Although ‘Honeycrisp’ apples are very popular with consumers, they are prone to a number of production difficulties, which in turn make them challenging to grow and store. One of these challenges is bitter pit, a physiological disorder that has long
Control of bitter pit in `Honeycrisp' apples (Malus ×domestica) from trees treated during the growing season with foliar sprays of trifloxystrobin fungicide and calcium was evaluated in four replicated trials over 2 years. All trials were in commercial orchards of `Honeycrisp' trees that were 3 to 6 years old. The effectiveness of combining boron with foliar applications of calcium chloride (CaCl2) was evaluated in two trials, and effectiveness of harpin protein, used either alone or in alternating sprays with CaCl2 was assessed in one trial. Trifloxystrobin applied twice during the 30 days before harvest reduced bitter pit incidence at harvest in one of the four trials, but the reduction was transitory, no longer being evident when fruit were re-evaluated after 63 days of cold storage. Harpin protein did not affect disorder incidence. Calcium sprays failed to control bitter pit in treatments where the total elemental calcium applied was less than 2.7 lb/acre (3.03 kg·ha–1) per year for tree canopies that were sprayed to drip using 100 gal/acre (935.4 L·ha–1) of spray solution. In the two trials where some treatments involved application of at least 2.9 lb/acre (3.25 kg·ha–1) of elemental calcium per season, the incidence of fruit with bitter pit at harvest was reduced by 76% to 90%. Effectiveness of calcium sprays for bitter pit control was not enhanced by superimposing trifloxystrobin, boron, or harpin protein treatments. Flesh firmness at harvest was lower in calcium-treated than in non-treated fruit, and fruit maturity was more advanced on trees receiving boron sprays than on trees receiving no boron. In one trial, where the first calcium application was made approximately 2 weeks after petal fall and 4 days prior to a fruit thinning spray, crop load of trees that received calcium sprays, measured as number of fruit per cm2 trunk cross-sectional area, was 38% greater than on trees that received no calcium sprays. CaCl2 provided better control of bitter pit in `Honeycrisp' than any of the other materials tested.
challenging for storage operators. At low temperatures around 33 °F, the cultivar can develop symptoms of chilling injury (CI) such as soft scald and soggy breakdown, whereas at a higher temperature of 38 °F the fruit can be susceptible to bitter pit
Apple packout audits were conducted during 1991 to 1993 to assess effects of five orchard systems (three cultivars, two age groups) on fruit packout and determine if relationships exist between light quality and productivity. Cultivar/rootstock combinations on 1979 T-trellis and central-leader systems had the lowest light levels and relative yields. Trees on either 1979 3-wire trellis, 1986 MIA, or 1985 West Virginia spindle had the highest light transmission, and trees on 1979 or 1985 West Virginia spindle systems had the highest yields. Extra fancy/fancy packouts across systems ranged from 40% to 85%. `Empire', regardless of system, had the highest packouts, and `Golden Delicious' on 1979 or 1986 central leader had the lowest packouts. A regression analysis comparing percentage packout in grades below fancy to percentage full sun indicated that reduced packouts were related to low light conditions. Orchard system influenced the number of fruit downgraded due to color, russet, bruises, bitter pit, cork spot, apple scab, rots, sooty blotch/fly speck, and tufted apple budmoth. Regression analyses comparing defects to field data indicated that bitter pit decreased as yield efficiency increased, and rot and sooty blotch/fly speck incidence were related to low canopy light penetration. Revenue losses were disproportionate to percentage of downgraded fruit because some defects had a greater impact on grade than others. The greatest revenue losses were for russet in `Golden Delicious' on 1986 central leader ($1656.60/acre) and for bitter pit in `Golden Delicious' on 1979 T-trellis ($1067.30/acre). Total losses in returns for individual systems ranged from $453.71/acre for `Empire' on 3-wire trellis to $3145.49/acre for `Golden Delicious' on 1986 central leader. The comparisons of young versus mature system yields and packouts indicate that medium- to high-density vertical or inclined canopy systems are superior to horizontal or low-density vertical freestanding systems. The cost-benefit analyses prescribe areas where management can be changed in existing systems to increase profitability.
`Honeycrisp' apples (Malus × domestica) were harvested over 3-week periods in 2001 and 2002. Maturity and quality indices were determined at harvest. Fruit quality was evaluated after air storage [0.0 to 2.2 °C (32 to 36 °F), 95% relative humidity] for 10-13 weeks and 15-18 weeks for the 2001 and 2002 harvests, respectively. Internal ethylene concentrations (IEC), starch indices (1-8 scale), firmness and soluble solids content (SSC) did not show consistent patterns of change over time. Starch hydrolysis was advanced on all harvest dates, but it is suggested that a starch index of 7 is a useful guide for timing harvest of fruit in western New York. After storage, firmness closely followed that observed immediately after harvest, and softening during storage was slow. No change in SSC was observed during storage in either year. Incidence of bitter pit and soft scald was generally low and was not affected consistently by harvest date. The incidence of stem punctures averaged 18.5% over both years, but was not affected by harvest date. Development of stem end cracking in both years, and rot development in one year, increased with later harvest dates. A panel of storage operators, packers, growers, and fruit extension specialists evaluated the samples for appearance and eating quality after storage, and results suggested that a 2-week harvest window is optimal for `Honeycrisp' apples that are spot picked to select the most mature fruit at each harvest.
Most deciduous fruit crops in Italy are grown in the north and especially in the eastern part of the Po River Valley (mainly in the Emilia Romagna and Veneto regions) and in the Adige River Valley (South Tyrol and Trento provinces). Soils in the wide Po River Valley, where pear (Pyrus communis), peach and nectarine (Prunus persica), kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa), plum (Prunus domestica and P. insititia), apricot (Prunus armeniaca), cherry (Prunus avium), and apple (Malus domestica) are grown, are alluvial, generally fertile, fine textured, alkaline, often calcareous and well enriched with Ca. Apple plantings are concentrated in the Adige Valley and located on a variety of soil types, including sandy loam, loamy sand soils or sandy clay, sometimes calcareous. Integrated fruit production is gaining importance and represents more than 80% of apple production in South Tyrol and about 60% of peach and nectarine production in Emilia Romagna. Under these conditions, the main objectives of mineral nutrition are to reconcile production and environmental concerns (minimize nutrient leaching, soil pollution, volatile emissions). In particular, fertilization aims to improve external and internal fruit quality and storage ability, reduce production costs, maintain soil fertility, avoid nutrient deficiency and excess and control tree vigor. Nitrogen applications have strongly decreased in recent years and there is a need to improve the efficiency of N fertilizers while avoiding deficiencies. Research is focussing on application technology, timing of N uptake, internal cycling of N and methods for assessing the need for N application (e.g., using estimates of native soil N availability). Early diagnosis of bitter pit is recommended for guiding applications of Ca sprays. Iron deficiency and chlorosis is a major problem in pear, peach and kiwifruit grown in alkaline and calcareous soils and Fe chelates are usually applied annually to the soil or to the canopy. Current research is focused on agronomic means for controlling the problem and on developing rootstocks tolerant to Fe deficiency.
Postbloom zinc (Zn) sprays are replacing dormant and postharvest sprays as the primary means for applying Zn in commercial apple (Malus ×domestica) orchards. We conducted a multiyear field study comparing the phytoavailability of Zn in 11 commercially available Zn spray products, plus reagent-grade Zn nitrate and a water-sprayed control, applied postbloom at identical Zn concentrations to `Golden Delicious' apple trees. Two sprays were applied per season (mid-May and mid-June), at per-spray rates of either 0.5 lb/acre in 2000 or 1.0 lb/acre in 2001 and 2002. No sprays were applied in 2003 in order to evaluate carry-over effects. The Zn sprays had no effect on fruit number, bitter pit or russeting, or on leaf green color. Zinc concentrations of detergent plus acid-washed leaves (a procedure used to remove surface residues of the Zn sprays) sampled in August and of unwashed winter buds sampled the following January were used as indices of tree Zn status. Leaf Zn concentration generally increased in the order: Zn phosphate < Zn oxide = Zn oxysulfate < chelated/organically complexed Zn ≤ Zn nitrate. There was little consistent difference among chelated and organically complexed Zn products. Leaf Zn concentration varied considerably between seasons, and was not related to Zn application rate. All of the Zn sprays increased leaf Zn concentrations to desirable levels. Because the inorganic Zn-based products typically are substantially less expensive per unit of Zn, it may be less costly and just as effective to use a higher rate of an inorganic Zn product as to use a lower rate of a more expensive chelated or organically complexed Zn product. On the other hand, use of low rates of highly phytoavailable Zn products minimizes release of the nutritionally essential but potentially ecohazardous metal into the environment. There was no detectable lasting effect of the three previous seasons of Zn sprays on leaf Zn in 2003. Similarly, there was no detectable effect in any year of the Zn spray treatments on bud Zn concentration the following winter. These results suggest that the amount of Zn supplied by the sprays at the tested rates was insufficient to promote substantial Zn accumulation within the trees, thereby validating the recommendation for annual application of Zn nutritional maintenance sprays.
CHLORIDE SPRAYS CONTROL BITTER PIT IN `HONEYCRISP' APPLES `Honeycrisp' is a new apple variety that is generating both consumer demand and high prices for producers. `Honeycrisp' is highly susceptible to the calcium-related fruit disorder known as bitter pit
temperature disorders such as soft scald and soggy breakdown, and disorders such as bitter pit that are exacerbated by warmer storage temperatures. Al Shoffe and Watkins (p. 481) found that short-term storage (1 to 4 weeks) at 33 °F followed by storage at 38
-fruit sample from each tree was rated for visual defects, including sunburn, bitter pit, and splitting. Fruit russet incidence and severity was recorded in categories of stem bowl, fruit shoulder, smooth solid, and net type on fruit flanks. Fruit