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D.C. Elfving and E.C. Lougheed

In three trials over 3 years, foliar BA applications for fruitlet thinning of `Empire' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees produced small and inconsistent effects on flesh firmness at harvest and after air storage. Soluble solids concentrations at harvest and after air storage were consistently increased by BA alone or together with GA4+7 [Promalin (PR)], and were also increased by CB in one trial. Starch hydrolysis was slightly delayed by BA applications in 1990. Ethylene evolution at harvest was increased by NAA in 1988 and slightly increased by PR applied 29 days after full bloom (DAFB) in 1990, while poststorage ethylene evolution was stimulated by BA and PR treatments in 1990 except BA at 29 DAFB. Incidence of poststorage disorders was low and largely uninfluenced by thinning treatments. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)]; BA plus gibberellins A4 and A7 (GA 4+7) [Promalin (PR)]; 1-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA); 1-naphthalenyl methylcarbamate [carbaryl (CB)].

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D.C. Elfving, E.C. Lougheed, and R.A. Cline

A midsummer foliar daminozide (DZ) application (750 mg a.i./liter) to `Macspur McIntosh'/M.7 apple trees (Malus domestics Borkh.) reduced preharvest drop and retarded flesh firmness loss and starch hydrolysis when tested at harvest; DZ also reduced fruit ethylene production at harvest and after 19 weeks of storage at 0.5C. Root pruning at full bloom (May) resulted in increased soluble solids concentration (SSC) and firmer flesh and less starch hydrolysis at harvest, but not consistently each year. Full-bloom root pruning reduced the incidence of stem-cavity browning and brown core, but again not each year. Full-bloom root pruning did not influence ethylene evolution at harvest but did reduce post-storage ethylene evolution in two of three seasons. Full-bloom root pruning generally was less effective than DZ in altering fruit behavior, while root pruning later than full bloom had virtually no effect. Trunk scoring or ringing increased SSC and retarded loss of flesh firmness before harvest and following storage, but had little effect on starch hydrolysis. Scoring or ringing decreased incidence of some disorders and reduced post-storage ethylene evolution, although these treatments had little effect on ethylene production at harvest. Trunk scoring influenced some fruit characteristics more strongly than DZ. Fruit size was not affected by any treatment in any year. Chemical name used: butanedioic acid mono (2,2 -dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide).

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D.C. Elfving, E.C. Lougheed, C.L. Chu, and R.A. Cline

Foliar daminozide (DZ) applications to `McIntosh' apple trees (Malus domestics Borkh.) increased fruit color, reduced preharvest drop, resulted in greater firmness at harvest and after air storage, delayed starch hydrolysis, and reduced fruit ethylene production at harvest and after storage. Foliar paclobutrazol (PBZ) reduced preharvest drop and flesh firmness loss if applied within 5 weeks after full bloom (WAFB). Later applications had no effect. PBZ did not influence the progress of starch hydrolysis or ethylene production at harvest but reduced poststorage ethylene production in one season. Stem-cavity browning and brown core were increased by PBZ applied at 5 and 9 WAFB in 1987. In 1988, fruit soluble solids content (SSC) was reduced by a double application of PBZ and by uniconazole (UCZ). UCZ had little effect on `McIntosh' fruit other than the reduction in SSC. PBZ applications were less consistent in their effects than DZ. Chemical names used: butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); ß-[(4-chlorophenyl) methyl]-α- -(l,l-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol); ß-[(4-chlorophenyl)methylene]-α-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (uniconazole).

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V.E. Emongor, D.P. Murr, J.T.A Proctor, and E.C. Lougheed

Field trials at Cambridge Research Station, Ontario, Canada, studied the thinning effect of benzyladenine (BA) on eighteen-year-old “Empire” apple trees. At 16 days after full bloom (fruit diameter 12.87 mm) whole trees were hand sprayed to drip point with BA (0, 100, or 200 mg.1-1). Untreated control trees were compared with treated and hand thinned trees. BA significantly reduced crop load on “Empire”. The thinning response to BA was linear, with recommended thinning occurring at 200 mg.1-1. At harvest, fruit weight, size (diameter and length), flesh firmness and soluble solids concentration, chlorophyll and anthocyanin contents, and seed number were increased by BA treatments. BA had no effect on fruit L:D ratio, internal ethylene concentration, maturity, and the onset of the respiratory climacteric, but significantly reduced respiration at harvest. BA also reduced ethylene production and ACC content at harvest, though the reduction was not significant. Although firmness of BA-treated fruit was significantly higher at harvest, upon storage for 1 month at 0-0.5°C and 90-95% RH the firmness advantage was lost BA shows potential as a thinner of “Empire” apple and has advantage of increasing fruit weight and size, since “Empire” is a relatively small apple compared to other commercial cultivars.

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John T.A. Proctor, Dennis P. Murr, and E.C. (SAM) Lougheed