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Jose Ignacio del Real-Laborde and J. LaMar Anderson

Mild. winter conditions vary greatly from year to year, and models to evaluate dormancy development have to separate between years to make accurate predictions for rest breaking purposes. The Utah Chill Unit model has been revised to incorporate time in the definition of chill units. A Chill Unit is redefined as equivalent to one hour at the optimal chilling temperature during the optimal chilling time. Mexico has 50,000 ha of apple trees that require rest breaking practices. Winter conditions of three contrasting years at two Mexican locations were analyzed by the original and revised Utah Chill Unit models. The original Utah model tends to overestimate chill unit accumulation under Mexican mild winter conditions. The revised model increased prediction accuracy of leaf development ten days after full bloom by 10% to within 1-2% of the observed values.

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Nader Soltani, J. LaMar Anderson, and Alvin R. Hamson

`Crimson Sweet' watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai] plants were grown with various mulches and rowcovers and analyzed for relative growth rate (RGR), net assimilation rate (NAR), specific leaf area (SLA), leaf area index (LAI), and crop growth rate (CGR). Spunbonded polyester fabric (SB-PF) and perforated polyethylene film (PCP) rowcovers generally showed greater mean RGR, SLA and CGR than spunbonded polypropylene polyamide net (SB-PP), black plus clear combination plastic mulch and black plastic mulch alone. Plants on mulches and under rowcovers showed significant increases in RGR, NAR, and SLA over plants grown in bare soil. Carbon dioxide concentration inside the transplanting mulch holes was nearly twice the ambient CO, concentration. Growth analysis of sampled watermelon plants during early stages of development under various treatments was predictive of crop yield. Plants under SB-PF and PCP rowcovers produced the earliest fruit and the greatest total yield. An asymmetrical curvilinear model for watermelon growth and development based on cardinal temperatures was developed. The model uses hourly averaged temperatures to predict growth and phenological development of `Crimson Sweet' watermelon plants grown with and without rowcovers. Early vegetative growth correlated well with accumulated heat units. Results indicate a consistent heat unit requirement for the `Crimson Sweet' watermelon plants to reach first male flower, first female flower and first harvest in uncovered plants and plants under rowcovers. Greater variability was observed in predicting date of first harvest than first bloom.

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Schuyler D. Seeley, Hossein Damavandy, J. LaMar Anderson, Richard Renquist, and Nancy W. Callan

Foliar applications of growth regulators (GR) in early autumn induced leaf retention (LR) on peach [Prunu,s persica (L.) Batsch.] and `Montmorency' tart cherry (Prunus cerasus L.) trees. In `Johnson Elberta' peach, the relative effectiveness of GRs on LR was NAA = Promalin (BA + GA4+7) > GA4+7 > GA3 > BA > control, and on leaf detachment pull force (PF) NAA > BA + GA4+7 > GA4+7 = GA3 > BA3 > BA > control. Relative GR-induced chlorophyll (CL) content in retained leaves was BA + GA4+7 > GA4+7 > GA3 > BA > control > NAA. Relative xanthophyll (XN) content of retained leaves was NAA > control > BA > GA3 = GA4+7 = BA + GA4+7. Treating only half of a peach tree with NAA did not affect LR on the untreated side. NAA decreased subsequent bud and flower size in peach. Bud hardiness was enhanced by NAA in `Johnson Elberta' peach but not in `Redhaven' peach or in `Montmorency' tart cherry. NAA increased hardening on both the leafy treated (foliated) and untreated (defoliated) sides of half-treated `Johnson Elberta' trees. Increased endodormancy duration, as measured by GA3 forcing of terminal leaf buds, was proportional to LR. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)- 1H-purin-6-amine (BA); (1a,2ß,4bß,10ß)-2,4a,7-trihydroxy-l-methyl-8-methylenegibb-3-ene-l,lO-dicarboxylic acid,l,4a-lactone (GA3, GA4+7); l-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).