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Regulation of biennial bearing in pome fruit is usually accomplished by chemically removing fruit during the “on” cycle. The advantages and disadvantages of regulating biennial bearing by inhibiting flowering in the “off” cycle were discussed. Gibberellins and the two phenyl urea cytokinin-like compounds, thidiazuron and CPPU have been shown to inhibit flowering in pome fruit. It was concluded that inhibition of flowering with commercially available gibberellins was not a commercially acceptable approach to regulate biennial bearing. The inhibition of flowering was erratic, fruit thinning and increased fruit set could not be predicted, and seed abortion following gibberellin application could predispose fruit to reduced postharvest life because of reduced calcium uptake. Regulation of flowering by inhibiting flower bud formation appeared to be a viable way to regulate cropping on nonbearing tress or trees that were not carrying a crop.

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key component in influencing flower bud formation and achieving return bloom. The first chemical thinners were caustic materials that burned flowers thus achieving thinning by preventing set of a percentage of the fruit on a tree. The first hormone

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Pome fruit display a biennial bearing tendency that is characterized by heavy flowering and fruit set one year followed by a year with reduced bloom and fruit set. This tendancy results in a year with heavy cropping with small fruit, and a subsequent year with large fruit and a small crop. Both situations are undesirable. Chemical thinners in the “on” year are frequently used to modify this cropping behavior. Alternative methods to control cropping by flower bud inhibitions will be discussed. Gibberellin application in the “off” year at or soon after bloom will inhibit flower bud formation and encourage moderate flowering. This method of crop regulation has been used infrequently. Gibberellins differ in their ability to inhibit flowering. Therefore, selection of a specific gibberellin and an effective concentration range may provide greater flexibility in controlling flowering. The cytokinins CPPU and thidiazuron inhibit flower bud formation, increase fruit size, and also thin fruit. Appropriate application of these cytokinins will be discussed where beneficial effects on fruit size may be achieved while maintaining a moderate level of flower bud formation.

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Commercially grown apricots (Prunus armeniaca), peaches (Prunus persica), nectarines (Prunus persica), plums (Prunus salicina and Prunus domestica), and pluots (Prunus salicina × Prunus armeniaca) have a tendency to produce high numbers of flowers. These flowers often set and produce more fruit than trees can adequately size to meet market standards. When excessive fruit set occurs, removal of fruit by hand-thinning is common to ensure that fruit size meets market standards. Over the years there have been numerous attempts to find chemical or physical techniques that would help to reduce costs associated with and improve efficiencies of hand-thinning; however, using alternate strategies to hand-thinning have not been widely adopted in stone fruit production. In the past 10 years, through the continuing efforts of scientists throughout the world in public and private institutions and business, it appears that there are chemical sprays capable of reducing the need for hand-thinning in stone fruit. Management of flowering by reducing the number of flowers on apricot, peach, nectarine, plum, and prune has shown promise under climatic conditions such as those found in the San Joaquin Valley of California. By applying gibberellins during May through July, flowers in many stone fruit cultivars can be reduced in the following season. The reduction in flower number does not generally lead to an increase in fruit set. As a result, fruit numbers are reduced, the need for hand thinning can be reduced, and in some cases eliminated. There are risks associated with reducing flower number before climatic conditions during bloom or final fruit set are known. However, given the changes in labor costs and market demands, especially in the developed world, the benefits may outweigh the risks. The application and implications of these summer gibberellin applications toward reducing flower numbers will be discussed as it relates to commercial stone fruit growing.

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Abstract

Vegetative and fruiting shoots were tagged in Oct. 1982 and 1983 on ‘Squirrel’, ‘Stuart’, and ‘Cape Fear’ pecan trees [Carya illinoensis (Wangenh) C. Koch], and flowering was determined the following years. One-year-old shoots were sampled from vegetative and fruiting shoots of each cultivar on 14 Oct. 1982, 9 Feb., 11 Apr., 14 Oct., and 24 Nov. 1983, and 6 Jan. and 17 Apr. 1984 and analyzed for reducing and nonreducing sugars and starch concentrations. Fruiting reduced return bloom of ‘Cape Fear’ in 1983 and 1984, and ‘Stuart’ in 1983. Sugar and starch concentrations varied inversely. Sugar concentrations were increased in November, January, and February, and starch concentrations were greatest during October and April. The total carbohydrate concentration in fruiting shoots of each cultivar was greater or equal to that of vegetative shoots in all but one instance. The degree of return fruiting was positively associated with cultivars with early fruit ripening dates.

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Combination postbloom sprays of BA at 50 mg·liter-1 and daminozide at 2000 mg·liter-1 were made to limbs of `Early McIntosh' apple (Malus domestics Borkh.) where all of the flowers were either removed before full bloom or allowed to remain. BA and fruit removal increased return bloom, whereas daminozide bad no effect. No treatment had a consistent effect on spur leaf area. Repeat sprays of GA4+7 to `Delicious' apple trees at full bloom (FB) +5, FB + 14, and FB +22 days reduced appendage development and flower bud formation on spurs. One spray of GAd+7 at 150 mg·liter-1 at FB +42 days reduced appendage formation and the percentage of flowering spurs but not as effectively as earlier repeat sprays of GA4+7 at 50 mg·liter-1 When BA at 150 mg·liter-1 was combined with the GA at FB +42 days, appendage formation was increased but the reduction in flowering was not reversed. One BA spray at 50 mg·liter-1 at FB +22 days to `McIntosh' trees increased the number of appendages formed in spurs, but return bloom was not influenced. Chemical names used: (N -phenylmethyl) -1 H -purine-6-amine (BA); butanedioic acid mono (2, 2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide); gibberellins A4 and A7 (GA4+7).

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Prohexadione calcium applied as a series of three applications starting soon after petal fall to `Fuji'/M.9 apple trees reduced the number of pruning cuts, pruning time, pruning weight per tree, current season's shoot length, individual shoot weights, and increased number of nodes on the lower 40 cm of shoots. Fruit diameter, soluble solids, starch, or individual fruit weights were not affected by Apogee sprays. Fruit color and firmness were slightly increased in only one experiment. Growth suppression appeared to be greater on trees cropping more heavily. When trees were more heavily thinned, less shoot growth control was achieved. Apogee applied at 250 mg/L in three applications caused a significant increase in fruit set when compared to the control. Alone Vydate, Carbaryl+Oil, or Carbary+Accel+Oil caused fruit thinning, but neither ethephon nor shading 3 days caused significant thinning. Apogee did not influence results of chemical thinners when applied between the first and second Apogee applications. The 10% and the 27.5% Apogee formulations gave similar shoot growth inhibition when applied with Regulaid or Oil+Silwet L-77. When using hard water (well water), the 27.5% Apogee formulation was not as effective as the 10% formulation. The 10% Apogee formulation has more NH4SO4 than the 27.5% formulation w/w; NH4SO4 is used to prevent inactivation of Apogee by calcium and other cations when hard water is used for spraying. The addition of CaCl (frequently used to reduce bitter pit and corkspot disorders) to the 27.5% Apogee formulation caused poorer growth control than with hard water alone. When Apogee was used at 125 mg/L, the addition of NH4SO4 restored the effectiveness of the hard water+CaCl mixture. Alone the additives NH4SO4, Ca Cl, Regulaid, and/or Oil plus L-77, had no effect on tree growth. Apogee plus L-77+Oil provided additional growth suppression when compared to Apogee+Regulaid. In 1998, three applications of Apogee (63 mg/L) or ethephon (135 mg/L) did not affected shoot growth of `Fuji'/M.9 trees at these low rates. Combinations of Apogee and ethephon gave good control of tree growth. Flowering and fruit set were not promoted by any of these applications.

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Abstract

Mature, bearing Staymen apple trees were subjected to a series of early season fungicide treatments to determine whether the fruiting performance of the variety might be affected by the use of captan or dodine applications. Both captan and dodine were used at rates recommended in Virginia. A limited number of treatments deviated from these levels. Data were taken and analyzed on fruit set, fruit weight, estimated bloom intensity, and estimated yield. Tests were conducted during the 1963, 1964 and 1965 seasons. All three test seasons were warm and dry during the blossom period, conditions favorable to bee activity and fruit set. Fruiting was heavy in 1963 and 1965, moderate in the 1964 season. No significant differences in fruitting performance between the captan and dodine treated trees were detected in any year.

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An experiment was initiated on mature `Morespur McIntosh'on M.7 rootstock to document the effects of repeated yearly applications of benzyladenine (BA) and naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) on fruit quality at harvest, the development of storage disorders following regular air storage, and on return bloom. When analyzed over the 4-year period, thinning did not significantly reduce crop load. This result was due in large part to no thinning response one year and very poor set on all trees in another year. Thinners were effective at increasing return bloom over the course of the experiment. BA increased fruit weight but reduced red color compared with NAA treated and control trees. Fruit quality differences at harvests were attributed primarily to crop load effects. There were no fruit quality, return bloom, or storage disorders that could not be explained by treatment effects on crop load or due to previously known effects of individual thinners. The results of this experiment clearly suggest that there are no direct adverse effects following repeated use of either NAA or BA.

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Abstract

Foliar sprays of 10 and 100 mg·liter-1 CPPU were applied at petal fall of the king blossom (PF) or 18 days later to mature ‘McIntosh’/M.7 apple trees. All CPPU sprays reduced crop load. Treatments at PF reduced the crop to near the desired level of about five to six fruit per cm of limb circumference. Fruit weight was increased 21% and 67%, respectively, by 10 and 100 mg·liter-1 applied at PF. Treatments at PF increased fruit size more than at PF + 18, and 100 mg·liter-1 was more effective than 10 mg·liter-1. At the higher rate and later timing, CPPU appeared to retard ripening. These fruit were firmer, red color development was reduced, and degradation of starch appeared to be delayed. Fruit length : diameter (L:D) ratio and seed number were reduced by treatment at PF + 18 days. Total growth was increased on limbs treated with CPPU at PF + 18 days. CPPU at 10 mg·liter-1 reduced flower bud formation, and at 100 mg·liter-1 it nearly eliminated return bloom when applied at either timing. Chemical name used: N-(2-chloro-4-pyridyI)-N’-phenylurea (CPPU).

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