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Juanita Popenoe and Tara Auxt Baugher

Photosynthesis, light (PAR) and transpiration were measured with an ADC portable infrared gas analyzer on apples and grapes. Measurements were taken on north and south sides of the rows, in the morning and afternoon, on sun and shade leaves, and with the leaf chamber in a horizontal position and in a natural leaf orientation position. Measurements were made on three cloudless days in August 1990 and 1991. Subsequently, fruit adjacent to sampled leaves were harvested and soluble solids determined. Sampled leaves were then harvested and leaf areas and dry weights measured. Correlation coefficients of variables were then subjected to analysis of variance to determine which techniques gave the best correlations. Grapes and apples responded differently. For grapes, soluble solids were most closely correlated to light and photosynthesis measurements when measured on south side shade leaves, while with apples, blush side soluble solids were best correlated with measurements on south side sun leaves in the afternoon. Specific leaf weight was best correlated to photosynthesis and light with grapes when measured on north side sun leaves and with apples when measured on the south side in the morning.

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Tara Auxt Baugher and Stephen S. Miller

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Tara Auxt Baugher and Stephen S. Miller

A 2-year study was designed to test the effect of four growth-suppressing treatments on the incidence of nectarine [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] pox, nectarine fruit quality, and the growth and nutritional status of nectarine trees. Root pruning was the only treatment that significantly reduced the incidence of nectarine pox. The percentage of red surface was increased by root pruning, foliar-applied paclobutrazol, and girdling. Root pruning and paclobutrazol suppressed extension shoot growth. Root pruning decreased fruit N, P, K, Mg, Mu, Fe, B, and Zn levels and increased fruit Ca. Results of the study support earlier observations that nectarine pox is associated with excessive shoot growth, excessive levels of fruit N and K, and low levels of fruit Ca. Chemical name used: Beta-[(4-chlorophenyl) methyl] -alpha-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-l-H-1,2,4 -triazole-l-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Katie Ellis, Tara Auxt Baugher and Karen Lewis

Advances in horticultural production technology are often hindered by slow grower adoption. Low adoption rates are largely the product of skepticism, which can lead to weaknesses in the commercialization process and affect future research and product development. To better understand industry concerns and design effective outreach methods, an information technology survey was designed as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Research Initiative project titled Comprehensive Automation for Specialty Crops (CASC). This study outlines the survey results from 111 participants at tree fruit meetings in the Pacific northwestern and eastern United States in 2009. Many of the misgivings about new automated technologies, such as equipment cost and reliability of harvest assist, sensor systems, and fully automated harvest machinery, were consistent across the country. Subtle differences appeared between the eastern U.S. and Pacific northwestern U.S. responses, including justifiable equipment price points and irrigation and pest concerns; these are likely attributable to regional differences in climate, operation size and scale, and marketing strategies. These survey data will help the project team better address grower concerns and uncertainty on a regional and national level, thereby improving adoption speed and rates after CASC-developed technologies are rolled out.

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Tara Auxt Baugher, Kendall C. Elliott and D. Michael Glenn

Three growth suppression treatments were compared during 1991 to 1993 on `Stayman' apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees grown in the T-trellis and the MIA trellis systems. All treatments—root pruning, K-31 fescue (Festuca arundinacea Schreb.), and K-31 fescue plus root pruning—suppressed tree growth compared to the nontreated control, but results were inconsistent between years and systems. Sod or sod plus root pruning reduced terminal shoot length in both systems in 2 out of 3 years. Root pruning decreased shoot length in the T-trellis in 1992. Sod decreased trunk cross-sectional area in the T-trellis in 1993. Treatments did not affect 3-year average yield efficiency but did appear to increase biennial bearing. Sod, with or without root pruning, decreased fruit cracking in the T-trellis 69% and 42%, respectively, in 1992, and sod plus root pruning decreased cracking in the MIA trellis 50%. Sod reduced fruit diameter in the T-trellis in 1992. Secondary effects of growth suppression treatments included increased light penetration and improved fruit color. Sod decreased leaf N and Mg and increased leaf P, K, and Cu. The Oct. 1993 stem water potential gradient from root to canopy was more negative in the sod plus root pruning treatment, and the osmotic potential of rootsucker leaves in the combination treatment was greater than in the control, indicating that sod plus root pruning alters the distribution of water within a fruit tree.

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Tara Auxt Baugher, Richard Marini, James R. Schupp and Christopher B. Watkins

During a 3-year study of bitter pit in commercial ‘Honeycrisp’ apple (Malus ×domestica) orchards, incidence was associated with low calcium (Ca) levels in fruit peel; high ratios of nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and/or magnesium (Mg) to Ca in fruit peel; excessive terminal shoot length; and low crop load. Peel N and Mg concentrations were negatively correlated and peel Ca concentration positively correlated with crop density (CD). Shoot length (SL) was not consistently correlated with peel N, Mg, or phosphorus (P) and was negatively correlated with only Ca. A two-variable model that included SL and the ratio of N to Ca explained more than 65% of bitter pit incidence. The model has implications for best management of the cultivar in the field and during storage.

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Richard P. Marini, James R. Schupp, Tara Auxt Baugher and Robert Crassweller

Early-season fruit diameter measurements for ‘Gala’, ‘Fuji’, and ‘Honeycrisp’ apples in three orchards for 3 years were used to develop regression models to estimate fruit weight at harvest. Fruit weight at harvest was linearly related to fruit diameter 60 days after bloom, but intercepts and slopes were not homogeneous for all nine combinations of orchards and years for any of the cultivars. When the entire data set for a cultivar was used to develop a single predictive model, the model was biased and underpredicted fruit weight for small fruit and overpredicted fruit weight for large fruit. Adding the ratio of (fruit weight/fruit diameter) at 60 days after bloom to the model with fruit diameter at 60 days after bloom produced a less-biased model with improved coefficients of determination, and predicted values were more similar to the observed values. The (fruit weight/fruit diameter) ratio was positively related to cumulative growing degree days for the 60 days before the fruit were measured and tended to be lower in years when fruits were exposed to frosts. These multiple regression models can be used to develop tables with predicted fruit weights at harvest for varying combinations of fruit diameter and (fruit weight/fruit diameter) ratio 60 days after bloom.

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Richard P. Marini, James R. Schupp, Tara Auxt Baugher and Robert Crassweller

Canopies of ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ trees, trained to the vertical axis, were divided into eight vertical sections, each representing 12.5% of the tree canopy. The diameter of all ‘Gala’ fruit and fruit weight for all ‘Fuji’ fruit were recorded for each canopy section. Fruit size from most canopy sections was normally distributed and distributions were similar for most sections. Therefore, fruit size distribution for a tree can be estimated by harvesting fruit from two sections of a tree, representing 25% of the canopy. For small trees in intensive plantings, with canopy diameters less than 2.0 m, average fruit diameter or fruit weight estimated from all fruit collected from 25% of the canopy may provide estimates within 7% of the true value.