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  • Author or Editor: Gregory G. Clarke x
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Organic apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) growers lack effective strategies to manage preharvest drop. For susceptible cultivars, yield losses caused by preharvest drop can exceed 30% at the beginning of harvest. To address this issue, a formulation of aminoethoxyvinylglyine (AVG) designed for organic use was developed and compared with a commercially available AVG formulation. We evaluated the effects and interactions of the AVG formulation and application number on preharvest drop and fruit maturity in 2017 and 2018. We selected 30 pairs of mature ‘Oregon Spur II Red Delicious’/‘M. 111’ trees planted at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC, USA. Trees were planted with spacing of 2.7 × 6.1 m, trained to a central leader, and received plant protectant sprays that adhered to local recommendations throughout the growing season. Both AVG formulations were applied at 132 mg⋅L−1 at 3 or 3 + 1 weeks before the anticipated harvest. An untreated control was also included for comparison. The experiment had six replicates and a randomized complete block design with a 2 × 2 augmented factorial treatment structure. A one-way analysis of variance was performed and single degree of freedom contrasts were used to compare treatment groups of interest. During both years, organic and conventional AVG were equally effective for reducing preharvest drop and delaying fruit softening and starch hydrolysis at harvest. During one year, increasing the number of applications of AVG reduced cumulative fruit drop, delayed fruit softening at harvest, and reduced internal ethylene concentrations. Inconsistencies in responses across years may be explained, in part, by abnormally warm temperatures observed in 2018. AVG approved for organic use appears to be a promising preharvest drop management technology with efficacy similar to that of conventional AVG.

Open Access