The effect of climate was observed on fruit quality of four low-chill peach cultivars (Flordaprince, Flordaglo, UFGold, and TropicBeauty). The cultivars were evaluated in three locations (north–central, central, and southwest Florida). Soluble solids content (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), SSC:TA ratio, fruit weight, blush, and fruit development period (FDP) were determined. Longer FDPs were observed at the north–central location than at the southwest location. Fruit development and the expression of quality attributes were affected by location during fruit growth with higher color and SSC and shorter FDP occurring under warmer conditions. Within locations, ‘UFGold’ had the shortest FDP except at the southwest location where its chilling requirement may not have been met. At the central and southwest locations, ‘UFGold’ also tended to have lower TA values and higher SSC;TA ratios than the other cultivars.
Fruit shape of four low-chill peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] cultivars was evaluated in north-central, central, and southwest Florida. During 2005, measurements were taken at all locations for cheek diameter, suture diameter, and tip protrusion. A suture deformation index was calculated (suture diameter/cheek diameter) to determine suture deformation. Fruit had more protruding tips and suture deformation was more pronounced at the southwest location than at the north-central or central locations. Overall, ‘TropicBeauty’ had more protruding tips than the other cultivars. It was concluded that warmer temperatures at the southwest location during fruit development affected fruit shape by increasing the incidence of protruding tips and pronounced sutures.
The effect of climate was observed on the relative frequency of vegetative and floral buds in four low-chill peach cultivars (‘Flordaprince’, ‘Flordaglo’, ‘UFGold’, and ‘TropicBeauty’). The trees were planted in north–central, central, and southwest Florida. The percentage of blind nodes, mixed nodes (nodes with vegetative and floral buds), and nodes with only vegetative buds were determined from three representative shoots per tree at each location. In general, higher percentages of blind nodes were observed in central and southwest Florida and higher percentages of mixed nodes were observed in north–central Florida. ‘TropicBeauty’ tended to have a greater percentage of blind nodes than the other cultivars. Higher temperatures during bud formation most likely contributed to the increased amounts of blind nodes observed in the central and southwest locations and to the reduced amounts of mixed nodes. However, stresses imposed by bacterial spot and hurricanes may have contributed to the higher incidence of blind nodes in 2005. Our results indicate that certain genotypes have a predisposition for the formation of blind nodes. Advanced selections having low chilling requirements and potentially being adapted to a wide diversity of tropical or subtropical climates need to be tested in multiple locations to evaluate blind node formation.