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- Author or Editor: William M. Dowler x
To determine whether cold hardiness of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] is affected by cultural practices, 2-year-old ‘Coronet’ trees growing in a peach tree short-life site were treated by soil fumigation with 1,2-dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP) late fall application of nitrogen, combination of fumigation and fall applied nitrogen, fall pruning (November), or usual grower practices (control). Cold hardiness was measured by determining the leakage of electrolytes from dormant terminal twig sections exposed to low temperatures, and visually by oxidative browning and ease of phloem-xylem separation. Fall-pruned trees were lower in cold hardiness and survival than controls. Nitrogen applied alone or in combination with fumigation reduced cold hardiness in early winter but increased vigor and survival. Trees grown in fumigated soil and winter-pruned were hardier than control trees and fall-pruned trees in nonfumigated soil. Differences in hardiness were greatest near bloom time. Cultural practices strongly affected cold hardiness of xylem, phloem, and cambium of treated trees, and cold hardiness was associated with tree longevity.