Journal Of Applied Horticulture ISSN: 0972-1045


P.l. Garriz, H.L. Alvarez, G.M. Colavita and M.S. Gajdos

Faculty of Agriculture, Comahue National University, c.c. 85, 8303 Cinco Saltos, R.N., Argentina.

Key words: Flower thinning, fruit size, growth curves, lime sulphur, maturity, Pyrus communis.

Journal of Applied Horticulture, 2007, volume 9, issue 1, pages 46-49.

Abstract: Thinning is a central management activity in the production of high quality fruit required for the domestic and export market. Early thinning of fruit trees is important since it influences fruit size and the time of application affects flower bud formation for the following season. Furthermore, finding organic blossom thinners is a major challenge as hand thinning is a costly practice. At the High Valley region of Argentina (lat. 38?56' 67?59'W), lime sulphur was evaluated as flower thinner on 'Abbe Fetel' (Pyrus communis L.) pear trees trained to palmette leader. Treatments were 1) control, and 2) 7 % lime sulphur applied at 30 % bloom, using an orchard sprayer. Fruit diameter (FD) was recorded two weekly (n=20 per date and treatment). At 144 days after full bloom (DAFB), or initial commercial harvest, fruit weight and the maturity indices were determined. Fruits were then graded into size categories. Growth equations were developed using non linear regression and mean separations were computed with Student's t-test. The lime sulphur sprays significantly increased mean FD, starting from 115 DAFB. Logistic model best fitted the fruit growth vs. time curves. Percentage of fruits with <65mm diameter was 25 % for the control and 5.26 % for lime sulphur treatment. Treatment 2 increased final fruit weight by 16.5 %, as compared to the untreated pears. At 144 DAFB, thinned trees showed firmer fruits than the controls (64.4 vs. 61.7 N) and there were no statistical differences among treatments in soluble solids concentration and starch index. Consequently, data indicated that lime sulphur at 7 % was an effective flower thinning agent to enhance 'Abbe Fetel' pear seasonal fruit growth and quality.

Journal of Applied Horticulture