Foliar spraying the same French prune trees with 50, 100, or 150 ppm (2-chloroethyl) phosphonic acid (ethephon) in 3 continuous years thinned fruit and improved fruit size without deleterious phytotoxic effects on tree performance.
(2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon) applied at pH 6.8 to 7.0 resulted in fruit loosening which allowed mechanical harvest of at least 85% of the olive crop but there was excessive leaf loss. Inclusion of calcium salts helps offset leaf loss, but also decreases fruit loosening. 2-chloroethyl-tris-(2-methoxyethoxy)-silane (Alsol) and (2-chloroethyl)-methyl-bis-(phenylmethoxy)-silane (CGA 15281) appeared to be more superior looseners than either ethephon or GAF 7767141 (an ethylene generating material) with less leaf loss following treatment.
The `Manzanillo' olive (Olea europaea L.) is widely grown in California, because olive processors prefer its uniform size and quality for their canned product. Although it is self-compatible, 10% of a planting should be committed to a pollinizer cultivar to promote optimal production of seeded `Manzanillo' fruit and minimal occurrence of worthless parthenocarpic “shotberries.” As fruits of pollinizer cultivars are of substantially less value and more difficult to manage within a `Manzanillo' planting, less commitment of land for pollination purposes would be desirable. Here we show that topical applications of supplemental olive pollen can be a feasible alternative to commitment of land to olive pollinizer cultivars within a `Manzanillo' planting.
Variable lengths of water deprivation immediately prior to harvest were imposed on mature French prune trees for four consecutive years. Irrigation cutoff durations were about 45, 37, 30, 22, 17 and 12 days prior to harvest during 1986-89.
Predawn leaf water potential best reflected water deprivation length and reached minimum values of about -1.5 MPa with the most severe cutoff. Magnitude of peak stomatal conductance was reduced and occurred earlier in the day with longer cutoff regimes.
Rate and time-course development of preharvest fruit drop was variable from year-to-year, but there were no significant differences in total drop between cutoff treatments. Only in the fourth year, following three years of no difference were tree fruit load and yield significantly reduced but then only with the most severe cutoff. Soluble solids were higher and drying ratios lower with the longer cutoffs. Fruit size was significantly reduced in the third year of the experiment. Trunk circumferences were significantly lower only with trees subjected to the longer cutoff regimes.
The pistillate flower of walnut is a complex structure (10, 13, 14) and is referred to as a pistil for simplicity. Pistils emerge terminally on shoot or spurs after different degrees of vegetative extension from mixed buds (9, 14). Such growth can range from essentially nil to about 1 m. Pistils are borne on a short peduncle (Fig. 1). Two pistils per peduncle are most common, but one or three, or (rarely) more, can occur. Flowers are wind-pollinated and all cultivars are considered to be cross- and self-fruitful (9, 14). Pistils become receptive very shortly after emergence from the shoot apex when the two stigma lobes begin to separate. Fertilization of ovules is necessary for nut development to maturity, but pollination and fertilization are not required for early growth of the ovary (14). Ovaries of nonpollinated flowers will enlarge at rates similar to those of fertilized ones for several weeks before abscising, when about 1 to 2 cm in diameter.
In both laboratory and field experiments, excessive pollen has been found to be a major cause of pistillate flower abscission (PFA) and reduced yields of sensitive English Walnut cultivars (CVs) (especially “Serr”). In the field, PFA and reduced yields develop when substantial overlap of male and female walnut bloom occurs. PFA and poor yields can be further aggravated when pollenizing CV's have been included into an orchard to maximize pollen availability for the commercial CV Field experiments, conducted in 1992 and 1993, demonstrated that mechanically shaking trees to remove male flowers pre-bloom from either pollenizer CV's or the main CV reduced pollen load, PFA, and substantially improved yields.
Preliminary studies with controlled pollinations have shown that pistillate flower abscission (PFA) in walnut (Juglands spp.) is associated with heavy pollen loads on the flowers. This study measured percent pistillate flower abscission (PFA), pollen grains per flower, yield and yield efficiency on Serr walnut from trees adjoining pollinizing cvs and at sequential intervals up to 197m away in twelve orchard locations. A highly significant, negative correlation in PFA existed as distance from the foreign pollen source increased. Pollen grains per flower were highly correlated with percentage PFA. Yield and yield efficiency, measured in two of the test orchards, were positively correlated with distance from the pollen source.
Results are presented for performance of pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch] clones at six established National Pecan Advanced Clone Testing System (NPACTS) sites for 16 nut quality factors from 1980 through 1985. Total nut weight and percent kernel were significantly greater at Tulare, Calif. than at any other location, with ≈80% of the clones averaging 6.5 g/nut or more and ≈90% averaging at least 54.5% kernel. Nut weight was smallest at El Paso, Texas. Daily mean temperatures during nut expansion may be a major factor determining nut weight response. Low nut density was characteristic of more clones at Baton Rouge, La. than at any other location. Kernel color was lightest at El Paso and darkest at Baton Rouge, with darker color appearing to be related to high field moisture conditions before harvest. Nut weight was not related to kernel percentage, color, or percent kernel covered with fuzz (packing material); thus, large nuts are not necessarily of lower quality and can be selected in an effective breeding program. Amount of nut “packing material” retained in the sutures of kernel halves after shelling was generally not related to other traits, except that material retained in ventral grooves increased with nut and kernel weight. Depth and width of dorsal grooves were not related to retention of packing material and can be disregarded in future pecan nut evaluation systems. Many other expected character relationships were verified and the overall NPACTS nut evaluation system will be revised based on these results.