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George M. Greene II

When applied as a dilute spray (at 125 and 250 ppm), BAS 125W effectively reduced shoot extension growth on `York' Imperial (YI) and `Spartan' (S) apple trees but was less effectively on `Delicious' (D). In 1994, lateral shoot growth of YI/M.26 trees (1 to 2 m tall) from 10 May to 7 July was reduced (35 vs. 7 cm) by sprays applied on May 13. The initial surge of growth by vertical shoots was suppressed by the treatments (16 vs. 35 cm), but there was more regrowth (6.5 vs. 0.5 cm). Some leaf injury was seen on YI. The 1995 experiments were conducted on S/M.111 and D/M.111 in an orchard spaced 3.7 m by 7.3 m. On S, lateral shoot length on five dates from 7 June to 20 Sept. was reduced by the sprays (44 vs. 32 cm on 20 Sept.). The initial surge of growth by vertical shoots was suppressed by the treatments (30 vs. 85 cm), but there was more regrowth (34 vs. 4 cm). There were fewer apples that were <25% red and more that were 25% to 40% and 66% to 85% red. On D, lateral shoot length on five dates from 7 June to 20 Sept. was reduced by the sprays (51 vs. 38 cm on 20 Sept.). The growth of vertical shoots was not influenced by the treatments, possibly due to a light fruit load in the tops of the trees. Growers viewing the 1995 plots estimated enhanced income of $933/ha for D and $780/ha for S.

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George M. Greene II

The Mid-Atlantic region consists of the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, and New Jersey, and produces about as many apples as New York or Michigan. The climate in this region in the summer often has warm days and relatively warm nights. Light intensity can often be reduced by clouds from tropical air masses, and this is usually accompanied with high relative humidity. Most orchards are not irrigated, and rainfall can varies widely. The predominant cultivars are `Delicious', `Golden Delicious', `Rome', and `York Imperial'. With these cultivars and this set of climatic conditions, excessive vegetative growth and fluctuating return bloom are common problems. This climate and apple variety assortment are markedly different from more northerly apple production regions in the U.S. The need for an effective growth-control chemical has been obvious for years. The development of BAS-125 appears to have made this a possibility and has caused much interest among pomologists and growers that are aware of this chemical. Research was conducted from 1994 to 1995 on `York Imperial', `Delicious', and `Spartan', and was reported in HortScience (31:191). Research in 1996 dealt with `Law Rome' and `Golden Delicious'. On `Law Rome', treated shoots were ≈24 cm in length, while untreated shoots were 38 cm in length. On `Golden Delicious' this compound controlled shoots to ≈29 cm in length, while untreated shoots had about 39 cm of total shoots growth. BAS-125 can effectively reduce shoot growth, which will improve the light regime in mid-Atlantic apple tree canopies. This should result in savings in pruning, increased fruit quality, and increased cropping levels due to enhanced fruit bud production.

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George M. Greene II

The apple cultivar Enterprise is a product of the Purdue–Rutgers–Illinois (PRI) disease-resistant apple breeding program. It has field immunity to apple scab, has a high level of resistance to cedar apple rust and fire blight, and is moderately resistant to apple powdery mildew. This resistance to these diseases makes the production of this cultivar desirable, especially on the popular fire blight-susceptible M.26 rootstock. Compared to many other scab-resistant cultivars, `Enterprise' has performed well in the mid-Atlantic area. However, this cultivar has been reported to be susceptible to low-Ca disorders when grown in New Jersey and Virginia. The mid-Atlantic area is notorious for the production of fruit with high levels of corking and bitter pit. This may be due to factors such as vigorous tree growth and low transpirational flow, which may be weather-related. Circumstantial evidence based on the production of clean `Enterprise' at Biglerville, Pa., where moderately high rates of CaCl2 have been applied in cover sprays, indicate that this disorder may be a Ca deficiency symptom. A replicated trial of many scab-resistant cultivars was established in 1990, 1991, and 1992. Due to the common incidence of low-Ca disorders, CaCl2 has been added to the cover spray program that is applied for insect control. Low-Ca disorders have never been seen in fruit produced at Biglerville, and the cover spray program applied 67 and 73 kg·ha–1 of CaCl2 (77% to 80% CaCl2, flake) in 1993 and 1994, respectively.

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George M. Greene II

Excessive tree vigor is a significant production problem for the PA apple industry. A series of experiments were conducted from 1994 to 1999, which indicated that Apogee® could effectively reduce vegetative shoot growth. Results from 1994 to 1996 have previously been reported (HortScience 31:598, 32:558). In 1997, 16 treatments composed of four rates (0, 63, 125, and 250 ppm) and four timings (22 May; 4, 11, and 24 June) in various combinations, were applied as dilute handgun sprays. These treatments were applied to sixth leaf `York Imperial' apple trees. Ten peripheral shoots, at a height of 2 m, were tagged and measured on 21 May, 9 and 30 June, 16 July, 12 Aug., and on 10 Oct. Shoots treated with 63, 125, or 250 ppm on 22 May followed by 0, 63, or 125 ppm on 4, 11, or 24 June were from 65% to 76% of the length of the controls (25.5 cm). Treated shoots were from 69% to 78% of the length of the controls following sprays with 63 ppm on 22 May followed by 0, 63, or 125 ppm on 4, 11, or 24 June. Shoots treated with 125 ppm on 22 May followed by 0 or 63 ppm on 4, 11, or 24 June were from 69% to 73% of the length of the controls. The later applications (11 and 24 June) of 250 ppm gave no growth control but the 22 May treatment gave a 30% reduction in growth. In 1999, dilute handgun sprays of 125, 125, 83, and 83 ppm were made on 22 May and on 4, 11, and 24 June, respectively. Cultivars treated were `Spartan', `Delicious', `York Imperial', `Gala', and `Mutsu'. The length of 10 peripheral shoots at 2 and 3 m were measured on 28 July and on 12 Aug. All cultivars responded and on 12 Aug. treated terminal shoot lengths ranged from 33% to 55% of the controls. With reduced vegetative tree vigor many horticultural factors will be improved. In addition, the severity of shoot fire blight can be reduced and the control of all pests that prosper on young succulent leaves will be easier, especially apple aphids and obliquebanded leafrollers. Major factors to be considered in developing an efficacious Apogee® program appear to be initial tree vigor, length of growing season, and crop load. An initial application at 1 to 3 inches of terminal growth is probably the most critical factor.

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Stephen S. Miller and George M. Greene II

Replicated studies were conducted from 1996 to 1999 to evaluate the effect of a metalized reflective film (RF) on red color development in several apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars that often develop poor to marginal color in the mid-Atlantic growing region. Film was applied to the orchard floor in the middle between tree rows or under the tree beginning 5 to 7 weeks before the predicted maturity date. Light reflected into the canopy from the RF was measured and compared with a standard orchard sod, a killed sod or various polyethylene films. Fruit color was estimated visually and with a hand-held spectrophotometer. Fruit quality (firmness, soluble solids, starch index) was determined from a representative sample of fruit. RF increased the level of photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) reflected into the canopy resulting in darker, redder colored `Delicious', `Empire', and `Fuji' apples with a greater proportion of surface showing red color. RF increased canopy temperature and fruit surface temperature. A white polyethylene film increased reflected PPF and fruit color, but generally not to the extent of the metalized RF. Large [>13 ft (4.0 m) height] well-pruned `Delicious' trees showed increased fruit color, especially when the RF was placed under the canopy, but `Empire' trees of similar size and a more dense canopy showed no effect. The effect of the RF was most pronounced in the lower portion [up to 8 ft (2.4 m) height] of the canopy. A high-density RF was as effective as a low-density RF and the high-density film was about 60% less expensive. A high-density RF may be a cost effective method to enhance red color on selected apple cultivars in the mid-Atlantic region. Comparisons between ethephon and the RF were variable: ethephon appeared to have more effect on color in `Empire' than the RF, but less effect than the RF on `Hardibrite Delicious'. Ethephon consistently advanced fruit maturity. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Stephen S. Miller and George M. Greene II

In many years, apples grown in the mid-Atlantic region fail to exhibit a high percentage of the dark red color that buyers and consumers desire. In 1996, we initiated studies to examine the use of a metalized silver low-density polyethylene reflective groundcover (RGC) to improve red color on several apple cultivars under several training systems. A RGC placed in the orchard drive middle of 8-year-old `Delicious' apple trees trained to a “Y” trellis increased the percent surface red color and resulted in darker, more red-colored apples at harvest. A RGC increased surface red color on `Empire' apples on a “Y” trellis, but on central leader-trained semi-dwarf and standard size `Empire' showed no effects on color. Central leader-trained `Fuji'/EMLA.7 apples with a RGC had more red color than untreated fruit at harvest. In 1997, RGC placed under the canopy of 3-year-old `Fuji' trees trained to a “Y” trellis increased the full sunlight on the underside of the canopy by 28%. Ambient air temperatures within the RGC illuminated canopy averaged 2.1 °C higher than the non-RGC canopy. The level of percent full sunlight was increased within the canopy of well-pruned 32-year-old `Miller Spur Delicious' apple trees 4- to 8-fold with RGC placed in the row middle or under the canopy in a commercial orchard in 1998. Position of the RGC to the canopy affected fruit red color response differently between the lower and upper part of the canopy. Bins of fruit graded with a commercial color sorter showed no difference in fruit color; however, there was a strong trend toward increased red color where the RGC material was applied.

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George M. Greene II and Alvan G. Gaus

The influence of rootstocks on the growth and productivity of `Starkspur Supreme Pagnelli Delicious' was determined in an NC-140 experiment started in 1984. The planting was supplemental to the main experiment and it contained Ottawa (Ott) 3, M.20, and Arnold Lynd (AL) 800, but did not contain Budagovsky (Bud) 490, Bud 9, Antonovka 313, or C6. Trees that apparently would not stand were given support. Data on tree size and yield were collected every year. As expected, many characteristics were strongly influenced by rootstock. Yield efficiency calculated as the total fruit weight per square cm of trunk cross-sectional area was used as a measure of production efficiency. In 1989, efficient producers of fruit (all in decreasing order) were Poland (P) 2, EMLA.26, P 16, and Michigan Apple Clone (MAC) 39. Intermediate in productivity were M.20, Cornell-Geneva (CG) 10, Pl, and AL 800. A lower efficiency group of rootstocks were EMLA.7, Ott 3, MAC 1, Seedling, M.4, P 18, and CG 24. `Golden Delicious' and `McIntosh' on EMLA.26, used as pollinizers, were ranked second and third in yield efficiency.

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Laura J. Lehman and George M. Greene II

A two year study of `Golden Delicious' and `York Imperial' apple responses to delayed cooling and CA storage imposition after harvest was completed in 1991. Apples from six to eight commercial orchards were harvested at an acceptable maturity level for long-term storage, subjected to a delay in refrigeration (0,3, or 6 days) followed by a delay in CA storage imposition (0,14, or 28 days), and then stored at 0°c, 2.4% oxygen, and 1.6% carbon dioxide for up to eight months. Fruit acidity, soluble solids content, bitter pit incidence, scald, internal breakdown, and the development of low oxygen injury were not influenced by the delays. Delays often resulted in more rot and excessive weight loss during storage. Delays in both cooling and CA storage imposition had an additive effect on fruit softening, such that the longest delays resulted in the softest fruit.

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Alvan G. Gaus and George M. Greene II

Water stress in mature `Redhaven' / Lovell peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees was imposed, during the 1988 growing season. Trickle irrigation was reduced from 100% to 25% of a calculated weekly evaporation amount on 22 June, 11 July, and 8 and 27 Aug. Trees were isolated from rainfall by tents under the canopy and from horizontal water movement between root systems on 4 sides to a depth of 0.5 m by a water-proof barrier. Canopy to air temperature differentials monitored throughout the growing season were developed into 3 stress indexes: crop water stress index (CWSI); cumulative crop water stress index (CCWSI); and postharvest cumulative crop water stress index (PCCWSI). CWSI values varied from 0 to 0.6, while both CCWSI and PCCWSI increased through late Sept. Mean PCCWSI of the 22 June 25% treatment increased at a greater rate than the other treatments. Significant linear regressions were found with some of the indexes and net photosynthesis or stomatal conductance; however, the r-square values were low. In general, no linear relationships were found between either CCWSI of PCCWSI and the Index of Injury for cold hardiness.