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M. Cecilia Peppi and Matthew W. Fidelibus

Forchlorfenuron (CPPU), a synthetic cytokinin, applied after fruit set increases the size and firmness of table grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) beyond what is possible without CPPU treatment. However, treatment with CPPU may inhibit coloring of ‘Flame Seedless’ grapes, limiting its use in growing areas where color has been consistently poor. In contrast, application of abscisic acid (ABA) to ‘Flame Seedless’ grapes may cause fruit softening, which is undesirable, but its primary effect is to increase anthocyanin content and fruit color. Thus, we hypothesized that application of CPPU followed by ABA might increase the size and firmness of ‘Flame Seedless’ grapes without excessively inhibiting coloring. Grapes were treated with 0 or 20 g·ha−1 CPPU (applied at fruit set) and 0, 300, or 600 mg·L−1 ABA (applied at veraison) in 2005 and with 0, 5, 10, 15, or 20 g·ha−1 CPPU and 0, 200, 400, or 600 mg·L−1 ABA in 2006. Both plant growth regulators (PGRs) increased berry mass, but grapes treated with CPPU were as firm, or firmer, than nontreated grapes, whereas those treated with ABA were of similar or lesser firmness. Treatment with CPPU generally reduced soluble solids and red berry color, whereas treatment with ABA reduced titratable acidity and increased red color. The PGRs did not interact to affect any of the fruit quality variables measured, so beneficial effects of CPPU or ABA were apparent whether the grapes were treated with either or both PGRs. Thus, the combined use of CPPU and ABA may be a desirable cultural practice for ‘Flame Seedless’.

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F.S. Davies, M.W. Fidelibus and C.A. Campbell

An experiment was conducted to determine if gibberellic acid (GA; ProGibb, Abbott Labs) can be mixed with Aliette or Agri-Mek and oil to reduce application costs, without reducing GA efficacy, and if Silwet and Kinetic adjuvants enhance GA efficacy. Five tank mixes were tested along with a nonsprayed control. The tank mixes included: 1) GA, 2) GA + Silwet, 3) GA + Kinetic, 4) GA + Silwet + Aliette, and 5) GA + Silwet + Agri-Mek + oil. All compounds were applied at recommended concentrations. In September, ≈24 L of each tank mix was applied with a hand sprayer to mature `Hamlin' orange trees [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.] on sour orange (Citrus aurantium L.) rootstock. Peel puncture resistance (PPR), peel color, and juice yield (percent juice weight) were evaluated monthly between Dec. 1997 and Mar. 1998. On most sampling dates the fruit of treated trees had higher PPR and were less yellow in color than fruit from control trees. However, in Jan., fruit treated with GA + Silwet and GA + Kinetic had greater PPR than other treatments. In Feb., fruit treated with GA + Silwet + Agri-Mek + oil had the lowest PPR. The effect of the different tank mixes on juice yield was usually similar to the effect of the tank mixes on PPR and peel color. On 8 Jan. 1998, fruit from trees treated with GA alone yielded significantly more juice than fruit from control trees. On 24 Feb. 1998, fruit from trees treated with GA alone yielded more juice than fruit from the other treatments. Thus, GA efficacy is generally not reduced by these tank mixes, nor improved by adjuvants.

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M. Cecilia Peppi, Matthew W. Fidelibus and Nick Dokoozlian

Poor coloration of red grapes grown in warm regions is a frequent problem that decreases production efficiency. Most table grape growers use ethephon to improve color, but its influence on color development is erratic, and it may reduce berry firmness. Application of S-abscisic acid (ABA) to grapes can increase the anthocyanins in their skins, but no protocols have been established regarding its potential commercial use. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of ABA and ethephon treatments on fruit quality characteristics, including those related to firmness and color, on `Flame Seedless' grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) in several experiments over three consecutive seasons. Abscisic acid had few effects on berry weight or juice composition, but it increased berry softening and skin anthocyanin concentrations. The effect of ABA on berry firmness was similar to ethephon. With respect to skin anthocyanin concentration and fruit color characteristics, 300 mg·L–1 ABA applied at veraison was superior to the other ABA concentrations and to ethephon applied at any of the times tested. Moreover, any concentration of ABA between 75 and 300 mg·L–1 applied after veraison improved color better than ethephon applied at the same time. There was a highly significant inverse curvilinear relationship between skin anthocyanin concentration and the lightness and hue of the berries. Anthocyanin concentrations between 0.01 and 0.04 mg·cm–2 had little effect on berry lightness and hue, so researchers should consider measuring color, not just anthocyanins, when evaluating the quality of red table grapes.