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Duane W. Greene

purpose of this investigation was to confirm the effect of ProCa on fruit set and to examine several chemical thinning strategies that may be used to effectively and appropriately thin ProCa-treated apple trees. Materials and Methods Expt. 1

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Warren C. Micke, Joseph A. Grant and James T. Yeager

`Gala', the third most widely planted apple cultivar in California, requires early and precise thinning to produce good fruit size. Thus, chemical thinning would be ideally suited for this cultivar. However, the normally prolonged bloom for apples in California makes timing of chemical thinning applications difficult. In 1995 and 1996 trials, several chemical thinning treatments provided significantly reduced fruit set on `Gala' compared to the untreated control. Three treatments showed promise for commercial use: 1) carbaryl, two applications at petal fall and again at 10-15 mm diameter of the king fruit; 2) carbaryl plus NAD at petal fall; and 3) carbaryl plus 6-benzyladenine and GA4+7 (Accel®), two applications at petal fall and at ≈10 mm diameter of the king fruit. These treatments generally gave reduced fruit set per 100 flower clusters, fruit set per fruiting cluster and/or numbers of fruit removed by follow-up hand-thinning. None of these treatments showed evidence of phytotoxicity, and some increased fruit size over the untreated control.

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R.E. Byers and D.H. Carbaugh

Apple growers of different regions need different chemical fruit-thinning responses for thinning trees of different tree ages, cultural conditions, rootstocks, climates, and amounts of fruit removal desired. In this research, a range of chemical thinning responses was achieved by combinations of thinning materials or addition of potentiating agents. Superior oil, certain organic phosphates, and a light-absorbing agent (ferbam, a fungicide) increased the thinning of carbaryl. In addition, combinations of 50 or 200 ml 6-BA/liter + carbaryl + oil defruited `Campbell Redchief Delicious'/M.111 trees, and 50 ml 6-BA/liter alone over-thinned in one year (however, oil or 6-BA has been shown previously to cause russet in `Golden Delicious'). Carbaryl 50 WP and the 4L carbaryl formulations were equally effective for thinning `Golden Delicious', `Stayman', and `Redspur Delicious', and did not affect fruit russet. Three days of cloudy weather is typical at least once in most seasons in the eastern United States during the fruit set period. Two days of artificial polypropylene shading (92%) (which was nearly equivalent to 3 days of cloudy weather) caused more thinning of `Golden Delicious' and `Stayman' than carbaryl or 10 mg NAA/liter + Tween. Shading reduced viable seed numbers about 50% for `Golden Delicious' in fruit remaining at harvest, but chemical thinning agents (NAA or carbaryl) did not affect viable seed number.

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Bruno Razeto, Gabino Reginato and Sergio Rojas

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) belongs to the subfamily Pomoideae, and is an evergreen fruit tree which blooms in fall. Its inflorescence is a panicle. To attain commercial fruit size fruit thinning is done by hand. A chemical thinning trial was performed during the 1999-2000 growing season in Peumo, Cachapoal County, Sixth Region, Chile. Sixteen-year-old `Golden Nugget' loquat trees were treated with naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) at rates of 70, 140, and 280 g·ha-1 (1.0, 2.0, and 4.0 oz/acre), split into two or three applications beginning at early fruit set followed with sprays, 13 and/or 28 days later. Each treatment was applied to four randomly selected trees. At harvest, fruit number was measured in four panicles per tree and in the whole tree. NAA produced a thinning effect closely related to dose, with the highest doses inducing both highest flower thinning and the largest size of the fruit, but the lowest yield per tree. Lower doses produced fruit size and yield similar to those of hand-thinned check trees. Fruit load, expressed as trunk cross sectional area (TCSA), reached 1.8 to 9.1 fruit/cm2 TCSA (11.6 to 58.7 fruit/inch2 TCSA) in treated trees in comparison to 20 fruit/cm2 TCSA (121 fruit/inch2 TCSA) of the nontreated trees. NAA treatments did not affect the number of seeds per fruit. Total dose of 140 g·ha-1 NAA was the most effective in reducing fruit number, whether split into two or three applications. Fruit development seemed to conform to a double sigmoid curve, with a high rate of growth during fall, a lower one through the winter, in order to recover the growth rate in spring until maturity.

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James R. Schupp and Highmoor Farm

Mature `McIntosh'/MM.111 apple (Malus domestica, Borkh.) trees were treated to evaluate the response of root pruned trees to chemical thinning and to determine if reducing the crop load increased fruit size on root pruned trees. The trees were root pruned at full bloom in 1988 and 1989, by cutting on both sides of the row 1m from the trunk and 30cm deep. Water, 600mg/liter carbaryl, 5mg/liter napthaleneacetic acid (NAA), or NAA plus carbaryl were applied when fruit diameter was approximately 10mm. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) was increased by thinning treatments in 1988, but root pruning had no effect. In 1989, root pruning reduced TCSA increment by 35%. Shoot length was reduced by root pruning both years. All treatments reduced percent fruit set in 1989, however root pruned trees and trees treated with NAA had the highest fruit numbers at harvest. Preharvest fruit drop was reduced by root pruning in both 1988 and 1989. Root pruning had no influence on the response of apple trees to chemical thinning. Removing a portion of the crop with chemical thinners was partially successful in counteracting the reduction in fruit size caused by root pruning.

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Regina M. Prunty and Richard P. Marini

Asian pears bloom profusely and require early hand-thinning to produce large saleable fruit. In 1998, `Shinko' and `Hosui' trees were sprayed with Accel, Ethrel, NAA or carbaryl when average fruit diameter was ≈9 mm. Superior oil was added to all treatments at the rate of 2.5 mL/L. Fruit set was reduced 40 to 70% by Accel at 84 ppm and ethephon at 678 ppm, but NAA at 8 ppm and carbaryl were less effective. In 1999, Accel was applied at a range of 0 to 105 ppm and ethephon was applied at a range of 0 to 678 ppm. All treatments contained carbaryl and oil. Fruit set/100 flower clusters declined linearly with increasing ethephon concentration on `Shinko', but was not tested on `Hosui'. Fruit/100 blossom clusters declined linearly with increasing Accel concentration on `Shinko'. On `Hosui' Accel reduced fruit set by more than 40%, but treatments did not differ significantly (5% level) from the control. In both years `Shinko' was easier to thin than `Hosui'.

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Warren C. Micke, Joseph A. Grant, Maxwell V. Norton and James T. Yeager

Under California conditions `Granny Smith' apple does not “self-thin” sufficiently to promote good return bloom nor to provide fruit size desired for the fresh market. Preliminary studies conducted during 1985-87 indicated that 1-naphthyl N-methylcarbamate (carbaryl), 1-naphthaleneacetic Acid (NAA), and 1-naphthaleneacetamide (NAD) could be useful for thinning `Granny Smith'. Detailed studies conducted in 1988 and 89 using dilute handgun applications demonstrated that all 3 materials provided reasonable thinning as shown by fruit set counts. NAA and NAD tended to slow fruit growth as compared to carbaryl. Carbaryl tended to uniformly thin clusters while NAA and NAD were more likely to remove all the fruit from some clusters and few fruit from others, especially in 1988. Compared to the control, all materials applied in 1988 improved return bloom in 1989 with carbaryl having a slightly greater effect than NAA and NAD. As a result of these studies carbaryl at 1.7 to 2.2 kg (active ingredient) per ha as a dilute application is being suggested for grower trials in California.

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Warren C. Micke, Joseph A. Grant, Maxwell V. Norton and James T. Yeager

Under California conditions `Granny Smith' apple does not “self-thin” sufficiently to promote good return bloom nor to provide fruit size desired for the fresh market. Preliminary studies conducted during 1985-87 indicated that 1-naphthyl N-methylcarbamate (carbaryl), 1-naphthaleneacetic Acid (NAA), and 1-naphthaleneacetamide (NAD) could be useful for thinning `Granny Smith'. Detailed studies conducted in 1988 and 89 using dilute handgun applications demonstrated that all 3 materials provided reasonable thinning as shown by fruit set counts. NAA and NAD tended to slow fruit growth as compared to carbaryl. Carbaryl tended to uniformly thin clusters while NAA and NAD were more likely to remove all the fruit from some clusters and few fruit from others, especially in 1988. Compared to the control, all materials applied in 1988 improved return bloom in 1989 with carbaryl having a slightly greater effect than NAA and NAD. As a result of these studies carbaryl at 1.7 to 2.2 kg (active ingredient) per ha as a dilute application is being suggested for grower trials in California.

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Richard P. Marini

Counting blossoms before treatment and collecting yield data for whole trees following thinning treatments arc expensive practices. Researchers often collect data on sample branches to reduce the time and expense of data collection. How accurate are these techniques? To generate discussion concerning sampling, results will he presented for several experiments where data were collected for whole trees vs. sample branches. Data will also be presented for different ways of assessing fruit size at thinning time. Fruit diameter, fruit weight and fruit volume were recorded for several cultivars over several seasons. I hope to generate discussion about the desirability of these different measures of fruit development.

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Ockert P.J. Stander and Paul J.R. Cronjé

-pyridinyloxyacetic acid are extensively used in the south african citrus industry as commercial chemical thinning agents when applied as foliar sprays during and directly after the physiological fruit drop period ( Agustí et al., 2002 ). Although not widely