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return bloom and consistent cropping. Williams (1979) attributed the increased consistency of U.S. apple production after 1949 to the widespread commercial adoption of chemical thinning technology from that year. However, cultivars that exhibit a strong

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from the price paid per tree to determine crop value. Return bloom dynamics. Twenty-five spurs were randomly selected among five shoots (five spurs per 2-year-old segment of shoot) per tree, and the number of reproductive buds per spur recorded. Floral

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United States to improve return bloom after moderate to heavy crops. Floral initiation inhibitors, specifically gibberellins, show potential as crop load management tools by reducing return bloom after light crops. Literature widely reports the effects of

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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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The relationship between intensity of flowering and various aspects of cropping are reviewed for fruit species. Relatively light flowering can limit yield in most fruit species. This commonly occurs in young trees that have not achieved full production and in “off” years for varieties that display alternate bearing. When trees mature, many species will carry fruit numbers that exceed commercially desired levels, resulting in excessively small fruit and accentuating alternate bearing. The economic disadvantages of excess cropload have resulted in considerable research on fruit thinning and widespread commercial application of this practice. Heavy flowering intensity in some crop species results in economic disadvantages beyond the problems of excessive cropload and resultant small fruit size. Many species flower profusely and have initial fruit set that greatly exceeds tree capacity, resulting in abscission of numerous flowers and fruitlets. Abscised organs can represent a substantial amount of carbohydrates and nutrients, compromising availability of these materials at critical periods in flower and fruit development. The potential implications of this process are best exemplified in `Navel' orange [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck], where an increase in flowering beyond intermediate intensity results in a reduction in both initial fruit set and final fruit yield at harvest. In several species, there is evidence that fruit size may be reduced by excessive flowering, even when cropload is quickly adjusted to an acceptable level. These data suggest that further research on the advantages of controlling flowering intensity is warranted.

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In 1994, we established that a surfactant, Armothin (AR), reduced fruit set when applied as 3% and 5% AR at 100 gal/acre with a Stihl mistblower to `Loadel' clingstone peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch]. In 1995 we compared 3% AR at volumes of 100 and 200 gal/acre (935 and 1870 L.ha-1, the volumes most commonly used by tree fruit growers in California) applied with commercial airblast sprayer; overthinning resulted with the latter. In 1996, we applied 3% AR at 100 gal/acre and 1% AR at 200 gal/acre. In 1995, differential applications of 3% AR at 100 gal/acre (two-thirds of the material applied to either the upper or lower canopy) reduced fruit set in the upper canopy in proportion to the amount of chemical applied (twice as much fruit set reduction with twice as much chemical); fruit set in the lower canopy was reduced by an equal amount regardless of amount of chemical used. Salable yields, equivalent to those obtained by hand thinning, and improved fruit size were achieved with all treatments of 3% AR at 100 gal/acre in 1995 with a 76% reduction in hand thinning. Following a low-chill winter (1995-96) with a protracted bloom, flower bud density (return bloom) was significantly greater in 1995 AR-treated trees. In 1996, treatment with AR did not result in fruit set reduction due to the protracted bloom and poor weather conditions before and after bloom. Nonetheless, 1% AR at 200 gal/acre applied in 1996 increased salable yield and increased final fruit mass. Return bloom in 1997 was equal among 1996 treatments.

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Vegetable oil emulsion (VOE) was applied to `Gala' and `Fuji' apple (Malus ×domestica) trees after harvest to hasten defoliation and reduce apple scab (Venturia inaequalis). Applied at 2%, 4%, or 6%, VOE applied to whole trees in the fall induced leaf drop, with the highest concentration causing the most defoliation. At the same concentration, VOE applied in early, mid, or late October had similar effects on leaf drop. VOE treatment reduced respiration and stimulated ethylene production in shoot tissue within 24 hours of application. None of the treatments affected tree hardiness during the winter, or shoot growth the following spring. Return bloom density was unaffected; however, VOE tended to delay anthesis by 2 to 5 days. Under controlled conditions, `Gala' and `Fuji' trees inoculated with scab spores developed 48% and 65% scab, respectively. VOE-induced defoliation reduced scab by 50% to 65%. VOE-induced defoliation plus manual leaf removal from the orchard floor, or VOE-induced defoliation in late fall (15 Oct.-15 Nov.) plus application of 5% lime sulfur in early spring, controlled scab to <5% on both leaves and fruit. Neither lime sulfur nor urea applied in late fall at 2% induced defoliation or controlled scab. VOE at 4% plus 2% lime sulfur and/or 2% urea applied in late fall, however, defoliated `Gala' trees effectively and controlled scab on fruit to <7% the following spring. In the `Fuji' planting, the combination of 4% VOE plus 2% lime sulfur and 2% urea reduced scab on fruit from 21% in controls to 0%.

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The use of exogenous plant bioregulators or plant hormones to adjust crop load in apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh.) and promote regular cropping remains challenging to both researchers and producers. Responses to these hormones are sensitive to the rate and timing of application, to physiological status of the tree, orchard system, variety, rootstock, and a myriad of cultural practices and environmental factors. Of the environmental factors, temperature plays the most important role in determining response and efficacy of a given material. All classes of plant bioregulators have been used over the past 30 to 40 years as postbloom chemical thinning materials. Most of the standard postbloom thinning programs involve application of a synthetic auxin, such as naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) in combination with carbaryl (Sevin), a commonly used insecticide. The mode of action of these two compounds is not clearly understood. Gibberellins generally have not been effective thinning materials for apple because of their negative impact on return bloom. Ethylene-releasing compounds have been used successfully as postbloom thinning materials. Cytokinins, particularly synthetic sources such as 6-benzyladenine (6-BA), have been shown to effectively thin fruit and enhance fruit size on many commercial varieties. The rate and timing of 6-BA applications are critical to obtain desirable thinning and fruit size responses. The use of these different bioregulators is essential for regular cropping of apple, particularly for spur `Delicious', `Fuji' and other varieties that are difficult to thin chemically and which are prone to severe alternate bearing. The focus of this discussion is the use of these bioregulators in commercial apple production areas in the United States.

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fruit in season 1, on the potential of return bloom and yield of season 2, as opposed to a carbohydrate effect. Fruit are major sources of endogenous hormones auxin and gibberellin (GA) ( Ben-Cheikh et al., 1997 ; Yuan et al., 2003 ). In “on

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both within and between rows without supplemental herbicide use. Both implements can reduce labor and herbicide inputs in first-year strawberry plantings. Bioregulator applications increase return bloom in apple Many important apple varieties may

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