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Cheryl R. Hampson and Anita N. Azarenko

Self-incompatibility, a genetic mechanism enforcing out crossing, is most commonly controlled by a single, multi-allelic gene, designated the S-gene. Sporophytic self-incompatibility (SSI), a form of incompatibility determined by the parent plant rather than the gametes, is present in the Brassicaceae, Compositae and other families, and also in hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.). Little is known about the molecular basis of SSI in plants other than crucifers. An S-gene cloned from Brassica oleracea (donated by Dr. June Nasrallah, Cornell University) was used to probe genomic DNA obtained from seven hazelnut genotypes. DNA hybridization was observed in cultivars `Hall's Giant' and `Willamette'. Gene similarity was estimated to be 70-80%.

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Kareen Stanich, Margaret Cliff, and Cheryl Hampson

Fruit firmness is among the most important characteristics for the quality of sweet cherries. However, little has been published on its underlying frequency distribution. This research was undertaken to examine the firmness distributions (n = 48) from six cultivars [Sandra Rose, Summit, Lapins, Skeena, Sumtare (Sweetheart™), and 13S2009 (Staccato™)], two field treatments [with or without gibberellic acid (GA)], two storage times (0 and 7 days), and two growing seasons (2013 and 2014). Fruit was sampled (n = 300) at optimal maturity and firmness was evaluated using the FirmTech2 Fruit Firmness Tester. Firmness distributions were examined using descriptive statistics: mean, median, standard deviation (sd), minimum, maximum, range, skewness, and excess kurtosis. Nonnormality was assessed using skewness and kurtosis test statistics. Exponential models were fitted to the ascending and descending portions of the distributions and the proportion of “too soft” (percentage < 2.56 N·mm−1) and “too hard” (percentage > 4.71 N·mm−1) fruit was determined. A relatively high proportion of distributions were nonnormal (16/24 to 18/24), either skewed, peaked, or both. While most skewed distributions were skewed negatively, with a higher proportion of softer fruit, the distributions for ‘Sandra Rose’ were skewed positively, with a higher proportion of firmer fruit. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed seasonal, cultivar, treatment, and storage effects among three subsets of cultivars with differing characteristic firmness. The softer early-harvest cultivars (Sandra Rose and Summit) had a higher proportion of “too soft” fruit. GA and storage treatments increased mean firmness and reduced the proportion of “too soft” fruit. The firmer late-harvest cultivars (Skeena, Sumtare, and 13S2009) had a small proportion of “too hard” fruit (0% to 19.3%). The work gained insight into the nature of the firmness distributions for sweet cherries and the type of statistics that are most appropriate for analyzing the data.

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Margaret Cliff, Katherine Sanford, Wendy Wismer, and Cheryl Hampson

This research used digital images to explore some of the factors responsible for consumer preference of visual characteristics of apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). The images systematically varied in color and shape (Expt. A: 9 images) and type, shape, and background color (Expt. B: 10 images), while keeping apple size constant. Visual assessments of the apple images were collected from 144 consumers (Expt. A) and 165 consumers (Expt. B) in British Columbia (BC), Nova Scotia (NS), and New Zealand (NZ) using balanced incomplete block designs. Canadian consumers (BC and NS) preferred red apples over green or yellow. NZ consumers liked equally red and green apples, and preferred both to yellow apples. At all locations, consumers in Expt. A significantly preferred round and conical shaped apples to oblong apples. When the combined effects of type, shape, and background color were evaluated, NZ consumers rated the striped, round apples the highest, and least preferred both round and oblong, blush-type apples with yellow backgrounds. NS consumers tended to prefer blush apples regardless of type and background color, and BC consumers were more accepting of a range of apple types, shapes, and background colors.

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Peter L. Sholberg, Paul Randall, and Cheryl R. Hampson

Acetic acid (AA) fumigation of rootstocks and dormant shoots was explored as a method of eliminating plant pathogens from propagation material. Dormant shoots were tested in early winter to determine the rate of AA vapor that they could tolerate before being damaged. Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), apple (Malus ×domestica), and peach (Prunus persica) shoots collected from a single site in Dec. 1999 tolerated 30, 12, or 6 mg·L–1 AA, respectively. Vineland 3 (V3) and Malling-Merton 106 (MM.106) rootstock liners fumigated with 1 mg·L–1 AA were adequately surface-sterilized although the effect on growth was not recorded. A similar experiment with Malling 9 (M9) rootstocks showed that 12 mg·L–1 AA would eliminate most surface microorganisims from roots although it delayed shoot growth when the trees were planted. The higher 15 mg·L–1 rate delayed tree growth and appeared to kill some trees. The 12 mg·L–1 rate prevented growth of Erwinia amylovora and Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae bacteria on shoots even when an enrichment technique was used to detect them. Finally, when 96 `Jonagold' apple shoots known to be infected by Podosphaera leucotricha were fumigated with AA in 2001, none developed powdery mildew, although 99% of the control shoots did. These promising results suggest that further research should be done toward adapting AA fumigation for use by commercial nurseries.

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Cheryl R. Hampson, Anita N. Azarenko, Rebecca McCluskey, and Jeffery Olsen

Many deciduous tree fruit species have a light requirement for floral induction. Floral induction of hazelnut has been reported to occur through the end of May into July. At the end of May, less than 5% full sun reaches the base of the canopy in a mature hazelnut orchard. Leaf area density was estimated to be 7.6. Six levels of shade (0, 30, 47, 63, 73, or 92%) were imposed on caged 7-year-old hazelnut trees (Corylus avellana L. cv. Ennis) to determine effects of shade on yield and nut quality. Shading reduced yield of nuts per tree from 3.43 kg in 0% shade to 0.62 kg in 92% shade and yield efficiency from 70.2 g/cm2 in full sun to 18.3 g/cm2 in 92% shade. Yield and yield efficiency decreased substantially in 30% shade. When shade exceeded 47%, nut and kernel size decreased sharply, but % kernel increased slightly. In comparison to trees in full sun, shaded trees had a higher incidence of moldy or shrivelled kernels and a lower incidence of blanks.

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Cheryl R. Hampson, Anita N. Azarenko, and John R. Potter

In hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.), vigorous vegetative growth and traditional orchard practices that include little or no pruning combine to produce a dense, shady canopy. A study designed to quantify the effect of shade on reproduction and photosynthetic rate in this shade-tolerant species was undertaken to assess whether some degree of pruning might improve productivity. Shade cloth was used to exclude 30%, 47%, 63%, 73%, or 92% of ambient sunlight from whole `Ennis' and `Barcelona' trees from mid-May until harvest. Photosynthetic light response curves were obtained for leaves that had developed in full sunlight, deep inside the canopy of unshaded trees, or in 92% shade. Light-saturated net photosynthetic rates were 12.0, 6.1, and 9.3 μmol·m-2·s-1 of CO2 and dark respiration rates were 2.0, 1.1, and 0.7 μmol·m-2·s-1 of CO2, respectively, for the three light regimes. Light-saturated photosynthetic rates of leaves from 30% or 63% shade differed little from the control (0% shade). Area per leaf increased by 49% and chlorophyll concentration (dry weight basis) by 157% as shading increased from 0% to 92%. Shading to 92% reduced specific leaf weight (68%), stomatal density (30%), light compensation point (69%), and dark respiration rate (63%) compared to controls. Female inflorescence density declined by about one-third and male inflorescence density by 64% to 74% in the most heavily shaded trees of both cultivars compared to controls. Shade was more detrimental to yield than flowering: yield per tree dropped by >80%, from 2.9 to 3.4 kg in full sun to 0.6 to 0.9 kg in 92% shade. Shade reduced yield primarily by decreasing nut number and secondarily by decreasing nut size. The incidence of several kernel defects increased as shade increased. Therefore, hazelnut leaves showed considerable capacity to adapt structurally and functionally to shade, but improving light penetration into the canopy would probably increase orchard productivity.

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Cheryl R. Hampson, Anita Nina Azarenko, and Al Soeldner

Scanning electron microscopy was used to describe pollen-stigma interactions during compatible and incompatible pollinations of hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.), a species possessing sporophytic self-incompatibility. The stigmatic surface is of the dry type and was covered with elongated, rounded papillae. Compatible and incompatible pollen hydrated within 2 hours of pollination. Compatible pollen tubes emerged by 4 hours and grew into the style by 12 hours after pollination. Penetration of stigmatic papillae appeared to be intracellular in some cases. In incompatible pollinations, however, pollen tube emergence was delayed until at least 8 hours. The pollen tubes were distorted and did not penetrate the stigma.

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Cheryl R. Hampson, Harvey A. Quamme, and Robert T. Brownlee

In 1993, a planting of virus-free 'Royal Gala' apple (Malu×domestica Borkh.) on 'M.9' rootstock was established at Summerland, B.C., Canada, to determine whether angled-canopy training systems could improve orchard tree performance relative to slender spindles. The trees were trained in one of five ways: slender spindle (SS), Geneva Y-trellis (GY), a modified Solen training we called 'Solen Y-trellis' (SY), or V-trellis (LDV), all at the same spacing (1.2 m × 2.8 m), giving a planting density of 2976 trees/ha. In addition, a higher density (7143 trees/ha) version of the V-trellis (HDV) was planted to gauge the performance of this system at densities approaching those of local super spindle orchards. The plots were drip-irrigated and hand-thinned. No summer pruning was done. After 8 years, differences among training systems at the same density and spacing were small and few. The two Y-shaped training systems had 11% to 14% greater cumulative yield/ha than the SS, but did not intercept significantly more light at maturity. No consistent differences occurred in fruit size or the percentage of fruit with delayed color development among the four training systems at the same density. Relative to the LDV, the HDV yielded less per tree, but far more per hectare, particularly in the first 3 years. After 8 years, the cumulative yield/ha was still 65% greater than with LDV. Yield efficiency was unaffected by tree density. Fruit size on HDV ranked lowest among the systems nearly every year, but was still commercially acceptable. The HDV intercepted more light (73%) than SS (53%). The percentage of fruit with delayed color development in HDV was not significantly different from that for LDV in most years. The trees in HDV were difficult to contain within their allotted space without summer pruning. The substantially similar performance of all the training systems (at a given density, and with minimal pruning) suggests that cost and ease of management should be the decisive factors when choosing a tree training method.

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Lili Zhou, Frank Kappel, Cheryl Hampson, Paul A. Wiersma, and Guus Bakkeren

Amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLPs) were used to analyze the relationships between sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) cultivars and selections from the breeding program at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, Canada. Six pairs of preselected primers were used for the analysis of a total of 67 cultivars and selections. Scoring the absence and presence of 118 polymorphic DNA fragments produced a unique binary code for each cultivar and selection. Two phylogenetic trees were constructed using these 118 polymorphic fragments, one tree for 55 related cultivars and selections from the Summerland breeding program and the other for 23 self-incompatible cultivars of differing origins. The reliability of AFLP DNA fingerprints was confirmed by correlating relationships revealed by AFLP profiles with known genetic relationships of some sweet cherry cultivars and by a blind test for cultivar identification. Results indicate that AFLP analysis is a good technique to evaluate genetic distance and relationships in a sweet cherry breeding population.

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Cheryl R. Hampson, Harvey A. Quamme, Frank Kappel, and Robert T. Brownlee

The effect of increasing planting density at constant rectangularity on the fruit yield, fruit size, and fruit color of apple [Malus ×sylvestris (L) var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] in three training systems (slender spindle, tall spindle, and Geneva Y trellis) was assessed for 10 years. Five tree densities (from 1125 to 3226 trees/ha) and two cultivars (Royal Gala and Summerland McIntosh) were tested in a fully guarded split-split plot design. Density was the most influential factor. As tree density increased, per-tree yield decreased, but yield per unit area increased. The relation between cumulative yield per ha and tree density was linear at the outset of the trial, but soon became curvilinear, as incremental yield diminished with increasing tree density. The chief advantage of high density planting was a large increase in early fruit yield. In later years, reductions in cumulative yield efficiency, and in fruit color for `Summerland McIntosh', began to appear at the highest density. Training system had no influence on productivity for the first 5 years. During the second half of the trial, fruit yield per tree was greater for the Y trellis than for either spindle form at lower densities but not at higher densities. The slender and tall spindles were similar in nearly all aspects of performance, including yield. `Summerland McIntosh' yielded almost 40% less than `Royal Gala' and seemed more sensitive to the adverse effects of high tree density on fruit color.