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Mokhles A. Elsysy, Michael V. Mickelbart, and Peter M. Hirst

regulators, and carbohydrates ( Heinicke, 1917 ). This demand by the fruit for resources within the spurs could affect spur quality and flower formation. Previously, spur quality has been measured in terms of leaf area, spur leaf number, leaf dry weight

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Jon M. Clements and Joseph F. Costante

A randomized complete block study was initiated in 1991 in a fifteen year old `Rogers Red McIntosh'/9-106 interstem orchard to investigate the effect of three dormant pruning regimes- an unpruned control, selectively thinned, and heavily structured or “tiered”, on tree canopy light distribution and fruit and spur quality. Fruit quality parameters being measured for the 1991 and 1992 harvests include skin color (% red blush), weight (g.), flesh firmness (kg.), soluble solids concentration (% Brix), and packout (% fancy grade). Pruning treatment effect on fruit spur quality, in terms of spur bud diameter (mm.) and spur efficiency (leaf dry weight/spur), is also being evaluated at time of harvest. Light distribution is being measured (% PAR, umol/s/m2.) within the tree canopy from petal fall through harvest. Preliminary findings indicate there is a difference in tree canopy light distribution and some fruit quality measurements, including red skin color, between pruning regimes. Complete analysis of results from 1991 will be presented.

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W. Alan Erb, David C. Ferree, Frank D. Morrison, Mark Pyeatt, and Richard Ryer

This study was conducted at three locations (Manhattan, Kan.; Wichita, Kan.; Wooster, Ohio) for 3 years (1994–1996). At bloom, 2-year-old limb sections from `Smoothee', `Jonagold', `Empire', and `Rome' on M.9EMLA, Bud 9, Mark, Ottawa 3, or M.26EMLA were evaluated for flowering and vegetative, spurs (5 cm or less), short shoots (5–15 cm) and long shoots (>15 cm). In mid-August, spur quality was estimated by randomly selecting five spurs per cultivar rootstock combination. There were significant location and year differences for all the morphological and spur quality characters measured. Across locations and years, the following characteristics were consistently high for the cultivars listed: stem density of flowering spurs for `Empire'; and leaf area, bud-diameter and average leaf size per spur for `Jonagold'. The most consistently high characteristics across locations and years for the rootstocks were for stem density of flowering spurs for Mark and leaf number, leaf area, bud-diameter, and average leaf size per spur for M.26EMLA. Stem density for flowering short shoots was highest for `Smoothee' and M.9EMLA in Wooster, `Jonagold' and Bud 9 in Wichita and `Rome', `Jonagold', and Bud 9 in Manhattan. Flowering long shoot stem density was highest for `Smoothee', `Jonagold', and M.26EMLA in Wooster, `Smoothee' in Wichita, and `Jonagold' and Ottawa 3 in Manhattan. There were some significant cultivar by rootstock interactions. The most-consistent interactions across locations and years were for stem cross-sectional area, stem length, stem density of flowering spurs, and flowering short shoots and bud-diameter per spur.

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Peter M. Hirst and David C. Ferree

Two-year-old branch sections of `Starkspur Supreme Delicious' apple (Malus domestics Borkh.) trees growing on 17 rootstock were studied over 6 years to determine the effects of rootstock on shoot morphology and spur quality and describe how these factors may be related to precocity and productivity. Shoot length was affected by rootstock and was positively related to trunk cross-sectional area within each year, but the slope of the regression line decreased as trees matured. The number of spurs on a shoot was largely a product of shoot length. Spur density was inversely related to shoot length, where rootstock with longer shoots had lower spur densities. Flower density was not related to spur density, and shoot length only accounted for a minor part of the variation in flower density. The proportion of spurs that produced flowers was closely related to flower density, indicating that rootstock influence flower density by affecting the development of individual buds rather than by the production of more buds. More vigorous rootstock generally had spurs with larger individual leaves and higher total leaf area per spur, but fewer spur leaves with lower specific leaf weights. More precocious rootstock were also more productive over a 10-year period when yields were standardized for tree size. Tree size was the best indicator of precocity and productivity, which could be predicted with a high degree of certainty as early as the 4th year.

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Bruce H. Barritt, Curt R. Rom, Bonnie J. Konishi, and Marc A. Dilley

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Duane W. Greene and Wesley R. Autio

Benzyladenine (BA) stimulated lateral branching on young apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees at concentrations as low as 100 mg·liter-1. BA reduced lateral shoot length indirectly through increased intersboot competition, whereas daminozide reduced lateral shoot growth as a direct effect of the chemical inhibition. Daminozide reduced the number of spurs that were induced by BA to grow into lateral shoots. BA reduced the size of terminal buds on spurs that were stimulated to grow into lateral shoots. When daminozide was included with BA, spur quality was increased, as determined by Increased bud size. The positive effect of daminozide on BA-treated spurs was indirect, and other growth retardants used in combination with BA may be equally effective at improving spur quality. It may not be possible to stimulate lateral branching with BA on young trees just coming into production without causing an unacceptable amount of thinning. However, on bearing `Empire' trees, lateral shoot growth was increased with BA while still achieving an appropriate level of thinning. In general, there was no advantage to applying BA in a split application. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)]; butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide) (daminozide).

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Richard P. Marini and Donald Sowers

Twenty-eight-year-old `Starkrimson Delicious' and 10-year-old `Fullred Delicious' apple (Malus domestics Borkh.) trees were spur-pruned in 1986 and 1987 and/or treated with 500 mg BA + GA4+7/liter in 1986 in an attempt to improve spur growth and increase fruit weight. All treatment combinations generally failed to improve yield or fruit size. BA + GA4+7 reduced yield and fruit weight and increased the number of pygmy fruit in 1986, but had little effect on fruiting or vegetative growth for 3 years after treatment. Spur-pruning reduced spur density in 1986 and 1987 and increased yield, but not fruit weight, in 1987. Although spur-pruning improved spur length, spur bud diameter, leaf area per spur, and leaf dry weight per spur, fruit weight was not improved. Chemical names used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H -purine-6-amine [benzyladenine (BA)]; gibberellin (GA4+7).

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Bruce H. Barritt and Bonnie J. Schonberg

Vegetative (nonflowering) spur characteristics of `Granny Smith', `Lawspur Rome', and `Redchief Delicious' apples (Malus domestics Borkh.) at two canopy positions (1 and 2 m heights) were examined on eight dates throughout a growing season. `Granny Smith' had a greater leaf number/spur (LNO/SP) at each date than `Rome' and `Delicious'. Area/leaf (LA) and dry weight/leaf (LDW) for `Delicious' were substantially less than for `Granny Smith' and `Rome'. Area/leaf increased rapidly after full bloom (FB) until FB + 21 days for `Delicious', FB + 35 for `Granny Smith', and FB + 56 for `Rome', after which no further changes occurred. For each cultivar, leaf area/spur (LAMP) and leaf dry weight/spur (LDW/SP) increased rapidly from FB until FB + 35 days and then more gradually until FB + 104 days. From FB + 21 onward, `Granny Smith' had greater LA/SP and LDW/SP than `Rome', which, in turn, was greater than for `Delicious'. At harvest (FB + 160), LA/SP was 2.5-fold greater for `Granny Smith' and 1.7-fold greater for `Rome' than for `Delicious'. Cultivar differences for leaf dry weight/leaf area (LDW/LA) were small and canopy position differences were large. LDW/LA declined from 7 days before FB to FB + 7, then gradually increased to the end of the season. Dry weight of the vegetative spur buds (with leaves removed) was lower for `Delicious' than for `Rome' or `Granny Smith'. Total spur dry weight (bud + leaves) was, from FB + 21 onward, greatest for `Granny Smith', intermediate for `Rome', and lowest for `Delicious'.

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Peter M Hirst and David C Ferree

Floral development was studied in buds of `Starkspur Supreme Delicious' apple trees growing on B.9, M.26 EMLA, M.7 EMLA, P.18, and seedling rootstocks. In each of 3 years, buds were sampled from the previous years growth at intervals throughout the growing season and dissected to determine whether the apex was domed, indicating the start of floral development. Number of bud scales and true leaves increased during the early part of the growing season, but remained fairly constant beyond 70 days after full bloom. The type of rootstock did not affect the number of bud scales or transition leaves, and effects on true leaf numbers were small and inconsistent. Final bract number per floral bud was similarly unaffected by rootstock. The proportion of buds in which flowers were formed was influenced by rootstock in only one year of the study, which was characterized by high temperatures and low rainfall over the period of flower formation. Bracts were observed only in floral buds, and became visible after doming of bud apices had occurred. Flowers were formed during the first 20 days in August, regardless of rootstock or year. The appendage number of vegetative buds was constant from 70 days after full bloom until the end of the growing season, but the number of appendages in floral buds increased due to the continued production of bracts. The critical bud appendage number for `Starkspur Supreme Delicious' before flower formation was 20, and was stable among rootstocks and years. Buds with diameters above 3.1 mm were generally floral, but on this basis only 65% of buds could be correctly classified. Spur leaf number, spur leaf area, and spur leaf dry weight were not good predictors of floral formation within the spur bud.

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Richard Marini

Twenty-eight-year-old `Starkrimson Delicious' trees were spur pruned in 1986 and 1987 and/or treated with BA + GA4+7 in 1986 in an attempt to improve spur growth and fruit weight. Yield, fruit weight, and spur quality characters were recorded for 1986-1989. All treatment combinations failed to improve yield or fruit weight. Although spur-pruning improved spur length, spur bud diameter, leaf area per spur and leaf dry weight per spur, fruit weight was not improved. BA + GA4+7 reduced yield and fruit weight, and increased the number of pygmy fruit in 1986, but had little effect on fruiting for the three years after treatment.