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  • Author or Editor: Michael Beulah x
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A single spray of ammonium thiosulphate (ATS) fertilizer applied when the spur flowers are approaching full bloom and lateral flowers are at about 50% of full bloom effectively reduced hand-thinning time and substantially improved fruit size of apricot in experiments conducted over a four year period. When applied as a gun spray to solution run-off, 0.4% and 0.5% ATS reduced hand-thinning time by at least one-third, increased fruit size by about 20%, and did not reduce branch and tree yields compared to control trees hand-thinned at the normal time. Airblast sprays also proved effective but the amount of wetting appears to be very critical to success. With mature plantations, 1500 to 1800 L/ha of 3% ATS gave satisfactory results. Information concerning the relative susceptibility of spur and lateral flowers and beneficial effects on fruit color and internal quality will be presented and discussed.

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Three experiments were conducted at two locations, two at Summerland, British Columbia, Canada and one at Corvallis, Ore., to evaluate synthetic auxins (MCPB-ethyl or NAA) and ethephon as blossom thinners for `Fuji' apple [Malus sylvestris (L.) Mill var. domestica (Borkh.) Mansf.]. These experiments also involved application of carbaryl at 1000 mg·L-1 in the postbloom period. All blossom thinners were sprayed at 85% full bloom while carbaryl was applied at 11-mm fruit diameter. Within these experiments, MCPB-ethyl at up to 20 mg·L-1 or NAA at up to 21 mg·L-1 increased whole flower cluster removal linearly with rate; however, with the Corvallis experiment MCPB-ethyl failed to result in any thinning. Neither auxin treatment consistently reduced fruit set on the remaining clusters, resulting in “clustering”. Bloom-time application of ethephon at 100 mg·L-1 with NAA further reduced crop load. Carbaryl reduced total crop load by increasing both whole cluster removal and number of sites with a single fruit. Return flowering was not improved by the auxin treatments except where there was very excessive crop reduction. Ethephon or carbaryl promoted return flowering with the carbaryl effect being more pronounced. However, this carbaryl effect was significantly countered by the bloom-time auxin whereas ethephon overcame the negative effects of the auxin treatments. The combined use of ethephon and carbaryl was effective in terms of both crop reduction and return flowering benefits. Chemical names used: 1-naphthyl N-methylcarbamate (carbaryl); 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon); ethyl 4-(4-chloro-2-methylphenoxy) butanoate (MCPB-ethyl); and 2-(1-naphthyl) acetic acid (NAA).

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