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Ed Stover, Michael J. Fargione, Christopher B. Watkins, and Kevin A. Iungerman

`McIntosh' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) display a rapid increase in ethylene production as they ripen, resulting in more preharvest drop and accelerated softening compared with other major cultivars. Economic considerations often dictate a choice between delaying harvest to achieve color development or harvesting earlier to avoid excessive fruit softening and drop. We have evaluated the effects of plant growth regulators (PGRs) and summer pruning on this balance. Treatments were applied to trees in the Mid-Hudson region in New York state in 1995 and 1996, and a subset of treatments was applied in the Champlain Valley region in 1996. NAA, applied at 10 mg·L-1 in 1995 and 20 mg·L-1 in 1996, reduced drop on only one sample date in only one of the three trials. Ethephon at 150 mg·L-1 plus 10 mg·L-1 NAA, accelerated ripening and permitted harvest before substantial drop occurred. However, earlier harvest resulted in smaller fruit size, and if ethephon-treated fruit were not picked within a narrow window, rapid drop ensued, and fruit developed a high senescent breakdown incidence during storage. ReTain, containing AVG, at 124 g·ha-1 a.i. delayed drop in all three trials, but its use resulted in firmer fruit after storage in only two of seven comparisons. Use of ethephon on AVG-treated trees enhanced red color but accelerated drop, although it was reduced less than when ethephon was used alone. Severe late summer pruning accelerated red color development, drop and ripening in both years of the study. AVG was more effective for management of `McIntosh' harvest in the cooler Champlain Valley region than in the Mid-Hudson Valley region. Chemical names used: naphthalene acetic acid (NAA); 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon); aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG).

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Christopher B. Watkins, Mustafa Erkan, Jacqueline F. Nock, Kevin A. Iungerman, Randolph M. Beaudry, and Renae E. Moran

`Honeycrisp' is a new apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill. var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.] cultivar that has been planted extensively in North America, but the storage disorders soggy breakdown and soft scald have resulted in major fruit losses. The effects of harvest date and storage temperature on fruit quality and susceptibility of fruit to these disorders have been investigated in Michigan, New York, and Maine. Internal ethylene concentrations were variable over a wide range of harvest dates, and a rapid increase in autocatalytic ethylene production was not always apparent. The starch pattern index, soluble solids content, titratable acidity and firmness also appear to have limited use as harvest indices. Development of soggy breakdown and soft scald is associated with later harvest dates and storage of fruit at temperatures of 0 to 0.5 °C compared with higher storage temperatures. It is recommended that `Honeycrisp' be stored at 3 °C, although storage disorders still can occur at this temperature if fruit are harvested late. In addition, greasiness development may be worse at higher storage temperatures.