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P.H. Brown and H. Hu

We have demonstrated that boron (B) is freely phloem mobile in a number of crop species and we predict that B will be mobile in all species that transport polyols (mannitol, sorbitol, dulcitol). This finding directly contradicts accepted dogma and profoundly influences the diagnosis and management of B in almond, apple, apricot, cherry, pear, peach, plum, prune, celery, and other species. In the majority plants, B moves in the xylem with the transpiration stream. Once B enters the leaf, it remains there with little or no redistribution. As a result, there is always a decreasing concentration gradient of B from old to young leaves and B toxicity symptoms always occurs in the old leaves first, typically exhibiting tip and margin burn. In species in which B is mobile, these symptoms do not occur. When almond, peach, and plum were exposed to high B in the growth medium, the predominant site of B accumulation was fruit, young stems and apical meristems. As a consequence, the earliest symptoms of B toxicity in species in which B is phloem mobile are observed in the young shoot meristems and fruits. Foliar application of 10B isotope demonstrates that B is readily transported to neighboring fruits and buds of almond, apple, and nectarine. In apple seedlings, plant B requirements can be fully satisfied solely by foliar application to a few mature leaves. This strongly suggest that foliar B applications can be used as an efficient means for B fertilization in Malus, Prunus, and Pyrus species. Details of the studies and their implications for B management will be discussed.

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Agnes M.S. Nyomora and P.H. Brown

Previous work in our laboratory demonstrated that B promotes flowering, fruit set, and yield in almond. A positive response of almond tissue B concentration, fruit set, and yield to B application was observed. Positive correlations between tissue B concentration with fruit set or yield were found when B was applied at 0–1.67 kg B/ha. An investigation was undertaken to test whether the time of B application had a significant effect on B concentration and yield in almond. Solubor (20.5% B) was applied at 0.8 and 1.67 kg B/ha during fall (September), winter (December), and spring (February) to `Butte' (pollinizer) and `Mono' (pistil donor). Results show that for most attributes, September application was more effective than spring and winter. `Butte' was more responsive to B application than `Mono'.

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G.A. Picchioni, S.A. Weinbaum, and P.H. Brown

Leaf retention, uptake kinetics, total uptake (per unit leaf area), export kinetics, and the total export of foliage-applied, labeled B (]0B-enriched boric acid) were determined for apple (Malus domestics Borkh.), pear (Pyrus communis L.), prune (Prunus domestics L.), and sweet cherry (P. avium L.). Foliar uptake of labeled B by shoot leaves was 88% to 96% complete within 24 hours of application. More than 50% of the B retained on shoot leaf surfaces following application was absorbed and exported within 6 hours of application. Genotypic differences in shoot leaf surface characteristics among the species tested greatly influenced the amount of solution retained per unit leaf area. Leaf retention capacity was the primary determinant of the quantity of B absorbed by and exported from shoot leaves following foliar application. On average, apple shoot leaves retained, absorbed, and exported at least twice as much labeled B per unit leaf area as prune and pear shoot leaves and three to four times as much as sweet cherry shoot leaves. The sink demand of nearby, mature apples did not affect the export of labeled B when applied to adjacent spur leaves, but the fruit imported 16% of their total B from the applied solution during a 10-day period. Despite extensive documentation for the immobility of B accumulated by leaves naturally (e.g., from the soil), the B accumulated by leaves following foliage application was highly mobile in all four species tested.

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T.A. Wheaton, J.D. Whitney, W.S. Castle, R.P. Muraro, H.W. Browning, and D.P.H. Tucker

A factorial experiment begun in 1980 included `Hamlin' and `Valencia' sweet-orange scions [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osb.], and Milam lemon (C. jambhiri Lush) and Rusk citrange [C. sinensis × Poncirus trifoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstocks, tree topping heights of 3.7 and 5.5 m, between-row spacings of 4.5 and 6.0 m, and in-row spacings of 2.5 and 4.5 m. The spacing combinations provided tree densities of 370, 494, 667, and 889 trees ha. Yield increased with increasing tree density during the early years of production. For tree ages 9 to 13 years, however, there was no consistent relationship between yield and tree density. Rusk citrange, a rootstock of moderate vigor, produced smaller trees and better yield, fruit quality, and economic returns than Milam lemon, a vigorous rootstock. After filling their allocated space, yield and fruit quality of trees on Milam rootstock declined with increasing tree density at the lower topping height. Cumulative economic returns at year 13 were not related to tree density.

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D.S. Lawson, S.K. Brown, J.P. Nyrop, and W.H. Reissig

A barrier system for pest control consisting of insect-exclusionary cages covered with three types of mesh material was placed over columnar apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees. This system has been shown to provide arthropod control equivalent to insecticides. Light intensity, evaporation, and air and soil temperature were reduced inside the cages. Shoot elongation of columnar apple trees grown inside insect-exclusionary cages was significantly greater than that of trees grown outside the cages. However, this increased shoot growth was not due to etiolation. Tree performance was unaffected by insect-exclusionary cages. Fruit set and fruit soluble solids concentration were not reduced by the cages; however, fruit color intensity was reduced as the degree of shading from the mesh increased. These findings, in conjunction with high levels of arthropod control by insect-exclusionary cages, may allow insect-exclusionary cages to be used for evaluating integrated pest management thresholds, predator-prey relationships, and apple production without insecticides.

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A.M.S. Nyomora, P.H. Brown, K. Pinney, and V.S. Polito

The effect of boron (B) on in vivo and in vitro development of almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb (syn. P. amygdalus Batsch)] pollen and pollen tubes and the resultant effect on fruit set was studied in mature trees. The cultivars Mono (pistil donor) and Butte (pollinizer) in an orchard with low soil B in Fresno, California were sprayed with B at 0, 0.8, 1.7, or 2.5 kg·ha-1 during Fall 1993. Pollen viability as indicated by the fluorescein diacetate method (FDA) was >85% and was not affected by field-applied B, however, in vivo pollen germination and tube growth were enhanced by foliar-applied B. More effect of applied B on in vivo growth appeared as pollen tubes progressed toward the ovary. For in vitro germination, foliar-applied B reduced bursting of tubes, and addition of B to the culture media significantly increased pollen germination and pollen tube growth.

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G.A. Picchioni, P.H. Brown, S.A. Weinbaum, and T.T. Muraoka

Estimates of leaflet and fruit macronutrient (N, P, K, Ca, and Mg) accumulation and resorption were developed in six (three heavily cropping, on-year and three noncropping, off-year) mature pistachio (Pistacia vera L. `Kerman') trees over three growing seasons during three stages of phenology [the spring growth flush (April to June); seed fill (late June to September); and leaf senescence (September to November)]. Crop load influenced total nutrient content per tree in annual organs (leaves and fruit), the relative allocation of nutrients between leaves and fruit, temporal patterns of nutrient accumulation in annual organs, and the magnitude of net leaf nutrient resorption per tree prior to leaf fall. In off-year trees, macronutrient accumulation in annual organs (leaves) was concentrated during the spring flush of growth. In contrast, significant macronutrient accumulation in annual organs of on-year trees (leaves plus fruit) occurred not only during the spring flush of growth but also during seed fill. Duration and magnitude of macronutrient accumulation were greater in on-year vs. off-year trees. Fruit N and P demand during seed fill was partially met by a net decrease in the N and P contents of the pericarp. These decreases in pericarp nutrient content during seed fill were equivalent to 32% and 26% of embryo accumulation of N and P, respectively. Fruit demand for N, P, and K during the spring flush of “on” years was accompanied by reduced leaf N, P, and K contents per tree. Net leaf N, Ca, and Mg resorption per tree during leaf senescence differed with crop load. Net leaf N resorption was significantly greater in off-year trees than on-year trees. Leaf N resorption presumably represents an important component of the N pool stored in perennial tree parts during dormancy. The greater leaf N resorption following “off” years was a function of greater leaf N concentration and greater leaf biomass per tree. In contrast, net leaf resorption of Ca and Mg was greater in on-year vs. off-year trees. Experimental validation of the magnitude and periodicity of nutrient uptake by mature pistachio trees is needed during the alternate-bearing cycle, especially in light of the potential contribution of current fertilization practices to groundwater contamination.

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S.A. Weinbaum, G.A. Picchioni, T.T. Muraoka, L. Ferguson, and P.H. Brown

The effects of alternate bearing on recovery and loss of isotonically labeled fertilizer N and B and on the accumulation of carbohydrate and N reserves were assessed in mature `Kerman' pistachio (Pistacia vera L.) trees. Total recovery of labeled fertilizer N applied once (in late January) was ≈ 60% greater if applied to trees entering an “off' than an “on” year, with respect to fruiting. Eleven percent more labeled B was recovered in off- than on-year trees. Five times more N (1 vs. 0.2 kg N) was lost from the tree in fruit and senescent leaflets from on- than off-year trees. In dormant trees, 144% and 22% more starch and N reserves, respectively, were present after off than on years. Thus, on-year trees were characterized by a greater reproductive demand for N and carbohydrates, reduced accumulation of C and N (i.e., storage) reserves in perennial tree parts, and reduced recovery of January-applied labeled fertilizer N than off-year trees. As B is absorbed passively, the higher transpiration that may accompany the 43% larger leaf area per tree and the probability of increased root growth probably contributes to its increased uptake during off years. The enhanced labeled N recovery in early spring by trees entering their off year preceded fruit and seed development in on-year trees. The differential tree capacity for nutrient uptake in spring may have been conditioned the previous rather than the current year. The increased uptake of labeled N by trees entering an off year (i.e., emerging from an on year) was associated with lower levels of carbohydrate and N reserves than for on-year trees that had just completed an off year. Future experimentation should assess the comparative capacity for nutrient uptake by on-and off-year trees at other stages of phenology, e.g., during seed development and postharvest.

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Allan F. Brown, Gad G. Yousef, Elizabeth H. Jeffery, Barbara P. Klein, Mathew A. Wallig, Mosbah M. Kushad, and John A. Juvik

Ten broccoli [Brassica oleracea L. (Botrytis Group)] accessions were grown in several environments to estimate glucosinolate (GS) variability associated with genotype, environment, and genotype × environment interaction and to identify differences in the stability of GSs in broccoli florets. Significant differences in genetic variability were identified for aliphatic GSs but not for indolyl GSs. The percentage of GS variability attributable to genotype for individual aliphatic compounds ranged from 54.2% for glucoraphanin to 71.0% for progoitrin. For total indolyl GSs, the percentage of variability attributable to genotype was only 12%. Both qualitative and quantitative differences in GSs were detected among the genotypes. Ten-fold differences in progoitrin, glucoraphanin, and total aliphatic GS levels were observed between the highest and lowest genotypes. Only two lines, Eu8-1 and VI-158, produced aliphatic GSs other than glucoraphanin in appreciable amounts. Differences in stability of these compounds among the cultivars were also observed between fall and spring plantings. Results suggest that genetic factors necessary for altering the qualitative and quantitative aliphatic GS profiles are present within existing broccoli germplasm, which makes breeding for enhanced cancer chemoprotectant activity feasible.

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S.S. Miller, R.W. McNew, B.H. Barritt, L. Berkett, S.K. Brown, J.A. Cline, J.M. Clements, W.P. Cowgill, R.M. Crassweller, M.E. Garcia, D.W. Greene, G.M. Greene, C.R. Hampson, I. Merwin, D.D. Miller, R.E. Moran, C.R. Rom, T.R. Roper, J.R. Schupp, and E. Stover

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.