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  • Author or Editor: D. W. Greene x
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Multistep chemical thinning programs have been widely recommended in the eastern United States; however, adoption of bloom thinners is limited. With caustic blossom thinners, narrow effective application timings and concerns related to spring frost damage are barriers for commercial use in this region. If effective and safe, use of hormonal blossom thinners for apple would be an attractive alternative. We evaluated the effects and interactions of bloom thinners [6-benzyladenine (BA) and lime sulfur (LS, or calcium polysulfide) + stylet oil (LS+SO)] and a postbloom thinner (NAA) in the context of a multistep, carbaryl-free thinning program across three locations. Experiments were conducted in 2017 and 2018 on mature ‘Gala’ in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, USA. In four of six studies, BA at bloom increased the efficacy of postbloom NAA and reduced crop density (P < 0.08). Postbloom NAA generally increased fruit relative growth rate (RGR) and reduced crop density. However, where NAA failed to reduce crop load, there was a negative influence on RGR. BA and LS+SO increased RGR in one of six studies; however, BA was generally ineffective as a blossom thinner, whereas LS+SO was more effective. Nevertheless, BA applied at bloom may have utility as part of a multistep thinning program. As a part of a multistep thinning program, BA applied at bloom may be useful in increasing efficacy of postbloom applications, particularly when use of caustic blossom thinners is not permitted.

Open Access

Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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