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  • Author or Editor: Steven J. McArtney x
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A series of experiments were undertaken to compare the effects of individual and combined applications of GA4+7 and prohexadione-Ca (P-Ca) on scarf skin and fruit quality parameters on red strains of `Rome Beauty' and `Gala' apples. Three applications of GA4+7 at 10-day intervals beginning at petal fall (PF) significantly reduced scarf skin severity in all experiments. A single application of P-Ca at PF had no effect on scarf skin in one experiment but reduced scarf skin severity in two further experiments. Combining P-Ca with the first of three GA4+7 sprays as a tank mix reduced the severity of scarf skin more effectively than either material alone in two of three experiments at P < 0.05 and in all three experiments at P < 0.10. Combining P-Ca with the first application of GA4+7 as a tank mix generally reduced scarf skin as effectively as applying P-Ca and the first GA4+7 spray two days apart, although in one experiment, greater scarf skin control was achieved when P-Ca was applied 2 days after the first GA4+7 spray. A single application of P-Ca at PF consistently reduced, and three applications of GA4+7 consistently increased, mean fruit weight at harvest compared with the control. The economic benefits as a result of reducing scarf skin severity with P-Ca and GA4+7 sprays will need to be balanced against the negative effect of P-Ca on mean fruit weight. There is no antagonism between early season P-Ca and GA4+7 sprays for scarf skin control, and P-Ca may increase the efficacy of GA4+7 sprays for scarf skin control in apple.

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Experiments were conducted to compare the effects of different preharvest and postharvest 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatment combinations on ‘Law Rome’ and ‘Golden Delicious’ apple fruit. Preharvest 1-MCP sprays had minimal effects on maturity as determined by flesh firmness, starch index, internal ethylene concentration, and soluble solids concentration. Fruit internal ethylene concentration and firmness loss after 30- to 40-days storage at 0 °C plus 7 days at 20 °C were reduced by preharvest and postharvest 1-MCP treatments. The positive effects of preharvest 1-MCP on postharvest quality of ‘Law Rome’ declined in fruit that were harvested 3 days or more after spraying, whereas preharvest 1-MCP continued to have a positive effect on postharvest fruit quality of ‘Golden Delicious’ that were harvested up to 9 days after spraying. The loss in postharvest effects of preharvest 1-MCP treatment on ‘Law Rome’ at delayed harvests was reinstated by exposing fruit to gaseous 1-MCP on the day of harvest. These findings suggest that attached apple fruit of some cultivars may be capable of rapidly generating new ethylene receptors.

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Fruit set of apple can be reduced by cloudy weather, short-term shade treatments, or application of photosynthetic inhibitors when the young fruit are ≈8 to 15 mm in diameter, indicating that fruit are sensitive to a transient carbohydrate stress during this period. We investigated the potential for S-abscisic acid (ABA) and an ABA analog [(+)-8′-acetylene ABA] to chemically thin apple fruit by causing a stomatal limitation of photosynthesis. Stomatal conductance (g S) of ‘Imperial Gala’/M.7 was reduced by 60% 3 h after application of 250 mg·L−1 ABA or 25 mg·L−1 (+)-8′-acetylene ABA. Stomatal conductance began to recover 4 days after application but did not return to control levels until 19 days after treatment. Application of 250 mg·L−1 ABA combined with 100 mg·L−1 6-benzyladenine (6-BA) when mean fruit diameter was ≈10 mm reduced fruit set of ‘Gala’/M.7 but not ‘Pink Lady™’/M.7 or ‘Morganspur Delicious’/MM.111. Fruit set of ‘Pink Lady™’/M.7 was reduced by application of 20 mg·L−1 (+)-8′-acetylene ABA + 100 mg·L−1 6-BA at full bloom or 10 mg·L−1 (+)-8′-acetylene ABA + 100 mg·L−1 6-BA at the 10-mm fruit diameter stage. Fruit set of ‘Morganspur Delicious’/MM.111 was reduced by application of 25 mg·L−1 (+)-8′-acetylene ABA, either alone or in combination with 75 mg·L−1 6-BA, at the 10-mm fruit diameter stage. ABA and (+)-8′-acetylene ABA triggered leaf abscission at rates above 250 mg·L−1 and 25 mg·L−1, respectively. Fruit set and g S data from the present studies indicate the biological activity of (+)-8′-acetylene ABA is 10-fold higher than ABA. These results suggest that ABA and (+)-8′-acetylene ABA reduced fruit set by causing a stomatal limitation in photosynthesis that resulted in a transient carbohydrate stress. Thinning responses to ABA and (+)-8′-acetylene ABA at the concentrations used in these experiments were reduced compared with standard concentrations of currently available chemical thinning agents. However, increasing the concentration of ABA or (+)-8′-acetylene ABA to levels that would achieve comparable thinning are also likely to result in unacceptable leaf abscission.

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