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  • Author or Editor: Guangyan Zhong x
  • HortScience x
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The effect of annual defoliation over two consecutive years on fruit yield, juice quality, leaf size, and number was examined in 11-year-old `Hamlin' and 13-year-old `Valencia' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] trees. Removal of up to 50% of the leaves in late November had no effect on fruit number, fruit weight, fruit yield, soluble solids yield, juice °Brix, and °Brix: acid ratio of juice in `Hamlin' oranges. In `Valencia' oranges, removal of up to 50% of the leaves in late March also did not affect °Brix or the °Brix: acid ratio of the juice, but decreased fruit yield and soluble solids yield. Leaf size was reduced by removal of 50% of the leaves in both cultivars. Removal of up to 50% leaves in late November had no significant influence on net CO2 assimilation (aCO2) of the subsequent spring flush leaves in early May in `Hamlin' oranges, whereas aCO2 of `Valencia' spring flush leaves in early May increased linearly with increasing levels of defoliation in late March. The results indicate that fruit yield, fruit quality, leaf size, and number were not negatively impacted when annual defoliations did not exceed 25% of the total canopy leaf area for `Valencia' and `Hamlin' oranges for two consecutive years. Overall, in whole `Hamlin' or `Valencia' orange trees, fruit weight increased linearly with increasing ratio of leaf area to fruit, suggesting that fruit enlargement depends on available photosynthate and can be limited by leaf area.

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