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- Author or Editor: Ed Stover x
Bloom in individual citrus (Citrus) trees often continues for more than 1 month in south Florida, with even greater bloom duration within most orchard blocks because of variation in bloom timing between trees. Prolonged bloom contributes to variable fruit maturity as harvest approaches and increases severity of postbloom fruit drop (PFD) disease (caused by Colletotrichum acutatum). Hydrogen cyanamide (cyanamide) has been effective in accelerating bloom in various deciduous fruits, and its potential use in citrus was investigated in this preliminary study. Cyanamide was applied at a range of concentrations, from 0% to 1.0% a.i., to potted trees of six citrus types reflecting fairly broad diversity in commercial citrus that was readily available as seed [alemow (Citrus macrophylla), ‘Duncan’ grapefruit (Citrus paradisi), sour orange (Citrus aurantium), ‘Smooth Flat Seville’ sour orange hybrid (C. aurantium hybrid), ‘Swingle’ citrumelo (C. paradisi × Poncirus trifoliata), and ‘Sun Chu Sha’ mandarin (Citrus reticulata)] in Dec. 1999 while trees were quiescent. Phytotoxicity increased with cyanamide rate, with some damage at 0.125% cyanamide on most tested plants, and large variation among citrus types. All cyanamide rates hastened flushing. Airblast application of cyanamide (0, 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.10%) was made to mature trees of ‘Valencia’ and ‘Navel’ sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) in Ft. Pierce, FL, on 27 Jan. 2000. On 15 Feb. and 28 Feb. additional trees received cyanamide at 0.05%. There was considerable defoliation, which increased linearly with cyanamide rate. Flushing and flowering were unaffected by cyanamide compared with controls except in February where cyanamide applied at 0.05% increased flowers per tree in ‘Valencia’ sweet orange, and in contrast, 0.1% cyanamide on 27 Jan. reduced ‘Navel’ sweet orange flowering. Cyanamide application to ‘Valencia’ sweet orange on 28 Feb., after initial flowering but 16 days before peak bloom, significantly reduced yield per tree but there were no other effects on cropping. In these trials, cyanamide was not an effective agent for hastening bloom in south Florida citrus with applications late January through February. Further work is needed to determine whether December applications of cyanamide to trees in the field may be more effective in concentrating subsequent flush and bloom.
Two years of field experiments were conducted in eastern New York to evaluate the efficacy of a multi-step thinning approach on reducing crop load (no. fruit per cm2 trunk cross-sectional area) and increasing fruit size of 'Empire' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). Applications of Endothall (ET) at 80% bloom, NAA + carbaryl (CB) at petal fall (PF), and Accel™ + CB at 10 mm king fruitlet diameter (KFD), alone and in all combinations, were compared to a nonthinned control and to the application of NAA + CB at 10 mm KFD (commercial standard). In both 1996 and 1997, orthogonal contrasts indicated the multi-step treatment significantly increased fruit size, reduced cropload, and reduced yield compared to single applications. Effects on cropload of consecutive treatments were largely predicted by multiplying effects of individual treatments. Although all thinning treatments except for NAA + CB at PF in 1997 significantly reduced cropload, no single treatment thinned sufficiently to ensure good return bloom. Compared to NAA + CB at 10 mm KFD, multi-step thinning with NAA + CB at PF followed by Accel™ + CB at 10 mm KFD produced bigger fruits in both years, and resulted in a higher percentage of spurs carrying a single fruit in 1996. When fruit size was evaluated after removing the effect of cropload (cropload adjusted fruit weight), NAA + CB at PF, Accel™ + CB at 10 mm, and the two applied sequentially, resulted in greater cropload adjusted fruit weight than the nonthinned control in both years, whereas NAA + CB at 10 mm did not. Contrast analysis of treatments with and without ET showed no significant effect of including ET on fruit size, though total cropload was reduced at P = 0.10 and total yield was reduced (P = 0.03 in 1996 and P = 0.12 in 1997). No deleterious effects from multi-step treatments have been observed. All thinning treatments significantly increased return bloom in 1996 and 1997 compared to the control with little difference observed between treatments. Chemical names used: naphthalene acetic acid (NAA); 1-naphthyl-N-methylcarbamate [carbaryl (CB)]; 6-benzyladenine [BA (Accel™)]; 7-oxabicyclo (2,2,1) heptane-2,3 dicarboxylic acid [ET (Endothall™)]
Wind-induced blemishing known as windscar and lesions from the disease melanose (caused by Diaporthe citri) are two of the most important causes of fresh grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) cullage in Florida. Copper hydroxide fungicides are the primary means of controlling melanose, but high air velocities from passing sprayers have been suspected of increasing windscar. In 1998 and 1999, airblast applications of Cu(OH)2 (1.7 kg·ha-1 Cu) were made at a range of early fruit development stages to a fresh grapefruit orchard in the Indian River region of Florida. These applications supplemented aerial sprays of Cu(OH)2 that were made uniformly across the entire experimental site at biweekly intervals beginning near full bloom. During the commercial harvest period fruit were sampled from three regions (interior, upper exterior, and lower exterior) of each treatment tree and were evaluated for percentage of fruit surface covered by windscar and severity of melanose. Airblast applications did not affect windscar in either year, but windscar was significantly greater from the upper exterior of the canopy, which is likely to experience the highest natural wind velocities. From these data, it appears unlikely that airblast applications significantly contribute to windscar of Indian River grapefruit. In 1998, no trees receiving airblast applications had significantly lower melanose incidence than the trees sprayed only via aircraft; however, trees receiving four airblast applications were scored as having higher apparent melanose on exterior samples than trees receiving most other treatments. This is consistent with high levels of Cu injury on these fruit which can superficially resemble melanose. Following treatment in 1999, trees receiving four airblast applications of Cu(OH)2 had significantly lower melanose scores than trees receiving either no or only early airblast applications, but were not significantly different from trees receiving a single spray 5.5 weeks postbloom. A computer model, which estimates Cu levels on fruit based on fruit growth, rainfall, and application parameters, indicated exterior fruit receiving four airblast sprays had >3 μg·cm-2 [Cu] for 40 days in 1998 but only 10 days in 1999, which reflects increased probability of Cu damage in 1998. It appears that aerial application supplemented by airblast merits further study as an economical means of melanose control.
The citrus disease huanglongbing (HLB) has become endemic in Florida, with estimates that greater than 80% of citrus trees are currently infected. Although there are no commercial citrus varieties with strong HLB resistance, some field tolerance has been observed in trees exposed to the disease after they were mature. There is great urgency to identify citrus which may permit economic citrus production where HLB is endemic. Therefore, the objective of this study was to assess field tolerance to HLB. To expedite the trial due to urgency, nursery trees were purchased on rootstock varieties as available. The trial included the following unbalanced scion/rootstock combinations: ‘Hamlin/Kinkoji’, ‘Hamlin/Cleopatra’, ‘Temple/Cleopatra’, ‘Fallglo/Kinkoji’, ‘Sugar Belle/Sour Orange’, ‘Tango/Kuharske’, and ‘Ruby Red/Kinkoji’, with most comparisons based solely on scion/rootstock combinations. A randomized complete block experiment was established at Fort Pierce, FL, in Sept. 2010. All trees exhibited symptoms of HLB and tested positive for the Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus (CLas) bacterium by Oct. 2012, with similar titers [directly assessed as cycle threshold (Ct) using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)] measured for all scion/rootstocks at most sample dates, but early titer development in ‘Ruby Red/Kinkoji’ was significantly lower than several other scion/rootstocks. Across all time-points, ‘Fallglo/Kinkoji’ had the lowest rating of distinctive HLB mottling and ‘Ruby Red/Kinkoji’ had the highest rating, but ‘SugarBelle/Sour Orange’ had the highest percentage of leaves affected. After 5 years, ‘SugarBelle/Sour Orange’ and ‘Tango/Kuharske’ had the greatest overall increase in trunk diameter, and were among the healthiest in overall appearance. In Oct. 2015, ‘SugarBelle/Sour Orange’ and ‘Tango/Kuharske’ trees had significantly greater fruit load (80–88 fruit/tree) followed by ‘Temple/Cleopatra’ and ‘Fallglo/Kinkoji’ (31–35 fruit/tree) while ‘Hamlin/Kinkoji’, ‘Hamlin/Cleopatra’, and ‘Ruby Red/Kinkoji’ produced less than 20 fruit per tree. Despite becoming infected by CLas in less than 2 years after planting, the trees continued to grow and all scion/rootstocks displayed increasing fruit production, although very low in ‘Hamlin/Kinkoji’, ‘Hamlin/Cleopatra’, and ‘Ruby Red/Kinkoji’. Growth and fruit production in the highest performing scion/rootstocks were likely less than would be expected for healthy trees, but these results are promising, with markedly better response of some scion/rootstocks with mandarin hybrid scions compared with trees with sweet orange or grapefruit scions. Larger fully replicated trials are underway. It is noteworthy that the most pronounced HLB symptoms and higher early pathogen titer, which are the two criteria most widely used in assessing HLB resistance, were not associated with the lowest growth and cropping, and focus on early symptomatic traits when screening for resistance may obscure important disease tolerance.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture citrus scion breeding program is urgently working on developing huanglongbing (HLB; pathogen Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus)-tolerant cultivars with excellent fruit quality and productivity when HLB-affected. The slow process of assessing new citrus hybrids is a major impediment to delivery of these much-needed cultivars. We generate thousands of hybrids each year, germinate the seedlings, grow them for 2 years in the greenhouse, plant them at high density in a field where the disease HLB is abundant, grow them for 5 to 10 years, and make selections based on tree performance and fruit quality of these HLB-affected trees. Based on promising reports of accelerated citrus growth when grown in a metallized reflective mulch (MRM) system, we tested the hypothesis that the MRM system may accelerate growth and selection of new hybrid seedlings compared with conventional soil culture (CSC). In the MRM system, tree rows are covered with a layer of metallized plastic film and drip irrigation is installed beneath the plastic. In 2 years of analysis, tree canopy volume was significantly greater with MRM in 2020 (27% greater than CSC) but not in 2021, and MRM tree height was greater in 2021 (7% greater than CSC). Mortality was significantly greater with MRM in both 2020 and 2021(in 2021: 32% vs. 17% under CSC), and MRM trees had more chlorotic leaves. Because of staff limitations, plant debris and soil were not routinely cleared from MRM, thus diminishing any benefit from the reflective surface. Better maintenance might have resulted in more sustained evidence of MRM growth benefits. With the current resource availability, the MRM system does not appear to accelerate the assessment of hybrid seedling trees.
A test population consisting of progenies of 92 seed-source genotypes (hereafter called “parent genotypes”) of Citrus and Citrus relatives in the field in east–central Florida was assessed after natural freeze events in the winters of 2010 and 2011. Eight seedlings per parent genotype were planted in a randomized complete block design; however, as a result of mortality, the number of plants assessed in some genotype groups was reduced at some or all sampling dates. The citrus diseases huanglongbing and citrus canker were endemic in the planting and may have influenced tree response to cold temperatures. Unusually low temperatures (near –4 °C each winter) for east–central Florida were experienced during the trial period. Defoliation and dieback were significantly greater in the winter of 2011 than in the winter of 2010. The winter in 2011 was preceded by a period of extraordinarily low temperatures in mid-December with no period of cool temperatures to allow trees to acclimate. In 2010 the average defoliation was 53% ± 28% and less than 13% of the trees exhibited any noticeable dieback, whereas in 2011, the average defoliation and dieback were 93% ± 17% and 51% ± 35%, respectively. Within the genus Citrus, several progenies were identified that had 16% to 24% dieback in 2011 and these were from parent genotypes C. reticulata (CRC 2590) (23%), C. sinensis (CRC 3858) (24%), C. maxima (CRC 3945) (16%), C. hassaku (CRC 3907 and 3942) (16% and 17%), C. aurantium (CRC 628 and 2717) (18% and 7%), C. taiwanica (CRC 2588) (21%), and C. neo-aurantium (C. obovoidea + C. unshiu graft chimera) (CRC 3816) (23%). Within other genera in the Aurantiodeae, Poncirus trifoliata (CRCs 301, 3957, 3549, and 4007), Severinia buxifolia (CRC 1497), Bergera koenigii (CRC 3165), and Glycosmis pentaphylla (CRC 3285) had the least amount of dieback, all at less than 23%. The two species within the Toddalioideae subfamily of the Rutaceae (Casimiroa edulis and Zanthoxylum ailanthoides) had among the least amount of dieback (1% and 8%, respectively). When considered by groups, the Citrons and Australian natives had the greatest amount of dieback in 2011, 68% and 65%, respectively. The trifoliates (Poncirus and hybrids) had the least dieback, ranging from 4% to 40%. The information from this study may be useful in germplasm enhancement and Citrus breeding targeting greater cold tolerance.
Six ‘Ambersweet’-derived hybrids, similar to sweet orange fruit size, color, and taste and potential as new sweet orange cultivars, were selected to determine their fruit categorization by comparison of their volatile profiles with the parent and ‘Hamlin’, a typical sweet orange. All hybrids are at least ½ sweet orange and varying amounts of mandarin, grapefruit, Poncirus trifoliata, and sour orange in each pedigree. In total, 135 volatiles were detected in the eight hybrid lines/commercial cultivars over two harvests, and 20 compounds were detected in all samples, including terpenes (limonene, β-myrcene, α-pinene, α-terpinene, α-terpineol, and linalool), esters (ethyl butanote, ethyl pentanoate, and ethyl acetate), aldehydes (acetaldehyde, hexanal, and nonanal), and alcohols (ethanol and hexanol). Total abundance of volatiles in January-harvested fruits averaged 30% higher than for fruits of the same trees harvested in November. ‘Ambersweet’ contained the highest total amount of volatiles (mainly as a result of very high levels of monoterpenes), and of them, nootkatone and six other compounds were not detected in any of the hybrids, and some of them were also not detected in ‘Hamlin’. On the other hand, 12 compounds, including pentanal, ethyl 2-butenoate, and ethyl nonanoate, were not detected in ‘Ambersweet’ but were found in ‘Hamlin’ and some of the hybrids. Cluster analysis separated the cultivar/hybrid and harvest time combinations into three clusters. FF-1-76-50, FF-1-76-52 and January FF-1-75-55, all with the same parents (‘Ambersweet’ × FF-1-30-52), were close to FF-1-65-55, but they were separated from ‘Hamlin’ and further separated from ‘Ambersweet’. The cluster containing ‘Hamlin’ has three subclusters: January ‘Hamlin’ and November FF-1-74-14, a hybrid with one-eighth P. trifoliata, which includes a slight off-flavor frequently found in P. trifoliata hybrids, independent of each other, and both were separated from a group of November ‘Hamlin’, FF-1-64-97, and FF-1-75-55. The cluster containing ‘Ambersweet’ included January FF-1-64-97. A principle component analysis (PCA) separated ‘Ambersweet’ from all hybrids and ‘Hamlin’ along the PC1 axis and separated November harvests from January harvests along PC2. This volatile analysis supports the classification of the hybrids as sweet orange.
Clonal woody crop germplasm collections often originate and are grown in distinct geographical locations. Because the degree of cold-hardiness is known to be a factor in the successful use of dormant bud cryopreservation for Malus, it was suggested that material from relatively warmer climates would not respond to cryopreservation as well as material from colder environments. To test this hypothesis, the effect of growing provenance on cryosurvival of dormant buds from three Malus (apple) cultivars grown in three locations (Geneva, NY; Davis, CA; and Corvallis, OR) was tested in 3 consecutive years. Dormant winter buds were harvested at the three locations, cryopreserved, and bud viability was tested by grafting. The collective 3-year mean viability for cryopreserved dormant apple buds for the three locations ranged from 63% to 81% of the buds surviving with the highest survival from the Corvallis site; however, the Geneva twigs were exposed to the lowest preharvest temperature. These results suggest that the temperature at the growing location may not hinder application of the dormant bud cryopreservation method with Malus to the extent previously speculated.