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Esmaeil Fallahi*

Effects of seven different irrigation systems for `Fuji' and two irrigation systems for `Gala' on five rootstocks on tree growth, water use, and mineral nutrients were studied. All forms of drip system used significanly less water than sprinkler systems. Patial root drying sprinkler system used 50% less water than full sprinkler. Application of partial root drying drip at 50% rate of full drip was not sufficient and trees had to receive 75% of full drip to survive. Trees under full sprinkler used about 28 inches of water while those with drip used less than 8 inches of water during the 2003 growing season. Leaf minerals, particularly N and K were affected by irrigation systems. Trees with buried drip required less water than those with above-ground drip system. Calculation of water requirement on a tree-use basis provided an excellent guide for irrigation.

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Esmaeil Fallahi

The increasing trend in the world population and decreasing trend in the suitable land for fruit production, combined with a shortage of water, mandate the use of efficient methods of irrigation and establishment of high-density orchards that require size-controlling rootstocks. Method of irrigation and vigor of rootstock are among the most important factors affecting uptake of mineral nutrients, and thus tree growth and fruit yield and quality attributes of apple (Malus domestica). In a long-term experiment, effects of two irrigation methods and four rootstocks on water use, tree growth, fruit quality, and leaf mineral nutrients were studied in ‘Pacific Gala’ apple. The experiment was conducted in southwestern Idaho, which represents the high desert conditions of the Intermountain West region of the United States. Evapotranspiration-based irrigation scheduling (ETc), adjusted by percentage of ground shading, was used for sprinkler and drip systems. Significantly lower volume of water was applied to the trees with drip irrigation than those with sprinkler irrigation system. Leaf calcium (Ca) decreased but leaf potassium (K) increased with rootstock vigor, resulting in the greatest leaf Ca but lowest leaf K in trees on ‘Budagovsky 9’ (B.9). Fruit weight and yield per tree in ‘Pacific Gala’ on ‘Nic 29’ (RN29) rootstock was higher than those on B.9 and ‘Geneva 30’ (G.30) rootstocks. ‘Pacific Gala’ on B.9 rootstock had smaller trees and fruit size but higher fruit starch degradation pattern (SDP), suggesting earlier fruit maturity on this rootstock. On average, ‘Pacific Gala’ trees with drip irrigation had larger fruit and higher leaf magnesium (Mg) and manganese (Mn) but less fruit color and firmness and lower leaf Ca, K, zinc (Zn), and copper (Cu) than those with sprinkler system.

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Esmaeil Fallahi

The art and science of horticulture and horticultural crops are integral parts of Iranian’s rich and ancient culture and modern economy. Many deciduous fruit, flowers, and vegetables are native to Iran (Persia), and from there, they were distributed to the rest of the world through the Silk Road established by the Achaemenid, the Royal Pars Dynasty. Variations in climate and presence of numerous mountains, lakes, rivers, and natural springs have created a unique country capable of producing all types of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Apples and other deciduous fruits are commercially produced in mountain ranges of Alborz and Zagrous and in many central provinces of Iran. The Caspian Sea area in the north of Iran is one of the most unique regions in the world where mild Mediterranean climate meshed with the adjacent Alborz mountain ranges has created a home to numerous species of edible horticultural plants, ranging from tea to cherries and pomegranates. Pistachio, olive, citrus, banana, and date are produced in Kerman, Fars, and Khuzestan regions. However, the Iranian horticultural industry faces many challenges, including global and regional political issues. Although some attempt has been made to preserve invaluable germplasm, a large number of native fruits, vegetables, and flowers are becoming extinct. Postharvest transportation and storage of horticultural crops is one of the most important issues facing Iranian horticulture. The future of horticulture in Iran can potentially be bright, and horticultural products have the potential to replace the oil income after reserves disappear, particularly if peace prevails in the region.

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Esmaeil Fallahi

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Esmaeil Fallahi

Effects of various concentrations of Dormex (hydrogen cyanamide, a.i. = 49%), pelargonic acid and endothalic acid, applied at 60% and full-bloom, on fruit set and yield of `Early Spur Rome' apple and `Redhaven' peach were studied over 2 years. A full-bloom application of Dormex at 0.25% and 0.31% (% formulation) alone or 0.125% endothal followed by a post-bloom thinner reduced fruit set and increased fruit size in apple. A double application of endothal at a rate of 0.125%, once at 70% bloom and again at full-bloom, also was effective in thinning and increased fruit size in apple. Pelargonic acid was effective in thinning in apple when applied at a rate of 0.187% at 60% bloom and again at full-bloom. Return bloom in apple was better when blossom thinners effectively thinned blossoms. Dormex application at a rate of 0.31% at full-bloom showed the highest return bloom in apple. All three chemicals were effective in thinning in peach when they were applied before complete fertilization. However, only 0.31% Dormex application at full-bloom was effective in thinning peach when a high rate of fertilization had taken place.

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Esmaeil Fallahi

Blossom thinning of `Early Spur Rome' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) and `Redhaven' peach (Prunus persica L.) with hydrogen cyanamide (Dormex, 50% a.i.), endothalic acid [(Endothal, 0.4 lb a.i./gal (47.93 g a.i./L)], and pelargonic acid (Thinex, 60% a.i.) was studied in 1995 and 1996. Full-bloom applications of hydrogen cyanamide at 2 pt formulation/100 gal (1288 mg a.i./L) and 2.5 pt formulation/100 gal (1610 mg a.i./L) or endothalic acid at 1 pt formulation/100 gal (59.9 mg a.i./L), once at 70% bloom and again at full bloom, reduced apple fruit set. Pelargonic acid was only effective in thinning apple blossoms when applied twice—at 40% bloom and again at full bloom—at 1.5 pt formulation/100 gal (1.12 mL a.i./L) per application. Pelargonic acid marked apples in 1995 but not 1996. Neither hydrogen cyanamide nor endothalic acid marked apples. A single full-bloom application of hydrogen cyanamide, endothalic acid, or pelargonic acid effectively thinned peach blossoms in 1995; however, in 1996, only hydrogen cyanamide at 2.5 pt formulation/100 gal effectively thinned peach blossoms. Peaches did not show fruit marks with any of the peach blossom thinners.

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Esmaeil Fallahi and Thomas Eichert

Foliar fertilization is a common practice to supply crops with mineral nutrients, especially under limited soil nutrient availability conditions. However, foliar-applied nutrients have to overcome the barrier properties of leaf surface to be absorbed by plants. Various pathways are reported to explain the penetration of foliar nutrients through the leaf tissues. Meanwhile, we believe that air humidity is one of the main controlling factors in this process since it controls both the actual nutrient concentration on the leaf surface as the driving force of absorption and the permeability of the leaf surface. Postharvest and prebloom foliar nitrogen sprays are applied to enhance flower bud vigor, and calcium (Ca) is applied directly to fruit during the growing season to reduce fruit susceptibility to physiological disorders. Micronutrients typically are applied in foliar sprays to uniformly distribute the small quantities of these required nutrients. In this report, we focus on the principles of foliar nutrient uptake and impacts of foliar urea and Ca sprays on fruit quality attributes of ‘Fuji’ apples (Malus domestica). Based on our studies, a ground application of urea is critical for a higher production of ‘Fuji’ apple.

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Esmaeil Fallahi and Duane W. Greene

Effects of various combinations of NAA-800 and Retain on fruit retention, yield, and harvest and post-storage fruit quality of `Rome Beauty' and `Delicious' apples were studied over one to three seasons. Retain and NAA-800 often reduced preharvest fruit drop as compared to control. Fruit from trees that received Retain at 123.6 g a.i./ha, or 61.8 g a.i./ha plus NAA-800 showed lower starch degradation pattern (SDP) at harvest and higher firmness. Retain treated fruit had lower evolved ethylene and respiration. Application of Retain at 61.8 g a.i./ha plus NAA-800 delayed fruit maturity, and the effects on fruit quality at harvest was comparable to the effects of this chemical at 123.6 g. a.i./ha. However, after storage, fruits from trees receiving Retain at 123.6 g a.i./ha often were firmer. Split applications of NAA-800 did not show major improvement in delaying fruit maturity over a single application. Application of NAA-800 at 585 mL/ha tended to reduce fruit firmness and increase fruit SDP. These fruits some times tended to have better color. Results on fruit color varied from year to year.

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Esmaeil Fallahi and John K. Fellman

Effects of three times and five rates of urea application on productivity, tree growth, soil nitrate movement, nutrient partitioning, and postharvest fruit quality of `Redspur Delicious' apple on M.7 rootstock over several years were studied. Time of application did not have significant effects on most fruit quality factors or yield. However, significant differences were observed for quality and yield measurements among different quantities of N. Fruit firmness decreased with every increment in N increase. Trees with N at 0.045 kg/tree had lower yield and higher fruit firmness than those with higher quantities of N. Fruit weight and color decreased with each increment increase in the quantity of N. Trees with N at 0.045 and 0.18 kg/tree had significantly better (more red) color and lower fruit N and leaf N than those with higher quantities of N. Bud tissue nutrients were affected by quantity of N application. Fruit from trees with N at <0.18 kg/tree had lower soluble solids. High N increased fruit ethylene and respiration. Nitrogen application affected 2-methyl butyl acetate of fruit. Monitoring nitrate movement through the soil showed that application of N at >0.45 kg/tree, particularly in fall resulted in excess levels of nitrate, increasing the possibility of underground water contamination. Applying N at ≤0.32 kg/tree did not result in excess soil nitrate at 1.52-m depth.