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Agnes M.S. Nyomora and P.H. Brown

Previous work in our laboratory demonstrated that B promotes flowering, fruit set, and yield in almond. A positive response of almond tissue B concentration, fruit set, and yield to B application was observed. Positive correlations between tissue B concentration with fruit set or yield were found when B was applied at 0–1.67 kg B/ha. An investigation was undertaken to test whether the time of B application had a significant effect on B concentration and yield in almond. Solubor (20.5% B) was applied at 0.8 and 1.67 kg B/ha during fall (September), winter (December), and spring (February) to `Butte' (pollinizer) and `Mono' (pistil donor). Results show that for most attributes, September application was more effective than spring and winter. `Butte' was more responsive to B application than `Mono'.

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Agnes M.S. Nyomora, Patrick H. Brown, and M. Freeman

Fruit set is the major determinant of productivity in almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill D.A. Webb)] where seed is the commercial product. Boron influences flowering and fruit set in a number of crops, but little has been reported on this subject in almond. Here, we investigated the effect of a fall foliar application of B on fruit set and tissue B concentration in open pollinated `Butte' and `Mono' almond over a 2-year period. Early fall B application significantly increased the vegetative, floral, and fruit tissue B concentration in the subsequent year. The greatest increase in organ B concentration was observed in flower buds, flowers, and hulls. Recent work has demonstrated that B forms a B-sorbitol complex in Prunus species. This B-sorbitol complex is phloem mobile and is transported to sink organs. Here we demonstrate that fall-applied B is absorbed by the leaf and is subsequently transported (presumably as the B-sorbitol complex) to floral buds where it is available to flowers and, hence, influences fruit set and yield. It is concluded that fall foliar-applied B is a useful fertilization strategy that can be used to optimize tissue B concentration in species in which B is phloem mobile. Boron applied at 245 and/or 490 ppm significantly increased fruit set in `Butte' and `Mono' and increased yield of `Butte' in 1994 on open-pollinated trees (yield was not determined in 1993). The highest initial and second fruit set was associated with either the 245 or 490 ppm B treatments in both cultivars and both years. This increased fruit set resulted in yield increases of 53% and 4%, respectively, for `Butte' and `Mono'. Of the two cultivars, `Butte', which had lower tissue B concentration before B application, responded more significantly in yield to B application. Application of 735 ppm B was less effective than either 245 and 490 ppm B; however, no visual symptoms of excess B were observed.

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Agnes M.S. Nyomora, Patrick H. Brown, and Bill Krueger

Previous studies with tree species have demonstrated that foliar boron (B) promotes flowering, fruit set, and yield. However, for most species the optimum time for foliar B application has not been determined. This investigation was undertaken to study the effects of time and rate of B application on almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill D.A. Webb)] tissue B concentration, fruit set, and yield. Solubor (Na2B8O13.4H2O), a commercial product containing 20.5% B, was applied with a handgun sprayer either in September (3 weeks postharvest), December (dormancy), or February (budbreak) at rates of 0, 0.8, and 1.7 kg·ha-1 B to almond cv. Butte at one site (Parlier, Fresno County, Calif.), and of 0, 0.8, 1.25, 1.7, and 2.1 kg·ha-1 B on the same cultivar in August, September, or February at a second site (Orland, Glenn County, Calif.) using Borosol, a polyboronated commercial product containing 10% B. At site 1, September application was more effective in increasing tissue B concentration, fruit set, and yield than were December or February applications. The optimal rate was 0.8 to 1.7 kg·ha-1 B when applied in September. At site 2, application in 1996 and 1997 increased tissue B concentration almost linearly, especially when applied in August and February. Application at the highest rate (2.1 kg·ha-1 B) in September produced the greatest final fruit set and yield in 1996. February applications increased initial fruit set at both sites but were less effective than September applications in increasing yield. Application of B did not affect any yield variable in 1997. These results suggest that B should be applied immediately postharvest (September) for optimal effect on tissue B concentration, fruit set, and yield in almond.

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Slavko Perica, Patrick H. Brown, Joseph H. Connell, Agnes M.S. Nyomora, Christos Dordas, Hening Hu, and James Stangoulis

A 2-year field study was conducted to determine if foliar B applications prior to flowering increased fruit set in olive (Olea europaea L.) cv. Manzanillo. Boron solutions were applied (935 L·ha-1) at four concentrations (0, 246, 491, and 737 mg·L-1) to trees exhibiting no vegetative symptoms of B deficiency. Foliar B application increased both the percentage of perfect flowers and fruit set, but no effect on pollen germination was observed in either year. The increase in fruit set was not accompanied by a reduction in fruit size. The beneficial effects of foliar B application varied between years and were greater when fruit set was low. The results obtained here are in agreement with those observed in other tree species, in which foliar B applications made immediately prior to flowering or during the period of floral bud initiation significantly increased fruit set and yield. The physiological basis for this effect, however, remains unclear.