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M. Bepete and A.N. Lakso

To determine relative dry-matter partitioning to early-season growth of extension shoots vs. fruits under competitive conditions in the shade, heavily cropping branch sections of `Empire' apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) were girdled and shaded to 15%, 40%, and 60% of available light for 9 days, while control branches were girdled and fully exposed. Treatments were applied at both 17 and 27 days after bloom, when fruit diameters averaged 13 and 23 mm, and the number of unfolded leaves on extension shoots averaged 13 and 19, respectively. Fruit diameters, extension shoot lengths, and numbers of unfolded leaves were monitored on the treated branches. Shoot growth was not affected by shading at either growth stage. Fruit growth rate was similar at 100% and 60% available light, but declined 25% at 40% available light and 50% at 15% available light. These results indicate that shoot growth has priority over fruit growth for partitioning in light-limiting conditions early in the season.

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L. Corelli Grappadelli, A.N. Lakso and J.A. Flore

The partitioning of photosynthates labeled by 14CO2 in exposed and shaded `Empire' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) branches was examined at 1, 3, 5, and 10 weeks after bloom. Extension shoots, nonfruiting spurs, or fruiting spurs were labeled separately to examine which shoot types exported to the fruit at each time. The general partitioning patterns were observed with autoradiography, while label accumulation in fruit was determined by oxidation and scintillation counting. At each treatment time, half of the branches was preconditioned with artificial shade (to 35% full light) for 48 hours before labeling and returned to the shade for a 2-day translocation period. One and 3 weeks after bloom, extension shoots showed little export to fruit; nonfruiting and vigorous fruiting spurs exported label to weak spurs and extension shoot tips. Shade had no major effect on partitioning patterns at 1 and 10 weeks, but essentially eliminated export from extension shoots at 3 weeks and greatly reduced export to fruit 5 weeks after bloom, as observed on the autoradiograms. At 5 weeks after bloom, the shading effect was equal to a 2-week delay in export. By 10 weeks after bloom, all shoot types were exporting most of the 14C fixed to fruit. The photosynthate support of the fruit before fruit set seemed to strongly depend on the spur canopy, especially when the extension shoots were exposed to low light.

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D.W. Greene*, A.N. Lakso and T.L. Robinson

Several thinning experiments were initiated in 2003 to test the hypothesis that monitoring fruit growth is an appropriate and accurate method to predict final fruit set early enough to apply supplemental thinners if appropriate. A total of eight thinning treatments were applied in Massachusetts and New York. On the day of thinner application 70 to 100 spurs were tagged on 4-8 trees (replications). All fruit within a spur were individually identified and fruit were measured. At 2 to 3 day intervals fruit diameter was measured at a designated point on the fruit. Growth rate of the fastest growing 20 fruit on the untreated trees was used as the criteria to determine growth rate of fruit that would persist to harvest. A fruit on a treated tree was predicted to abscise if growth rate slowed to 50% or less of the growth rate of the 20 fastest growing fruit on untreated trees. Cold weather in 2003 following thinner application slowed the response time to thinners. Thinning treatments were applied to Delicious, Golden Delicious, McIntosh, and Gala at 7-9-mm stage. BA, carbaryl, and combinations of NAA and carbaryl were used. In Massachusetts accuracy of prediction of final fruit set at 7-11 days after application ranged from 87% to 100% with and average of 95% accuracy compared to final observed drop at the end of June drop in July. In Geneva, N.Y., the temperature was so unseasonably cold following application that prediction of final set at 7 to 11 days after application was between 68% and 79% with an average of 74% accuracy. We conclude that prediction of final fruit set following growth rate of individual fruit shows promise as an accurate predictor of final fruit set early enough to apply supplemental thinners if appropriate.

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T. L. Robinson, W. C Stiles and A. N. Lakso

In two field studies with `Redchief Delicious'/MM.106, 'Empire'/M.9/MM.106 and 'Mutsu'/M.9/MM. 106 trees on fertile silt loam soils, trickle irrigation increased vegetative growth during the first three years and resulted in a 16%-20% increase in cumulative yield over the first five years. When fertilizer was injected into the irrigation water weekly from mid-April until the end of June, tree growth was further increased and cumulative yield was improved an additional 11%-15% for a total of 27%-35% greater yield than the non-irrigated trees. In these studies, ground fertilization did not improve growth or yield unless trickle irrigation was also applied. However, ground fertilization was not as effective as fertigation.

Irrigation and fertigation increased the dry weight of roots by 23% and that of shoots by 36% in the first year resulting in a 10% reduction in the root/shoot ratio. Total tree dry weight was increased by 30% if trees were planted early (April 14) but only 14% if trees were planted late (June 10).

Early planting resulted in 17% greater cumulative yield than trees planted late. Initial tree caliper also had a significant effect on early growth and yield with large caliper trees yielding 12% more than the small caliper trees. The interaction of planting date, tree caliper and fertigation resulted in a 50%-70% increase in yield during the first five years.

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R.M. Pool, R.M. Dunst and A.N. Lakso

In two 4-year studies, `Concord' (Vitis labruscana, Bailey) cane pruning weight, yield, and soluble solids content were similar for vines growing under herbicide and cultivation treatments. In a vineyard with shallow soil, vines grown under mulch had a significantly greater increase in cane pruning weight than did vines grown with sod middles. Growth suppression of sod-managed vines occurred only in relatively dry years. While there was annual variation in vine response to herbicide and cultivation treatments, the cumulative responses over the 4-year study were similar for these treatments. A second vineyard where soil was less restrictive for root growth did not respond to the replacement of clean cultivation with herbicide treatments. In both experiments, there was no apparent advantage of two instead of a single herbicide application, and there was no difference between the budbreak, as opposed to bloom timing, of herbicide application.

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A.N. Lakso, J.N. Wünsche, J.W. Palmer and L. Corelli Grappadelli

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Georgios Psarras, Ian A. Merwin, Alan N. Lakso and John A. Ray

A 2-year field study of `Mutsu' apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] on `Malling 9' (M.9) rootstock was conducted to observe root growth in situ, and compare patterns of root growth, root maturation and turnover rates, and soil-root respiration. Rhizosphere respiration was monitored with a portable chamber connected to an infrared gas analyzer; root emergence, browning, and turnover rates were measured by direct observation through minirhizotron tubes inserted in the root zone. Negligible root growth was observed before the onset of shoot growth in mid-May. In both years, a main peak of new root emergence in late June and early July coincided partially with major phases of shoot and fruit growth. A smaller peak of root emergence during August to September 1997 consisted primarily of new roots at 20 to 45 cm soil depths. Most roots remained <1 mm in diameter and developed in the upper 25 cm soil profile; no roots were observed at any time below 50 cm, due to a compacted soil layer at that depth. The cumulative survivorship of new roots was 38% in 1996 and 64% in 1997, and 50% of emergent white roots turned brown or senesced within 26 days in 1996 and 19 days in 1997. Root turnover rates were highest in mid-August both years. Rhizosphere respiration was correlated (r 2 = 0.36 and 0.59, P = 0.01 and 0.004) with soil temperatures in 1996 and 1997, with Q10 values of 2.3 in both years. The Q10 for root-dependent respiration (the difference between soil only and combined soil-root respiration) in 1997 was 3.1, indicating that roots were more sensitive than soil microflora to soil temperature. The temporal overlap of high rates of shoot, root and fruit growth from late May to mid-July suggests this is a critical period for resource allocations and competition in temperate zone apple trees.

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A.H.D. Francesconi, A.N. Lakso, J.P. Nyrop, J. Barnard and S.S. Denning

The hypothesis that carbon balance is the basis for differences in responses by lightly and normally cropped apple trees to European red mite (ERM) [Panonychus ulmi (Koch)] damage was tested. Mature `Starkrimson Delicious' (Malus domestica Borkh.)/M.26 apple trees were hand-thinned to light (125 fruit/tree, about 20 t/ha) or normal (300 fruit/tree, about 40 t/ha) target crop levels and infested with low [<100 cumulative mite-days (CMD)], medium (400 to 1000 CMD) or high (>1000 CMD) target levels of ERM. A range of crop loads and CMD was obtained. Mite population density, fruit growth, leaf and whole-canopy net CO2 exchange rates (NCER) were measured throughout the growing season of 1994. Leaf area and vegetative growth per tree were also measured. Yield and final mean fruit size were determined at harvest. Return bloom and fruiting were determined the following year. Total shoot length per tree was not affected by crop load or mite damage. ERM reduced leaf and whole-canopy NCER. Normally cropped trees showed fruit weight reduction earlier and more severely than lightly cropped trees with high mite injury. Variation in final fruit weight, return bloom and return fruiting was much better related to whole-canopy NCER per fruit than to CMD.

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Terence L. Robinson, William F. Millier, James A. Throop, Stephen G. Carpenter and Alan N. Lakso

Mature `Empire' and `Redchief Delicious' apple trees (Malus domestica Borkh.) trained to a Y-shaped trellis (Y/M.26) or trained as pyramid-shaped central leaders (CL/M.7) were mechanically harvested with the Cornell trunk recoil-impact shaker during 4 years. With `Empire', fruit removal from the Y/M.26 trees (85% to 90%) was significantly less than from the CL/M.7 trees (95% to 97%). With `Delicious' there were no differences in fruit removal (90% to 95%) between the two tree forms in any year. When the catching pad was on the ground, fruit grade based on damage was only slightly better for the Y/M.26 trees than for the CL/M.7 trees. When the catching pad was raised up near the Y/M.26 canopy, fruit grade was significantly improved for the Y/M.26 trees and was better than the CL/M.7 trees. Fruit grade for both cultivars ranged from 83% to 94% Extra Fancy with 5% to 16% culls for the Y/M.26 trees and from 74% to 88% Extra Fancy and 11% to 21% culls for the CL/M.7 trees. Skin punctures, skin breaks, and number of large and small bruises were lower and the percentage of nondamaged fruit was higher with the Y/M.26 trees when the pads were close to the canopy than when the pads were on the ground. The CL/M.7 trees had higher levels of all types of fruit damage than did the Y/M.26 trees. Damaged fruit from the CL/M.7 trees was mainly from the top half of the tree, while fruit from lower-tier scaffold branches had low levels of damage. Mechanically harvested fruit from the Y/M.26 trees had lower incidences of fruit rot and flesh breakdown after a 6-month storage period than did fruit from the CL/M.7 trees. Stem pulling was high with both systems and averaged 60% for `Delicious' and 30% for `Empire'. The advantage of the single plane Y-trellis system for mechanical harvesting appears to be that the catching pads can be placed close to the fruit, thereby reducing fruit damage.

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A.N. Lakso, G.B. Mattii, J.P. Nyrop and S.S. Denning

The hypothesis was tested that effects of late-season European Red Mite (ERM) [Panonychus ulmi (Koch)] injury on apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) fruit development are better explained by carbon physiology than by pest densities. Midseason ERM populations were allowed to develop in mature semi-dwarf `Starkrimson Delicious'/M26 trees with moderately heavy crops, then were controlled with miticides at different mite-day (activity of one mite per leaf for 1 day) levels as estimated by weekly leaf sampling. The range of final mite-days was from 250 to 2100 on individual trees. Seasonal fruit growth patterns were monitored. Diurnal whole-canopy net CO2 exchange rate (NCER) was measured in eight clear flexible balloon whole-canopy chambers on several dates before and after mite infestations. Mite injury reduced fruit growth rates. Leaf and whole-canopy NCER were reduced similarly. Late season fruit growth and final fruit size were correlated with accumulated mite-days, but were better correlated to whole-canopy NCER per fruit. Fruit firmness, color, soluble solids and starch ratings showed no correlation to mite-days. Number of flower clusters per tree and final fruit per tree the following year were not related to accumulated mite-days, but final fruit per tree the following year were better correlated to whole-canopy NCER per fruit. These results generally supported the hypothesis.