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Christopher L. Owens and Eddie W. Stover

Early fruit production and control of tree size are important factors in the economic viability of high-density apple orchards. A horticultural tool permitting growers to induce terminal budset should provide greater control over the balance between vegetative growth and reproduction, increasing orchard production and profitability. With this goal, the experimental GA-biosynthesis inhibitor, BAS-125W, is being evaluated for effects on enhancing floral initiation and controlling tree size in young orchards. In nursery stock, the effect of inducing earlier terminal budset is also being studied for influence on storage carbohydrates and performance after planting. Studies in 1996 showed that 250 ppm BAS-125W induced terminal bud set on actively growing second-leaf `Macoun', `Delicious', and `Fuji' trees. Seven application dates from 17 June to 9 Sept. were compared to determine how time of treatment would effect degree and distribution of flowering the following year. Terminal budset typically occurred 2 weeks after application, with shoot growth resuming in 4 to 5 weeks. At two dates, treatment of growing tips only was compared with entire tree application to distinguish the direct effect of GA-inhibition on floral initiation from the effect of redistributing photosynthate. Treatment from 17 June to 29 July significantly reduced total annual shoot growth compared to the untreated controls, while later treatments had no significant effect on shoot length. Treatments of nursery stock with BAS-125W on 1 Sept. accelerated terminal bud set by at least 7 days compared to untreated controls of both `Fuji' and `Golden Delicious'. Effects of treatments on flowering and tree growth in 1997 will be discussed.

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K.T. Morgan, J.M.S. Scholberg, T.A. Obreza, and T.A. Wheaton

Growth and nitrogen (N) accumulation relationships based on tree size, rather than age, may provide more generic information that could be used to improve sweet orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] N management. The objectives of this study were to determine how orange trees accumulate and distribute biomass and N as they grow, investigate yearly biomass and N changes in mature orange trees, determine rootstock effect on biomass and N distribution, and to develop simple mathematical models describing these relationships. Eighteen orange trees with canopy volumes ranging between 2 and 43 m3 were dissected into leaf, twig, branch, and root components, and the dry weight and N concentration of each were measured. The N content of each tree part was calculated, and biomass and N distribution throughout each tree were determined. The total dry biomass of large (mature) trees averaged 94 kg and contained 0.79 kg N. Biomass allocation was 13% in leaves, 7% in twigs, 50% in branches/trunk, and 30% in roots. N allocation was 38% in leaves, 8% in twigs, 27% in branches/trunk, and 27% in roots. For the smallest tree, above-/below-ground distribution ratios for biomass and N were 60/40 and 75/25, respectively. All tree components accumulated biomass and N linearly as tree size increased, with the above-ground portion accumulating biomass about 2.5 times faster than the below-ground portion due mostly to branch growth. The growth models developed are currently being integrated in a decision support system for improving fertilizer use efficiency for orange trees, which will provide growers with a management tool to improve long-term N use efficiency in orange orchards.

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David R. Bryla, Thomas J. Trout, James E. Ayars, and R. Scott Johnson

A 3-year study was conducted in central California to compare the effects of furrow, microjet, surface drip, and sub surface drip irrigation on vegetative growth and early production of newly planted `Crimson Lady' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees. Furrow treatments were irrigated every 7, 14, or 21 days; microjet treatments were irrigated every 2-3, 7, or 14 days; and surface and subsurface drip (with one, two, or three buried laterals per row) treatments were irrigated when accumulated crop evapotranspiration reached 2.5 mm. The overall performance showed that trees irrigated by surface and subsurface drip were significantly larger, produced higher yields, and had higher water use efficiency than trees irrigated by microjets. In fact, more than twice as much water had to be applied to trees with microjets than to trees with drip systems in order to achieve the same amount of vegetative growth and yield. Yield and water use efficiency were also higher under surface and subsurface drip irrigation than under furrow irrigation, although tree size was similar among the treatments. Little difference was found between trees irrigated by surface and subsurface drip, except that trees irrigated with only one subsurface drip lateral were less vigorous, but not less productive, than trees irrigated by one surface drip lateral, or by two or three subsurface drip laterals. Within furrow and microjet treatments, irrigation frequency had little effect on tree development and performance with the exception that furrow irrigation every 3 weeks produced smaller trees than furrow irrigation every 1 or 2 weeks.

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C.R. Rom

Annual shoot and trunk xylem growth increment of `Starkspur Supreme' in the 1984 NC-140 uniform rootstock trial was studied of 10 selected rootstocks representing a range of tree sizes. Shoot growth was measured weekly from budbreak through harvest in each of four seasons. After 11 seasons of growth, whole trees were cut, placed in water containing diffuse fuschin dye for 30 to 60 min during mid-day. After that, a section of trunk (10 to 15 cm long) was excised at 25 cm above the graft union. Trunk xylem thickness and percent of water transport active xylem were measured. Shoot length during the study was related to both the duration and rate of growth; however, growth duration contributed more to variation among stocks. In all stocks, it appears that almost all xylem translocated water and that there was very little “plugged” or active xylem. There were no differences among stocks for the relative percentage of active xylem. Annual xylem increment width varied with stock. The vegetative growth of these trees will be discussed relative to the production efficiency of scions on these stocks.

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Warren C. Micke, Mark W. Freeman, and James T. Yeager

A replicated rootstock trial for almond was established in 1986 in the central San Joaquin Valley, a major almond growing area for this most widely planted tree crop in California. `Nonpareil', the major cultivar in California, was used for this trial with `Fritz' grown as the pollenizing cultivar. Two standard rootstocks for almond, `Nemaguard' and `Lovell' peach, were compared to two newer peach-almond hybrid rootstocks, `Bright's' and `Hansen'. After eight years both hybrid rootstocks produced significantly larger trees than the peach rootstocks, based on trunk cross-sectional area. Trees on hybrid rootstocks frequently produced greater yields than those on peach rootstocks; although, differences were not always significant. However, there were generally no significant differences in production per trunk cross-sectional area (yield efficiency). Thus, increased production by trees on hybrid rootstock was the result of larger tree size and not an inherent increase in productive efficiency of the tree itself. Since trees on hybrid rootstock should be planted further apart than those on peach, production per hectare should not be significantly increased, at least under good growing conditions as represented in this trial.

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Michael W. Kilby

The pecan is native to North America and is cultured as a major crop in both the United States and Mexico. In the early part of this century, pecans were thought of as a secondary crop grown in the southern geographic section of the United States. Increased demand for use as a nutritious food has resulted in expansion of the industry into the desert Southwest and California. Adaptive cultivars and irrigation coupled with the lack of diseases and insects has been instrumental in industry development in the West. As the industry has matured during the latter part of the century, pecan culture has improved into a strong crop enterprise business. Orchard management technique and orchard development concepts have been refined, resulting in increased production and awareness. In recent years, production in Mexico has impacted the U.S. price structure and pecan industry economy. The alternate-bearing nature of pecans also impacts prices received by growers. The aging of pecan trees has resulted in serious dilemmas, such as increased tree size and shading. This situation requires techniques such as tree thinning or hedge pruning to enhance annual production and improve nut quality. Various ramifications and parameters of these management practices will be discussed.

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A.K. Alva and T.A. Obreza

Citrus trees planted in alkaline soils typically show iron (Fe) deficiency chlorosis. Currently, Fe-EDDHA (ethylenediiminobis-2-hydroxyphenyl acetic acid) chelate is the most effective source of Fe for high pH soils. Iron humate (FeH), a by-product of the drinking water decolorization process, was compared with Fe-EDDHA for Fe deficiency correction on nonbearing `Ambersweet' orange and `Ruby Red' grapefruit Citrus paradisi Macf., and bearing `Hamlin' orange Citrus sinensis and `Flame' grapefruit trees, all on Swingle citrumelo rootstock, planted on high pH (>7.6) soils. Iron humate was applied under the tree canopy in spring at rates from 2 to 200 g Fe (nonbearing trees), or 22 to 352 g Fe (bearing trees) per tree per year. Application of FeH to nonbearing trees decreased twig dieback rating and increased flush growth, flush color rating, tree size, and leaf Fe concentration. Addition of urea or ammonium nitrate to FeH did not increase Fe availability. Iron amendments (22 g Fe per tree per year) increased fruit yield after the 1st year of application. Further increases in the rate of Fe, from 22 to 352 g Fe per tree per year as FeH, did not significantly increase tree growth, fruit yield, or fruit quality. This study demonstrated that FeH was an effective Fe source for citrus trees planted on alkaline soils.

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Victor Garcia de Cortazar and Gabino Reginato

Three different parameters were tested to estimate yield in `Royal Gala' apples. These are: a) parameters related to crop load—fruits per tree, fruits per cm2 of branch cross-sectional area, and fruits per hectare; b) parameters related with PFD interception: average fraction of PFD intercepted, total PFD intercepted during the season; and c) combination of the parameters a) and b). The data set was composed of measurements of PFD interception once a month and of yield components on various commercial apple orchards of the variety `Royal Gala' in the central zone of Chile between 2003 and 2006. The orchards were managed for high production, but there were differences of plantation distance, age, and size between them. Also, inside the orchard there were differences between trees. For the trees studied, there were variations of a factor of 10 for crop load, branch cross-sectional area, and tree size estimated as fractional interception of PFD at the beginning of the season. In spite of the big differences between trees, simple equations were fitted between yield and load parameters with coefficients of determination >0.95. Research funded by FONDECYT-Chile grant 1930695.

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James P. Romer, Jeffery K. Iles, and Cynthia L. Haynes

Crabapples (Malus spp.) are commonly planted ornamental trees in public and private landscapes. Hundreds of selections are available that represent a wide range of growth habits, ornamental traits, and varying degrees of resistance/susceptibility to disease. We distributed 1810 questionnaires in 13 states (Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and Pennsylvania) to members of either nursery and landscape associations or the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ACLA, Herndon, Va.) to identify crabapple preferences across a broad geographic region of the United States. We also were interested in learning if regional disease problems were important to green-industry professionals as they decide which crabapples to include in their inventories. Our respondent population numbered 511 (28.2% response rate). A large percentage of respondents (79.4%) said their retail clients focused mostly on fl ower color when choosing crabapples for the home landscape, while commercial clients showed slightly more interest in growth habit (32.5%) than fl ower color (28.7%). `Prairifire' was identified by respondents in all regions, except the west-central (Colorado and Utah), as the crabapple most frequently recommended to clients when tree size is not important. Respondents in the west-central region most often (48.7%) recommend the fruitless selection `Spring Snow'. Respondents in all regions, except the west-central, identified apple scab (Venturia inaequalis) as the most prevalent crabapple disease and named scab-susceptible `Radiant' as the selection most frequently discontinued.

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James R. Schupp

In 1984 trees of `Starkspur Supreme Delicious' apple (Malus domestica, Borkh) on 16 rootstocks were planted at 32 sites In Morth America according to guidelines established for cooperative testing by the North Central Regional Cooperative Project (NC--140). Tree loss and root suckering in the Maine planting have been low, similar to that of other sites. Tree size in Maine is smallest amoung all sites after eight seasons. Trees on Budagovsky 9 (B.9) rootstock were the most precocious, producing significantly higher flower numbers and yield in the third year. Other precocious rootstocks in this planting included C.6, M.26EMLA, M.7EMLA and P.l. After eight years, B.9, C.6 and M.26EMLA were the most productive amoung the dwarf trees. P.l and M.7EMLA were the most productive amoung the more vigorous stocks. Heavy croping trees on dwarf rootstocks leaned more due to hurricane winds than larger better anchored trees which lost a larger proportion of their crop. B.9, C.6 and P.1 may have potential as rootstocks for commercial apple orchards in New England.