The purpose of this research was to determine the effectiveness of three blossom-thinning compounds on crop density and fruit quality of two peach cultivars. Treatments consisted of 15 ml·L–1 and 30 ml·L–1 ammonium thiosulphate, 30 ml·L–1 and 40 ml·L–1 decyl alcohol, and 40 ml·L–1 lime sulfur. Treatments were applied to `Redhaven' and `Harrow Diamond' peach trees at two phenological stages: 80%, and 100% full bloom in 2002 and 2003. In both years, treatments reduced the crop density in both cultivars, and in 2003 the amount of hand thinning required to adjust the crop load was significantly reduced. Fruit size from several blossom-thinned treatments was comparable with that observed from hand-thinned trees. However, treatments caused significant leaf phytotoxicity to `Harrow Diamond' trees in 2003, likely a result of hand spray gun applications. These data indicate that chemical sprays at bloom can be used successfully to reduce fruit set, but are very environmentally, dose, and cultivar dependent.
Commercial kiwifruit production often requires substantial inputs for successful pollination. Determining the length of time that female flowers can be successfully pollinated can aid management decisions concerning pollination enhancement. The purpose of this research was to determine the effective pollination period (EPP) for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ and ‘AU Fitzgerald’. Either 30 (2013) or 32 (2014, 2015) flowers of ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ were hand pollinated each day for 1 to 5 (2013) days after anthesis (DAA) or 1 to 7 DAA (2014, 2015), and then isolated to prevent open pollination. Anthesis was considered the day the flower opened. Similarly, ‘AU Fitzgerald’ flowers were pollinated and then isolated 1 to 6 DAA in 2013 and 1 to 7 DAA in 2015. For ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ in 2013, fruit set was consistent over the 5-day period, but fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number decreased between 1 and 3 and 4 and 5 DAA. In 2014, fruit set decreased between 1 and 6 and 7 DAA, whereas fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number each decreased in a linear trend. In 2015, fruit set also decreased between 1 and 6 and 7 DAA, whereas all other responses decreased linearly. Based on fruit set in 2014 and 2015, the EPP for ‘AU Golden Sunshine’ was 6 DAA. The EPP for ‘AU Fitzgerald’, however, was more variable. In 2013, fruit weight, fruit size index and seed number decreased between 1 and 4 and 5 and 6 DAA, suggesting that the EPP was 4 DAA. In 2015, fruit set remained consistent over the 7-day period with fruit weight, fruit size index, and seed number decreasing linearly. Differences in temperature and the alternate bearing tendency of kiwifruit species likely contributed to the discrepancies between the years for the EPP. For each cultivar, reductions in fruit weight, size, and seed number were observed before an observed decrease in fruit set. Greater fruit weight, size, and seed number were observed when flowers were pollinated within the first few DAA, with results varying thereafter.
Relatively few herbicides are registered in Alabama or in the southeastern United States for use in annual hill plasticulture production of strawberries. Acquisition of 24(c) special local needs status for certain herbicides could make more of these chemistries available to the strawberry industry. These herbicides, especially when applied as tank mixes pose potential risks to strawberry plant growth and fruit yield. Special local needs status for these herbicides has been granted for other states, but more evaluation of these products in Alabama soils under plastic mulch is needed. The objective of this study was to assess tank mix applications of preemergence herbicides with different modes of action on plant growth, crop yield, and fruit size of ‘Camarosa’ strawberry. A study was conducted at the Chilton Research and Extension Center in Clanton, AL, in 2018 and 2019. Pendimethalin (3.5 L·ha–1) and S-metolachlor (1.6 L·ha–1) were evaluated for potential phytotoxicity in ‘Camarosa’ strawberry when applied alone or in tank mixes with napropamide (8.6 kg·ha–1), sulfentrazone (0.3 L·ha–1), or terbacil (0.42 L·ha–1) by comparing them to a nontreated control. At 18 weeks after planting, pendimethalin tank mixed with napropamide reduced plant dry weight by 33% compared with the control, but this reduction was not significant. Additionally, tank mixes of pendimethalin with sulfentrazone, napropamide, and terbacil reduced shoot dry weight by 43%, 52%, and 43%, respectively, compared with pendimethalin alone. Pendimethalin + napropamide tank mix reduced relative growth rate by 95% compared with the control between 6 and 18 weeks after planting. All treatments were similar to the control in marketable yield. Differences in plant growth parameters did not appear to affect yield by the end of the experiment. All single applied treatments along with S-metolachlor tank mixed with napropamide and sulfentrazone; pendimethalin tank mixed with sulfentrazone and terbacil appeared to be safe for direct application to strawberry planting beds covered in polyethylene mulch.
The development of more cold-tolerant short-cycle banana cultivars has made subtropical production possible, but fruiting may be unreliable in colder margins, such as the coastal region of Alabama, as a result of cold winter temperatures and other suboptimal growing conditions. Thus, the objectives of this study were to determine plant growth parameters that predict flowering, and to evaluate vegetative and reproductive growth of Cavendish and non-Cavendish banana cultivars. Pseudostem circumference and the height-to-circumference ratio (HCR) for tall cultivars and HCR for medium cultivars exhibited linear or quadratic relationships when regressed to the number of days from planting to inflorescence emergence (DPE), and hence were the best predictors of inflorescence emergence. The banana cultivars Double, Grand Nain, Cardaba, Ice Cream, and Goldfinger demonstrated cropping potential by producing mature bunches in the cooler environment of the subtropics and currently offer the best possibilities for banana production in Alabama.