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Wesley R. Autio, William J. Lord, and Peter L.M. Veneman

`Marshall McIntosh' apple trees (Malus domestics Borkh.) on M.7A, M.26, M.9/MM.106, and M.9/MM.111 were planted at 10 locations in Massachusetts. After seven growing seasons, trees on M.7A were the largest and trees on M.26, M.9/MM.106, and M.9/MM.111 were similar in size on all sites. Trees on M.7A outyielded (1986-88) trees on the other rootstock at only three of the 10 sites. At three sites, trees on M.7A and, M.26 were similarly yield-efficient, but on all other sites trees on M.7A were the least efficient. Trees on M.9/MM.111 and M.9/MM.106 were similarly efllcient on all but two sites.

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Peter C. Andersen, Fred M. Rhoads, Steven M. Olson, and Kristen D. Hill

Carbon and nitrogen budgets were determined for `Colonial' (spring) and `Equinox' (fall) tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) plants grown on raised beds with black polyethylene mulch and supplied with preplant-N at 0, 67, 134, 202, or 269 kg·ha–1. For both spring and fall experiments, we quantified the partitioning of dry matter, N, and C, and determined marketable and total yield. In the spring study, the concentration of N in leaves, stems, and in total plants increased linearly with level of N fertilization, whereas a quadratic relationship described the amount of N contained in the fruit (maximum with 202 kg·ha–1). Quadratic relationships occurred between rate of fertilization and leaf weight, stem weight, total plant weight, marketable yield, and total yield in the spring study, with maximum values at 134 or 202 kg·ha–1 rates of N fertilization. In the fall crop, fewer significant relationships occurred between dependent variables and rate of N fertilization, and coefficients of determination tended to be much lower than in the spring study. The fraction of N in leaves, stems, and roots (fall study only) was influenced by N fertilization. Effects of N fertilization on the fraction of C partitioned to any plant part was either nonsignificant or significant at P = 0.05. Total yield was related to N fertilization in a quadratic manner, but marketable yield was significantly affected only in the spring study. In both studies, increasing the rate of N fertilization reduced the C: N linearly for all tissues. In all cases, the quantity of N partitioned to vegetative tissue was at least 65% of that partitioned to the fruit, and the quantity of C in the plant was at least 74% of that in the fruit. In conclusion, although N fertilization above 202 kg·ha–1 generally increased the concentration and total amount of N in vegetative tissues, it did not increase yield. Also, the highest rate of N fertilization (269 kg·ha–1) resulted in a much lower efficiency of applied N [defined as: (N plant + N fruit)/N applied], and a much higher level of residual soil nitrate-N.

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T. Caruso, P. Inglese, M. Sidari, and F. Sottile

Seasonal development of leaf area, leaf area index (LAI), dry matter, and carbohydrate content were measured from harvest 1992 to harvest 1993 in above-ground components of `Flordaprince' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees grafted on GF 677 (Prunus persica × Prunus amygdalus) and MrS 2/5 (Prunus cerasifera free pollinated) rootstocks, which widely differ in vigor. Whole trees were separated into fruit, leaves, shoots, 1-year-old wood and >1-year-old wood. Sampling dates were coincident with key fruit and tree developmental stages: dormancy, fruit set, pit hardening, and fruit harvest. Rootstock modified the vegetative vigor of the tree, the seasonal partitioning of dry matter, and starch content in above-ground components. Leaf area, LAI, and total above-ground dry matter were twice as high in the most vigorous combination (`Flordaprince'/GF 677), which gave the highest yield, but had the lowest harvest index. Rootstock vigor did not affect soluble sugar concentration in any of the canopy components. Starch content was greatest during dormancy and in the oldest wood of GF 677 trees. During fruit development, starch content rapidly decreased in 1-year-old wood and perennial components; at pit hardening it was four times greater in MrS 2/5 than in GF 677 trees. The vegetative-to-fruit dry mass ratio by pit hardening was 3:1 for MrS 2/5 and 9:1 for GF 677 trees. Competition with shoot growth apparently reduced fruit growth, particularly during Stage I and Stage II, as fruit size at harvest was significantly lower (17%) in GF 677 than in MrS 2/5 trees.

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Donald J. Garrot Jr., Michael W. Kilby, Delmar D. Fangmeier, Stephen H. Husman, and Andrew E. Ralowicz

The crop water stress index (CWSI), based on the relationship between the canopy temperature of a well-watered plant in full sunlight and the atmospheric water content, numerically quantifies water stress. A 4-year study was established to determine the long-term effect of water application levels on production, nut quality characteristics, and growth of pecans [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch cv. Western Schley]. Highest yields were attained when trees were relatively nonstressed (CWSI ≤ 0.08). Trees subjected to moderate water stress before irrigation (CWSI ≥ 0.20) showed reduced yield, nut weight, and tree growth, although water-use efficiency increased. With water management practices resulting in maximum yield, nut size, and tree growth (CWSI ≤ 0.08), tree water use varied up to 44% in the same orchard, depending on crop load and yearly climatic variations.

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Anita Solar and Franci Štampar

article summarizes data collected over 8 years (2000–07). At the end of the observation period, the heights and the widths of the plants were measured. Finally, cumulative yield/plant (CY), trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), and yield efficiency (YE) were

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Frank Kappel, Michel Bouthillier, and Rob Brownlee

`Sweetheart' sweet cherry trees (Prunus avium L.) were summer-pruned for four summers (1991-94) either before or after harvest and at two levels, removing 1/3 or 2/3 of current-season growth by heading cuts. In an additional postharvest treatment, some current-season growth was removed by thinning cuts. The preharvest 1/3 treatment had the highest cumulative yield during the experiment. Higher yields were obtained following preharvest than postharvest treatments, and following less severe treatments (removing 1/3 of current-season growth) than more severe (removing 2/3) treatments. These increased yields were for the early stages of orchard production. Average fruit mass was not affected by any of the treatments. The summer-pruned trees had smaller trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) increments over the trial and their final TCSA was smaller than that of the control trees.

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Chenggang Wang, Rolf Färe, and Clark F. Seavert

In this paper we analyze the sources of variation in revenue per unit of trunk cross-sectional area (TCA) across a 0.87-ha block of 272 pear (Pyrus communis L.) trees in 2003. Revenue capacity efficiency associated with TCA provides an overall measure of nutrient deficiency and revenue inefficiency caused by environmental constraints in the fruit production process. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) is adopted to estimate revenue capacity efficiency and its components. The deficiencies of macro- and micronutrients are measured and optimal nutrient levels computed for each individual tree. These measures are aggregated for comparing between grids and between rootstocks.

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Bruno Razeto, Gabino Reginato, and Sergio Rojas

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) belongs to the subfamily Pomoideae, and is an evergreen fruit tree which blooms in fall. Its inflorescence is a panicle. To attain commercial fruit size fruit thinning is done by hand. A chemical thinning trial was performed during the 1999-2000 growing season in Peumo, Cachapoal County, Sixth Region, Chile. Sixteen-year-old `Golden Nugget' loquat trees were treated with naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) at rates of 70, 140, and 280 g·ha-1 (1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 oz/acre), split into two or three applications beginning at early fruit set followed with sprays, 13 and/or 28 days later. Each treatment was applied to four randomly selected trees. At harvest, fruit number was measured in four panicles per tree and in the whole tree. NAA produced a thinning effect closely related to dose, with the highest doses inducing both highest flower thinning and the largest size of the fruit, but the lowest yield per tree. Lower doses produced fruit size and yield similar to those of hand-thinned check trees. Fruit load, expressed as trunk cross sectional area (TCSA), reached 1.8 to 9.1 fruit/cm2 TCSA (11.6 to 58.7 fruit/inch2 TCSA) in treated trees in comparison to 20 fruit/cm2 TCSA (121 fruit/inch2 TCSA) of the nontreated trees. NAA treatments did not affect the number of seeds per fruit. Total dose of 140 g·ha-1 NAA was the most effective in reducing fruit number, whether split into two or three applications. Fruit development seemed to conform to a double sigmoid curve, with a high rate of growth during fall, a lower one through the winter, in order to recover the growth rate in spring until maturity.

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Edward L. Proebsting, David Ophardt, William E. Howell, Gaylord I. Mink, and Kim D. Patten

Thirty-five `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) clones were collected, primarily from old commercial orchards in central Washington; propagated on P. mahaleb L. rootstock; and their horticultural performance was evaluated. Nine of the 35 clones were not infected with the common pollen-borne ilarviruses prunus necrotic ringspot virus and prune dwarf virus—four of the clones after decades of exposure in commercial orchards. As a group, the nine virus-free clones produced larger trees with earlier fruit maturity and less rain cracking, but softer fruit, than did the 26 infected clones. These data challenge the general assumption that the presence of one or both of these ilarviruses is always detrimental. This assumption has driven development of many valuable virus certification programs and the adoption of virus-free trees as the standard for commercial fruit growing in most states.

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Terence L. Robinson and Alan N. Lakso

Bases of orchard productivity were evaluated in four 10-year-old apple orchard systems (`Empire' and `Redchief Delicious' Malus domestics Borkh. on slender spindle/M.9, Y-trellis/M.26, central leader/M.9/MM.111, and central leader/M.7a). Trunk cross-sectional areas (TCA), canopy dimension and volume, and light interception were measured. Canopy dimension and canopy volume were found to be relatively poor estimators of orchard light interception or yield, especially for the restricted canopy of the Y-trellis. TCA was correlated to both percentage of photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) intercepted and yields. Total light interception during the 7th to the 10th years showed the best correlation with yields of the different systems and explained most of the yield variations among systems. Average light interception was highest with the Y-trellis/M.26 system of both cultivars and approached 70% of available PAR with `Empire'. The higher light interception of this system was the result of canopy architecture that allowed the tree canopy to grow over the tractor alleys. The central leader/M.7a had the lowest light interception with both cultivars. The efficiency of converting light energy into fruit (conversion efficiency = fruit yield/light intercepted) was significantly higher for the Y-trellis/M.26 system than for the slender spindle/M.9 or central leader/M.9/MM.111 systems. The central leader/M.7a system bad the lowest conversion efficiency. An index of partitioning was calculated as the kilograms of fruit per square centimeter increase in TCA. The slender spindle/M.9 system had significantly higher partitioning index than the Y-trellis/M.26 or central leader/M.9/MM.111. The central leader/M.7a system had the lowest partitioning index. The higher conversion efficiency of the Y/M.26 system was not due to increased partitioning to the fruit; however, the basis for the greater efficiency is unknown. The poor conversion efficiency of the central leader/M.7a was mostly due to low partitioning to the fruit. The Y-trellis/M.26 system was found to be the most efficient in both intercepting PAR and converting that energy into fruit.