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Elizabeth T. Maynard

Benefits of drip irrigation for jack-o-lantern pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) in the midwestern United States are not documented. Field trials were conducted on a sandy loam soil to compare yield and fruit size of unirrigated pumpkins (NONE) with pumpkins irrigated when in-row soil water tension (SWT) 30 cm deep reached 20 kPa (HIGH) or 60 kPa (MED). The 2004 trial included two planting methods, direct seed (SD) and transplant, and two cultivars, `Gold Medal' (GM) and `Magic Lantern' (ML). GM typically has larger and more vigorous vines than ML. In 2005 the trial included only SD ML. Rainfall June through August totaled 38.4 cm in 2004 and 28.2 cm in 2005. In 2004 HIGH increased yield 13% compared to NONE (42.1 vs. 37.2 t·ha-1). MED (39.0 t·ha-1) did not differ from NONE. Neither planting method nor cultivar influenced the yield response to irrigation. The effect of irrigation on average weight per pumpkin depended on cultivar. In 2004, ML with HIGH averaged 7.76 kg per pumpkin, 16% heavier than NONE at 6.67 kg. MED averaged 7.17 kg. Irrigation did not affect average weight of GM: HIGH, MED and NONE averaged 12.6, 12.8 and 12.3 kg, respectively. For SD ML, combined analysis of 2004 and 2005 data showed an 18% increase in average pumpkin weight for HIGH vs. NONE (7.94 vs. 6.72 kg), but no significant effect of irrigation on yield (33.6, 29.8 and 28.4 t·ha-1 for HIGH, MED and NONE, respectively). Irrigation did not affect the number of pumpkins produced per hectare for either cultivar in either year. Results suggest that compared to no irrigation, maintaining SWT less than 20 kPA with drip irrigation may lead to 1) yield increase on the order of 10% or less, 2) 16% to 18% increase in average pumpkin weight for ML.

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James W. Olmstead, Amy F. Iezzoni and Matthew D. Whiting

Although maximizing fruit size is critical for profitable sweet cherry (Prunusavium L.) production, little is known about the cellular differences among and between cultivars that contribute to fruit size differences. A wide range of fruit size exists among sweet cherries, and, due to cultural and environmental differences, significant variation exists among genetically identical fruit from the same cultivar. To determine the relative contributions of flesh cell number and cell size to final fruit size in sweet cherry, equatorial sections of three cultivars with a wide range in final average fruit size [`New York 54' (NY54; 1.4 g fresh weight, 11.8 mm diameter), `Emperor Francis' (EF; 6.1 g, 21.0 mm), and `Selah' (12.8 g, 25.5 mm)] were created from mature fruit. Cells intersecting a transverse line were counted and average cell length was calculated. The average cell numbers were significantly different (P ≤ 0.05) between `NY54', `EF', and `Selah' (26.7, 47.4, and 83.2, respectively), indicating that flesh cell number is the major contributor to differences in fruit size between cultivars. Flesh cell numbers of `NY54', `EF', and `Selah' were similar at bloom and increased rapidly for a short duration after fertilization, suggesting a key developmental period for fruit size differences. To determine the contribution of cell number differences to variation in fruit size within a cultivar, fruit from `Bing' and `Regina' trees exhibiting a range of size due to cultural and environmental differences were measured. In both cases, average cell number was not significantly different (P = 0.9, P = 0.3, respectively), while average cell size was (P ≤ 0.05), further indicating fruit flesh cell number is a genetically controlled trait.

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Raphael A. Stern, Daniel Stern, Moshe Harpaz and Shmuel Gazit

Application of TP as Tipimon® or TPA as Maxim® at the young fruitlet stage significantly increased yield in three lychee (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) cultivars: `Mauritius', `Floridian', and `Kaimana'. Application of TP followed by TPA a week later increased yield more than did either substance alone. In all experiments, TPA increased fruit size and weight, relative to both controls and TP-treated trees. The increased yield did not prevent the increase in fruit size. Use of sprays of TPA may be an effective way of satisfying the market demand for large lychee fruit. Chemical names used: 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxypropionic acid (TP); 3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridyloxyacetic acid (TPA).

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James M. Wargo, Ian A. Merwin and Christopher B. Watkins

`GoldRush' is a new scab (Venturia inaequalis) resistant apple (Malus ×domestica) with excellent flavor and storage qualities that tends to produce small and russeted fruit. We investigated the effects of rate, timing, and method of nitrogen (N) fertilizers on `GoldRush' fruit size and quality during 1998-99. Fertilizer treatments were 1) no N fertilizer (control); 2) a low N rate of 45 kg·ha-1 (40.1 lb/acre) applied in April (LN-Apr); 3) a low N rate of 45 kg·ha-1 applied half in April and half in June (LN-Apr+Jun); 4) a high N rate of 90 kg·ha-1 (80.3 lb/acre) split in April and June (HN-Apr+Jun); 5) a high N rate of 90 kg·ha-1 applied in April, May, June, and July at 22.5 kg·ha-1 (20 lb/acre) each month (HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul); and 6) canopy sprays of 1% (wt/wt) urea-N, equivalent to 7 kg·ha-1 (6.2 lb/acre) applied monthly in May, June, July, and August (foliar urea). In 1998, an additional foliar urea spray at 5% (wt/wt) concentration was applied to trees after harvest. The first year's Ntreatments did not affect relative average fruit weights or total yields, but unfertilized trees produced more fruit in smaller size categories. Nitrogen fertilization resulted in greener and softer fruit both years. In the second year, all N additions increased yields compared with controls, but average fruit weight was inversely correlated with crop load. Foliar urea sprays and HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul treatments increased yields the most. Fruit from LN-fertilized trees were normally distributed across a range of eight box-count size categories, peaking at size 100 both years. In the unfertilized control, fruit size was skewed into smaller size categories and yield was reduced. Total yields were greatest in foliar urea and HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul treatments, but fruit-size distribution was skewed into smaller categories, peaking at size 138 in the second year. Foliar urea and HN-Apr+May+Jun+Jul treatments produced the highest crop value, but when estimated labor and fertilizer costs were considered, foliar urea and LN-Apr+Jun were the most efficient treatments. Nitrogen fertilizer improved fruit size and market value, but average fruit size in all treatments remained relatively small in both years, indicating that N fertilization alone may not increase fruit size in `GoldRush.'

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D.A. Rosenberger, T.L. Robinson, J.R. Schupp, C.A. Engle-Ahlers and F.W. Meyer

Effects of three sterol-demethylation inhibiting (DMI) fungicides and a contact fungicide were compared over two years at each of two locations to determine if fungicide treatments had differential effects on productivity, fruit size and shape, or gross returns for `Empire' apples (Malus ×domestica Borkh.). Treatments were applied four to five times per year during the primary apple scab season. Effects of treatments were assessed by comparing fruit set efficiencies, number of fruit per tree, total harvested fruit weight, and fruit length: diameter ratios at harvest. No significant differences were noted among individual treatments in any of the four trials. However, when treatments were contrasted by grouping individual treatments, significantly larger fruit size was noted for triflumizole treatments vs. combined fenarimol and myclobutanil treatments in one of the four trials and for captan or mancozeb compared to fenarimol and myclobutanil treatments in two trials. None of the DMI fungicides compared in these trials had any consistent adverse affect on fruit size, total yield, or estimated gross return per hectare. We conclude that the plant growth regulator effects of DMI fungicides are inconsistent and are unlikely to have significant economic impact on commercial apple production.

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Holly A. Johnson*, Steven A. Weinbaum and Theodore M. DeJong

The effects of low and high crop loads in 2002 on floral development (Summer 2002), pistil size at anthesis (Spring 2003), and subsequent season fruit size at maturity (Summer 2003) were studied. Trees were all thinned to the same crop load in 2003. Three peach cultivars (Elegant Lady, O'Henry and Fairtime) with different ripening times (mid-July, mid-August, and early-September, respectively) were used to assess the effects of current season crop on floral development for the subsequent season. Based on previous literature, we reasoned that the maximum competition for carbohydrates between maturing fruit and developing buds is likely to occur at fruit maturity, especially under heavy crop loads. In 2003, individual fruit were harvested and weighed at maturity. In all three cultivars, a heavy crop load reduced the percentage of floral buds initiated and delayed floral differentiation. A heavy crop load also reduced pistil size at anthesis and fruit size at maturity in the subsequent season. These data support the practice of vigorous pruning to annually renew fruiting wood in peach to minimize the influence of crop in the previous season on the subsequent season's fruit and maintain large fruit sizes.

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Sitheswary Logendra, Mei-Mann Hsueh and Harry W. Janes

Growing tomato fruits in tissue culture, using ovaries, could be used as a model system to study fruit development and sink strength/activity. Producing a “normal and healthy” fruit is essential in developing this system. Many factors affect the growth and development of the fruit. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of the age of the ovary (i.e., the number of days after pollination) on growth and final fruit size. The results indicate that the fruit size, root development, and uniformity in growth of the fruit were affected by the initial age of the ovary. The older the ovary, the greater was the final fruit size and uniformity. The development of root mass was not affected by the age of the ovary until 7 days of pollination. However, root development was suppressed in ovaries that were of 9 days after pollination. The fruits from younger ovaries were more irregular in shape. All the fruits from ovaries harvested at 9 days after pollination were more uniform and round as compared to other treatments.

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Huating Dou, Mohamed A. Ismail and Peter. D. Petracek

The effect of clipping vs. pulling, wax application, storage temperature, and fruit size on Stem End Rind Breakdown (SERB) of Valencia oranges was studied in four experiments during the 1998–1999 and 1999–2000 seasons. For harvesting methods, clipping reduced SERB rate of Valencia oranges over pulling from 10.2% to 5.9%. Wax application increased fruit SERB compared to non-waxed fruit. However, there was no consistent difference in effect on SERB incidence between shellac and carnauba waxes in all studies. Small fruit (size 100#) tended to be associated with high incidence of SERB, whereas large fruit (size 64#) were less susceptible to SERB of Valencia oranges. The most significant factor that influenced SERB incidence was storage temperature. Fruit stored at 70 °F had 23% and 96% SERB if fruit were examined in the 2nd and 8th weeks after packing; whereas 0.5% and 2% SERB was found if fruit were stored at 45 °F and examined at the same times. The effect of the above treatments on fruit peel anatomy and postharvest physiological behavior will also be discussed.

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Juan Carlos Díaz-Pérez, María Dolores Muy-Rangel and Arturo Gaytán Mascorro

Fruit water loss significantly affects the quality of bell peppers. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of fruit weight, size, and stage of ripeness on the rate of water loss and permeance to water vapor. Fruit surface area/weight ratio decreased logarithmically with increases in fruit size, with smaller fruit showing larger changes in the ratio than larger fruit. Mean water loss rate for individual fruit and permeance to water vapor declined with increases in fruit size and as fruit ripeness progressed. Fruit surface area/weight ratio and rate of water loss were both highest in immature fruit and showed no differences between mature green and red fruit. In mature fruit, permeance to water vapor for the skin and calyx were 29 μmol·m–2·s–1·kPa–1 and 398 μmol·m–2·s–1·kPa–1, respectively. About 26% of the water loss in mature fruit occurred through the calyx. There was a decline in firmness, water loss rate, and permeance to water vapor of the fruit with increasing fruit water loss during storage.

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J.R. Schupp, M.M. Bates. and H.J. Brummer

`Empire' is a popular new apple with fruit growers in the northeastern United States, noted for producing small-sized fruit. To test the efficacy of chemical thinners and rootstocks for increasing fruit size of `Empire', three-tree plots containing trees on M.7 EMLA, MM. 111, and seedling rootstocks were chemically thinned at petal fall with 10 ppm NAA or 85 ppm 6 BA, applied as Accel. Both NAA and Accel reduced fruit set. Trees on M.7 EMLA had higher set than trees on seedling. Yield was highest on M.7 EMLA and lowest on seedling. Fruit diameter after final set in July was increased by both chemical thinners and was greater for both clonal rootstocks than for seedling. Fruit on seedling trees were delayed in maturity relative to the two clonal rootstocks. Accel increased the number of fruit 70 mm or greater in diameter, while NAA increased the number of fruit in the 64- to 69-mm-diameter class. Analysis of covariance with crop load suggested that the increase in fruit size associated with Accel was a direct effect rather than a secondary effect from thinning.