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  • Author or Editor: Robert M. Crassweller x
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Fruit Yield and quality measurements were taken from 10 year-old `Newhaven' peach trees pruned at prebloom (preb), full-bloom (fb), and 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks following fb. Trees were hand-pruned with dormant type thinning and heading cuts. Fruit weight and circumference tended to decrease from fb onwards, while fruit were firmer at fb+4 and fb+6 than at preb. Firmer peaches were also measured at fb+6 than at fb. Fruit color was measured on a tristimulus color scale. Value (L) indicated that lighter fruit occurred with pruning at preb, fb, and fb+4 weeks, while fruit were darker at fb+2, fb+6 and fb+8 weeks. Hue (a) indicated that trees being pruned at preb had redder fruit than those pruned at fb+2 or fb+8 weeks. Redder fruit were also measured at fb+6 than at fb+8 weeks. Chroma (b) indicated that peaches from trees pruned at fb+4 had the highest degree of yellow, while fruit from tree pruning at fb were more yellow than at fb+2, fb+6 and fb+8 weeks. Also being investigated are the pruning timing effects on cold hardiness and carbohydrate status of one year-old stems, and on Cytospora canker incidence at the pruning cuts.

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An apple planting was established in 1996 comprised of two cultivars: `Ginger Gold' (GG) and `Crimson Gala' (CG) on Malling 9 NAKB T337 and Budagovsky 9 at the Horticulture Research Farm at Rock Springs, Pa. The trees were planted at a spacing of 1.5 × 3.7 m in a randomized complete-block design with 10 replications. The trees were trained to a vertical axe system with a single wire set at 2.8 m, to which the conduit was attached. Data collected included trunk cross-sectional area (TCA), tree yield, number of fruit, and number of rootsuckers. Calculated data included annual tree growth, tree efficiency, average fruit weight, and crop load. In most years, there were significant cultivar × rootstock interactions for some variables. At planting and for the first two growing seasons, GG/B.9 were significantly larger than GG/M.9 as measured by TCA. At planting, there were no differences in TCA for CG, but, by the end of 1996, M.9 trees were significantly larger and stayed this way for the rest of the study. The GG/M.9 trees did not have significantly larger TCA than those on B.9 until 2005. Trees on B.9 were 23% and 31% smaller in 2005 for GG and CG, respectively, for B.9 than on M.9. Flowering occurred first and in greater abundance for GG/B.9. At the end of the 10th growing season, there was no difference in number of fruit or total yield per tree within cultivars by rootstock. However, for both cultivars, efficiency was highest for trees on B.9. Rootsuckers were greatest for trees on B.9. Fruit weight, when adjusted with number of fruit/tree as a covariate, was different for GG in some years.

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Apple orchards are highly diversified and complex ecological and economic systems. Production is affected by a wide range of insect, disease, weed, and mammalian pests, and is subject to the same economic and social constraints as any business enterprise. A computer technology, expert systems (ES), is being used to assist fruit growers, county extension agents, and private consultants in making better decisions about the complex horticultural, entomological, and pathological orchard problems.

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The Center for Plasticulture's High Tunnel Research and Education Facility was established at Pennsylvania State University in 1999. Since its inception, applied research has been conducted at this facility by a team of researchers and extension specialists on the development of a new high tunnel design. The development of crop production recommendations for vegetables, small fruits, tree fruits and cut flowers grown in high tunnels has been a priority. To complement the applied research program, an aggressive extension education program was developed to extend information on the technology of high tunnels to county extension personnel, growers, industry representatives, students, master gardeners and the general public. The extension programming effort consisting of demonstration high tunnels, field days, tours, in-service training, publications and presentations made at winter meetings will be discussed in the report below.

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Researchers have collected a considerable amount of data relating to apple (Malus ×domestica) cultivars and rootstocks over the past 30 years, but much of this information is not easily accessible. The long-term goal of our working group is to increase access to this information using online technology available through eXtension. In eXtension, researchers and extension personnel are developing a community of practice (CoP) to increase the quality and amount of online information for individuals interested in our work [referred to as a community of interest (CoI)]. For this project, our CoI is broadly defined as commercial apple producers, nursery professionals, county extension educators, Extension Master Gardeners, home gardeners, and consumers. Our CoP is developing diverse educational tools, with the goals of increasing productivity, profitability, and sustainability for commercial apple production. Additionally, we will provide other members of our CoI access to research-based, reliable information on the culture of apples. We chose to begin our focus on cultivars and rootstocks adapted to the eastern United States and will add other U.S. regions as our resources and interest in our project grows.

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