observed that paper birch (Betula papyrifera Marsh.) has significant leaf abscission under mild to severe water stress. One-year-old paper birch seedlings were exposed to water deficit, ethylene, or inhibitors of ethylene action under controlled conditions to study water-stress induced leaf abscission. Exposing well-watered and water-stressed paper birch to 20 ppm of ethylene for 96 hours resulted in more than 50% leaf abscission regardless of plant water status, while water stress alone did not cause leaf abscission. However, the application of 1 ppm ethylene did not cause leaf abscission. Exposure to 1 ppm 1-methylcyclopropene or treatment with 0.1 mM of silver thiosulfate did not affect predawn water potential, gas exchange, and chlorophyll fluorescence. The measured evolved ethylene did not significantly increase in water-stressed paper birch prior to leaf abscission. Based on these observations, ethylene would appear to play a minor role in water-stress induced leaf abscission in paper birch.

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Curt R. Rom, R. Bourne, K. Kupperman, and R.E. Moran

Summer pruning effects on processing peach on fruit quality, light penetration and interception, and % defects was studied in 2 trials. In study A, pillar-trained trees were pruned with the following treatments: a control, summer pruning at stage II fruit growth, summer pruning post-harvest or, pruning twice (all trees dormant pruned). In the first year, pruning prior to harvest significantly increased blush and flesh firmness but reduced soluble solids content (SSC). In the second year, summer pruning reduced yield per tree and fruit drop (weight and % of total) but did not affect fruit size, blush, or SSC. After 2 years, trees pruned post-harvest or twice had significantly smaller height, spread and trunk diameter.1 In study B, 2 cultivars of central leader trained trees were pruned at stage II fruit growth in the following treatments: a control, canopy thinning, and hedging. Thinning pruning improved light penetration and hedging reduced light interception. Thinning pruning reduced % of fungal rotted fruit but did not affect fruit quality.

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Keith Patterson, Curt R. Rom, Robert Bourne, and John C. Clark

Ethrel sprays were applied at 50 or 100 ppm at approximately 40%, 70% leaf fall (10/16/89 or 10/24/89, respectively) or at both times on `Redhaven' and `Allgold' peaches. Bud hardiness was determined biweekly by differential thermal analysis (DTA). Stage and percentage of bloom open during the bloom period were subjectively estimated.

Spraying trees with 100ppm Ethrel at 50% leaf fall significantly increased bud hardiness at mid-winter compared to other treatments. After a mid-winter freeze (-21.7 C on 12/21/89), there was no significant difference between % bud survival of any treatments. But, trees treated with 50 or 100ppm Ethrel had 10-20% better bud survival than other treatments. Buds of the 2 cultivars had statistically similar hardiness although DTA analysis indicated that Redhaven had a .5-.8 C lower freezing point than Allgold in mid winter. This trend was reversed close to bloom with Allgold having .7 C lower freezing point than Redhaven. The time of full bloom was significantly delayed by treating trees with 100ppm at 40% leaf fall or 50ppm at both 40 and 70% leaf fall the previous autumn.