This study was initiated to determine if prebloom sprays of B, Zn, and urea would enhance cropping of apple (Malus×domestica Borkh.) after cold injury, hypothesizing that they may accelerate recovery of damaged vascular tissue. The following foliar nutrient treatments were applied prebloom to `McIntosh' and `Empire' trees at two sites in 1994 and 1995: 1) control; 2) B (22.8 mm) at half-inch-green; 3) Zn-EDTA (0.75 mm) at half-inch-green; 4) B and Zn-EDTA at half-inch-green; 5) B, Zn-EDTA, and urea (59.4 mm) at half-inch-green; 6) B and Zn-EDTA at half-inch-green, followed by B, Zn-EDTA, and urea at pink. In 1994, following a very severe winter that caused visible damage to vascular tissue, `Empire' at both sites cropped more heavily following all treatments that included both B and Zn; such treatments increased cropload by an average of 22% and 35% at the two test sites. Despite a mild winter preceding the 1995 season, prebloom nutrient treatments again increased cropping of `Empire'. In 1996, treatments included a control and a single foliar treatment (B + Zn-EDTA at half-inch-green followed by B, Zn-EDTA, and urea at pink) on `McIntosh' and `Empire' at seven orchard sites. Treatment enhanced cropping in `McIntosh' at three of the seven sites, but there was no effect on `Empire'. Factors influencing differences in response were not apparent from this study, although a complex of factors may be involved. Data for all years indicated that prebloom nutrients did not enhance spur leaf development or fruit set; such treatments probably enhance cropping by increasing retention of flower buds that would otherwise abscise before anthesis. Where cropping was increased, mean fruit weight was not reduced at P ≤ 0.05 but fruit weight was significantly less at P ≤ 0.10 in 1995. Chemical names used: boron (Solubor, disodium octaborate tetrahydrate); zinc (Zn-EDTA, zinc chelate).
`McIntosh' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) display a rapid increase in ethylene production as they ripen, resulting in more preharvest drop and accelerated softening compared with other major cultivars. Economic considerations often dictate a choice between delaying harvest to achieve color development or harvesting earlier to avoid excessive fruit softening and drop. We have evaluated the effects of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and summer pruning on this balance. Treatments were applied to trees in the Mid-Hudson region in New York state in 1995 and 1996, and a subset of treatments was applied in the Champlain Valley region in 1996. NAA, applied at 10 mg·L-1 in 1995 and 20 mg·L-1 in 1996, reduced drop on only one sample date in only one of the three trials. Ethephon at 150 mg·L-1 plus 10 mg·L-1 NAA, accelerated ripening and permitted harvest before substantial drop occurred. However, earlier harvest resulted in smaller fruit size, and if ethephon-treated fruit were not picked within a narrow window, rapid drop ensued, and fruit developed a high senescent breakdown incidence during storage. ReTain, containing AVG, at 124 g·ha-1 a.i. delayed drop in all three trials, but its use resulted in firmer fruit after storage in only two of seven comparisons. Use of ethephon on AVG-treated trees enhanced red color but accelerated drop, although it was reduced less than when ethephon was used alone. Severe late summer pruning accelerated red color development, drop and ripening in both years of the study. AVG was more effective for management of `McIntosh' harvest in the cooler Champlain Valley region than in the Mid-Hudson Valley region. Chemical names used: naphthalene acetic acid (NAA); 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon); aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG).
Many chemical, environmental, and physiological factors have been reported to be important to apple chemical thinning, so we have been developing a multi-site and multi-year database of chemical thinning results and potentially important factors. For 3 years, we have conducted replicated thinning trials in `Empire' and `McIntosh' apple orchards at six or seven sites around New York state in different climatic regions. Different concentrations of NAA and Accel (primarily benzyladenine), NAA/carbaryl and Accel/carbaryl combinations and unthinned controls were tested with treatments applied at the 10-mm king fruit stage by airblast sprayers. Flower cluster counts, set counts, yields, fruit sizes, and other factors thought important to thinning response (orchard condition/history, weather, application conditions, etc.) were measured or estimated in each trial. Analysis of factor importance is continuing, but some general results have come from the thinning trials so far. Thinning effectiveness varied among years from poor to adequate. There have not been consistent thinner concentration responses. Commercial NAA and Accel concentrations have not thinned adequately. NAA/carbaryl and Accel/carbaryl have thinned the most. For the same crop load, trees thinned with Accel or the carbaryl combination have had better fruit size than when thinned with NAA.
`Honeycrisp' is a new apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] cultivar that has been planted extensively in North America, but the storage disorders soggy breakdown and soft scald have resulted in major fruit losses. The effects of harvest date and storage temperature on fruit quality and susceptibility of fruit to these disorders have been investigated in Michigan, New York, and Maine. Internal ethylene concentrations were variable over a wide range of harvest dates, and a rapid increase in autocatalytic ethylene production was not always apparent. The starch pattern index, soluble solids content, titratable acidity and firmness also appear to have limited use as harvest indices. Development of soggy breakdown and soft scald is associated with later harvest dates and storage of fruit at temperatures of 0 to 0.5 °C compared with higher storage temperatures. It is recommended that `Honeycrisp' be stored at 3 °C, although storage disorders still can occur at this temperature if fruit are harvested late. In addition, greasiness development may be worse at higher storage temperatures.