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  • Author or Editor: M. L. Merwin x
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Abstract

Non-bearing prune (Prunus domestica L. cv. Agen) trees were fertilized with 15N-KNO3 for 10 days during 9 phenological periods. Nitrate uptake efficienty (NUE) and the distribution of absorbed 15N in the trees were determined for each of these application periods. Nitrate uptake was dependent on presence of leaves, and NUE was low from the period of natural leaf fall until shoot growth had commenced the following spring. NUE increased dramatically during the rapid phase of shoot elongation, and remained high until leaf fall. Nitrogen absorbed from fertilizer was rapidly mobilized by swelling buds and rapidly elongating shoots. The spring flush of vegetative growth utilized both the currently available fertilizer (15N) nitrogen and tree nitrogen reserves. Rapid shoot elongation was primarily dependent, however, on the redistribution of storage N.

Open Access

Natural (hay, wood chips, recycled paper pulp) and synthetic (polypropylene film and polyester fabric) mulches were compared with mechanical tillage and residual herbicides as orchard groundcover management systems (GMSS). In two New York orchards-the Clarke farm and Hudson Valley Lab (HVL—GMSS were applied from 1990 to 1993 in 1.8-m-wide strips under newly planted apple (Malus domestica; `Liberty', `Empire', `Freedom', and advanced numbered selections from the disease-resistant apple breeding program at Geneva, N.Y.) trees. GMS impacts on soil fertility, tree nutrition and growth, yields, crop value, and vole (Microtus spp.) populations were evaluated. After 3 years at the Clarke orchard, extractable NO3, Mn, Fe, B, and Zn concentrations were greater in soil with herbicides than synthetic mulches; soil K and P concentrations were greater with herbicides and wood chips than synthetic mulches. At the HVL orchard, topsoil NO3, K, and Mg concentrations were greater with hay mulch than herbicides or other mulches; Mg, Fe, and B concentrations were lower in soil with wood chips than other GMSs. Soil organic matter content was not affected by GMS. Apple leaf N, K, Cu, and Zn concentrations were greater with herbicides, hay mulch, and polypropylene mulch than cultivation or recycled paper mulch at the HVL orchard during hot, dry Summer 1991. Despite transient differences among GMSS during the initial years, after 4 years of treatments there were no consistent GMS trends in cumulative tree growth or gross yields. The higher establishment and maintenance costs of several mulches were offset by their prolonged efficacy over successive years; crop market values from 1992 to 1994 were considerably greater for trees with polypropylene film, polyester fabric, and hay mulches than herbicides, cultivation, or other mulches. Voles caused more serious damage to trees in synthetic and hay mulches, despite the use of mesh trunk guards and rodenticide bait.

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Cultivar and planting site are two factors that often receive minimal attention, but can have a significant impact on the quality of apple (Malus ×domestica) produced. A regional project, NE-183 The Multidisciplinary Evaluation of New Apple Cultivars, was initiated in 1995 to systematically evaluate 20 newer apple cultivars on Malling.9 (M.9) rootstock across 19 sites in North America. This paper describes the effect of cultivar and site on fruit quality and sensory attributes at a number of the planting sites for the 1998 through 2000 growing seasons. Fruit quality attributes measured included fruit weight, length: diameter ratio, soluble solids concentration (SSC), titratable acidity (TA), flesh firmness, red overcolor, and russet. Fruit sensory characteristics rated included crispness, sweetness, and juiciness, based on a unipolar intensity scale (where 1 = least and 5 = most), and acidity, flavor, attractiveness, and desirability based on a bipolar hedonic scale (where 1 = dislike and 5 = like extremely). All fruit quality and sensory variables measured were affected by cultivar. The two-way interaction of cultivar and planting site was significant for all response variables except SSC, TA, russet, crispness, and sweetness ratings. The SSC: TA ratio was strongly correlated with sweetness and acidity sensory rating, but was weakly correlated with flavor rating. The results demonstrate that no one cultivar is ideally suited for all planting sites and no planting site is ideal for maximizing the quality of all apple cultivars.

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