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Y.L. Grossman and T.M. DeJong

Plant dry matter production is proportional to light interception, but fruit production does not always increase with increased light interception. Vegetative growth potential, the effect of cropping on vegetative growth, light interception and cropping efficiency of a clingstone peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch `Ross' on `Nemaguard' rootstock] were assessed in four production systems differing in tree density and training system. The four systems were a perpendicular V (KAC-V) system, a high-density perpendicular V (HiD KAC-V) system, a cordon system, and an open vase system. Vegetative growth potential, assessed on defruited trees, was higher in the cordon system and lower in the open vase system compared to the V systems. Cropping reduced leaf growth on the V and cordon systems and stem growth on the KAC-V and cordon systems. On a ground area basis, the HiD KAC-V system had the highest crop yields and the open vase system had the lowest. The cordon and HiD KAC-V systems intercepted more light and produced more fruit, stem, and leaf biomass than the open vase system. However, the modified harvest increment, the ratio of fruit dry mass to the sum of fruit, leaf, and stem dry mass, was lower in the cordon system than in the other systems. Thus, on this basis, the cordon system was the least efficient. On a trunk cross-sectional area basis, there were no significant differences in fruit production among any of the four training systems. For current year production, crop production per unit ground area is the best measure of economic efficiency. However, when planning the spacing, training and pruning of orchard trees, the most appropriate goal seems to be a system that increases light interception without increasing vegetative growth potential, such as the HiD KAC-V system.

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Preston K. Andrews and Margaret L. Collier

Effects of crop load and time of thinning on productivity of young `Fuji'/M.9 apple trees were tested by hand blossom (B) or fruit (F) thinning to two crop densities (fruit number/trunk cross-sectional area). Heavy (H) crop densities resulted in higher yields in both 2nd and 3rd leaf than light (L) crop densities. Time of thinning had no effect on yields in either year. In the 2nd leaf, fruit size was largest from trees B thinned to L crop densities, and smallest from trees F thinned to either crop density from mid-June through harvest. Both 1° and 2° vegetative growth were greatest in noncropped trees, intermediate in trees with L crops, and least in trees with H crops. Noncropped 2nd-1eaf trees had the highest flowering indices (flower clusters/100 total buds) the following spring and H cropped trees had the lowest. The flowering index was higher when trees were B thinned in the 2nd leaf than when F thinned. In the 3rd leaf, fruit size was largest when borne on weak upright shoots, intermediate on spurs, and smallest on 1-year-old terminal wood. Fruit on spurs had the highest incidence of sunscald (17%) and fruit on weak upright shoots the lowest (8%). Previous-season crop densities affected current-season's vegetative and fruit growth.

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T. Caruso, P. Inglese, C. Di Vaio, and L.S. Pace

Fruit thinning is the most effective tool in regulating fruit growth potential for early-ripening peach and nectarine (Prunus persica) cultivars, and the common strategy is to space fruit 25 to 30 cm (9.8 to 11.8 inches) throughout the canopy, while scarce attention to the canopy environment in which the fruit develops. It is likely that different light environments within the canopy require different thinning patterns and to test this hypothesis, an experiment was set up to evaluate various fruit thinning patterns (fruit densities) in relation to fruit location within the canopy of early-ripening `May Glo' nectarine trees trained to Y-shape. Differentiated fruit thinning resulted in higher yield efficiency due to a higher fruit number and average fruit weight. Differentiated thinning hastened fruit harvest and shortened the harvest period. Differentiated thinning reduced fruit variability within the tree in terms of size and soluble solids content, resulting in a higher crop value.

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Fabio Orlandi, Bruno Romano, and Marco Fornaciari

The relationship between heat units trends and reproductive development in olive (Olea europaea, L.) was studied over a 3-year period (1999-2001) in 15 areas in the southern Italian regions of Campania, Calabria, Puglia, and Sicily. Heat units were calculated using GDH and GDD formulas and the flowering phases in the olive groves were studied using volumetric pollen traps that aspirate fixed quantities of air. With this method, the olive pollen release and flowering trends were determined. The main objective of the study was to correlate the spring heat unit amounts and the phases of maximum pollen emission with the date of flowering. Moreover, the ranges of GDH and GDD in the different study areas were calculated to identify maps of olive pollen release.

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Jens N. Wünsche and Alan N. Lakso

The study evaluated the relationship of spur vs. extension shoot leaf area and light interception to apple (Malus {XtimesX} domesticaBorkh.) orchard productivity. Fifteen-year-old `Marshall McIntosh'/M.9 trees had significantly greater leaf area and percentage of light interception at 3-5 and 10-12 weeks after full bloom (AFB) than did 4-year-old `Jonagold'/Mark trees. Despite significant increases in leaf area and light interception with canopy development, linear relationships between total, spur, and extension shoot canopy leaf area index (LAI) and 1) light interception and 2) fruit yield were similar at both times. Mean total and spur canopy LAI and light interception were significantly and positively correlated with fruit yield; however, extension shoot LAI and light interception were poorly correlated with yield. In another study total, spur and extension shoot canopy light interception varied widely in five apple production systems: 15-year-old central leader `Redchief Delicious' MM.111, 15-year-old central leader `Redchief Delicious' MM.111/M.9, 16-year-old slender spindle `Marshall McIntosh' M.9, 14-year-old `Jerseymac' M.9 on 4-wire trellis, and 17-year-old slender spindle `MacSpur' M.9. Yields in these orchards were curvilinearly related to total and extension shoot canopy light interception and decreased when total light interception exceeded 60% and extension shoot interception exceeded 25%. Fruit yields were linearly and highly correlated (r 2 = 0.78) with spur light interception. The findings support the hypothesis that fruit yields of healthy apple orchards are better correlated with LAI and light interception by spurs than by extension shoots. The results emphasize the importance of open, well-illuminated, spur-rich tree canopies for high productivity.

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held at the 90th ASHS Annual Meeting Nashville, Tennessee 28 July 1993 sponsored by the Cropping Efficiency and Photosynthesis Working Group published by the American Society for Horticultural Science Alexandria, VA 22314-2824 as a special insert in

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C.G. Embree, B.H. Lesser, and A.D. Crowe

The 30 apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) rootstock candidates selected for cold hardiness, known as the Kentville Stock Clone (KSC), with `McIntosh' and `Delicious' as scion cultivars, were compared at 11 years of age for tree size, weight, fruit yield, and crop efficiency under field conditions. Trunk cross-section area and tree weight were highly correlated. Tree size was similar for the two cultivars in most cases and ranged in size from semidwarf to very vigorous. Cumulative yield efficiencies varied by nearly two-fold and were not correlated with tree size. The most efficient rootstocks were KSC 28, KSC 7, and KSC 6 in the semidwarf, semivigorous, and vigorous size classifications, respectively.

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Marvin P. Pritts

This LISA project involves four state universities and the USDA, and has the objective of developing and evaluating non-conventional production and pest management strategies for raspberries and strawberries. Production goals are divided between cropping systems and pest management. The evaluation of trellising systems for cropping efficiency, ease of harvest, and spray distribution is an example of a production related objective. Groundcover management systems for strawberries are being evaluated for their effects on both the pest complex and production system. Biological control strategies for root diseases are also being studied. Evaluations involve field performance, economics, and impacts on pesticide use. In addition, grower attitudes towards adoption of non-traditional production practices have been assessed. The project supports the publication of a newsletter that is distributed to 450 growers. The major goal of our work has been to improve production efficiency and provide growers with economical, dependable tools that can be used to prevent pest problems before chemical intervention is required.

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Thomas M. Gradziel

All of the major California almond varieties are self-incompatible necessitating the interplanting of pollinizer varieties. The incorporation of self-compatibility into the dominant variety Nonpareil through mutation or genetic engineering would greatly improve cropping efficiency. Negative effects of inbreeding on resultant seed and seedling quality could negate production advantages. Inbred seed of Nonpareil were obtained by: a) enclosing mature trees in pollination cages containing bees at flowering, and, b) controlled crosses to a Nonpareil mutation (Jeffries) which is unilaterally compatible when used as the seed parent. Selfed seed set from caged trees was less than 0.001% of available flowers. Seed set from crosses to the Jeffries mutation averaged 34.4% which was not significantly different than outcrossed controls. No significant loss in kernel weight and dimensions were observed in any of the inbred material when compared with outcrossed controls though a higher proportion of the inbred seed and seedlings failed to develop fully. Both average tree height and trunk diameter after 1 year of growth was significantly lower in inbred vs. outcrossed material. Results suggest no major penalty to kernel quality following self-pollination, though losses in progeny vigor should be a concern when utilizing selfed seed in variety development programs.

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Raffaele Testolin

Kiwifruit [Actinidia deliciosa (A. Chev.) C.F. Liang et A.R. Ferguson] crop response to variations in plant density and bud number per surface unit of growing area was studied to determine optimum levels of these factors. Five bud numbers per surface unit (50,000, 100,000, 150,000; 200,000, and 250,000 mixed buds/ha) and four plant densities, obtained by varying the in-row spacings (1.5, 3.0, 4.5, and 6.0 m), were combined in a factorial design and tested in a kiwifruit orchard during two growing seasons on the same vines. Kiwifruit yield increased from 7 to 24 t•ha-1 with increasing bud number per hectare according to a 2nd-order polynomial function. Both the reduction in the mean fruit mass as well as the percentage budbreak caused a decrease in orchard efficiency. No differences between 1.5- and 3.0-m in-row spacings were found; spacings wider than 3.0 m reduced crop efficiency principally by decreasing fruit mass.