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Plant Growth Regulator Field Day Review

Mike Basedow, Tree Fruit Specialist
Eastern New York Commercial Horticulture

August 10, 2018

Near the end of the June, I attended the summer PGR meeting and orchard tour that was held in Geneva, where Dr. Poliana Francescatto reviewed some of her recent work with PGR's. After a detailed discussion of floral bud induction and initiation indoors, we headed out to the research orchard to view a handful of her current field trials.  In this article, we will review some of the key takeaways from that tour.

Take away #1: Adjust Honeycrisp crop load early to maximize return bloom.

Poliana has found Honeycrisp initiates flowers earlier than other popular varieties. This initiation is the first visible sign that a bud is going to be a fruit bud, rather than a vegetative bud the following growing season. In Gala, initiation of the following season's flowers begins about 70 days following full bloom, with its peak around 85 days. In Honeycrisp, 95% of initiation is completed within 45-60 days after full bloom. Poliana explained how Honeycrisp's early initiation may play a considerable role in the cultivar's tendency for biennial bearing. While return bloom sprays have been used inconsistently to reduce biennial bearing in Honeycrisp, Poliana recommended regular and early thinning of Honeycrisp with NAA, followed by low weekly doses of NAA up to 40 days after full bloom to insure adequate return bloom the following season.

Take away #2: Using the Carbohydrate Model as One Tool in the Toolbox

The apple carbohydrate thinning model was developed by Dr. Alan Lakso and Dr. Terrence Robinson to model carbohydrate supply and demand using NEWA weather data and user entered field variables. Dr. Lakso was present at the meeting, and reminded growers that the model cannot always account for unique field circumstances, and that the grower ultimately knows their block history best.  A few growers shared how they like to use the model. One grower explained how he will apply a thinning treatment and then use the model to look back three days to better predict how effective the spray might have been. This helps him determine if he needs to go back in with another treatment when the next thinning window approaches.  The carbohydrate model can be used to determine daily carbohydrate stress during your thinning windows, but carbohydrate stress provides only part of the picture. Consider all of the additional chemical, physiological, and environmental variables that can impact your thinning each year when you develop your thinning program next May.

Take away #3: New Thinning Products

Poliana showed the group a few of her experiments with new thinning products. While not currently registered for thinning in the United States, Metamitron is a sugar beet herbicide that is already being used as a thinner in Europe.  She finds the greatest thinning effect from Metamitron occurs when fruit is between 8-12mm, and when there is a large carbohydrate deficit.  However, tree status prior to the application plays a significant role on the thinning responses. For instance, the carry-over effects of severe drought stress in 2016 explained a lot of the thinning responses seen in 2017. 

Two trees of Crimson Gala on M.9 treated with differing rates and spray timings of Metamitron, a sugar beet herbicide currently approved for fruit thinning in Europe.  

Poliana also discussed thinning with ACC, an ethylene precursor.  She finds ACC works best at the 18-20mm stage, but also works at the 8-12mm stage. The level of thinning from ACC is very dependent on temperatures at and following the application, and the thinning response is also heavily variety dependent.  Leaf drop can also occur using ACC, but it may be reduced if applied with or following an application of 6-BA.   

Take away #4: Strategies for Thinning without Carbaryl

Poliana is also investigating thinning programs that do not include carbaryl, as some retailers do not accept fruit treated with it. We visited a block of NY1 and NY2 where she showed very promising results using different combinations of 6-BA, NAA and NAD. So far, these combinations have had comparable thinning results to trees thinned with Carbaryl. We have seen similar thinning responses with these combinations in Honeycrisp at an on-farm trial in the Champlain Valley. In that trial, trees also received combinations of 6-BA, NAA, and NAD. Applications were made at bloom, petal fall, and 10-12mm. Poliana has developed carbaryl free thinning recommendations for major varieties, and discussed these recommendations at our petal fall meetings this past May.

For more information on Poliana's trials, review her recent article in the spring 2018 NYFQ. 



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Upcoming Events

2021 Spring Turn-Out Grazier Meeting

April 29, 2021

2021 Spring Turn-Out Grazier Meeting: Adapting livestock, Pasture Forbs, Spending Money. Presented by Cornell Cooperative Extension Educators: Ashely Pierce, Dayton Maxwell, and Aaron Gabriel.

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Announcements

U-Pick Farm Practices During Covid-19 Pandemic

U-Pick is a critical direct marketing approach for many of our farms and provides
customers with a unique connection to fresh produce grown close to home. In light
of what we understand about the spread of COVID-19, new management practices
will be needed to protect your farm team and your customers. This document
provides recommended practices and communication strategies for U-Pick
operations for the 2020 season.

https://rvpadmin.cce.cornell.edu/uploads/doc_864.pdf

Growers-are you running low on fall pumpkins, etc?

The Produce Auctions located around the state may have what you need.  Check out all of the opportunities here: https://harvestny.cce.cornell.edu/submission.php?id=4

Resources from CCE ENYCHP!

We are developing new ways to connect with the CCE ENYCHP team this year! We have a Youtube page located at this link. Check out videos on Table Grape Production, Pest Updates and the 20 Minute Ag Manager - in 4 Minutes series

We have a Facebook Page here as well as an Instagram page. We keep these places updated with current projects, events, and other interesting articles and deadlines.

There are also text alerts available. Fruit and vegetable farmers in 17 Eastern NY counties can now receive real time alerts on high risk disease and pest outbreaks texted directly to their cell phone. The Eastern NY Commercial Horticulture program, which is supported by local Cornell Cooperative Extension associations, will now offer text alerts to those that enroll in our program in 2019. 

The text alerts will be reserved for important crop alerts that could impact management decisions immediately. For instance, if there were an outbreak of Late Blight in the area, this would be transmitted to vegetable growers.

Farmers can choose the crop for which they wish to receive updates. Additionally they can request that Ag Business Alerts be sent to them. These alerts might include due dates for crop insurance deadlines, market opportunities etc.

If you have questions, please contact enychp@cornell.edu


Podcasts

Allium Leafminer (ALM) Update

April 8, 2021
Allium leafminer (ALM), a relatively new invasive species in the region, can cause devastating losses to scallions and leeks. Teresa Rusinek and Ethan Grundberg discuss their research to identify effective management strategies for the pest with host Crystal Stewart-Courtens.


Northeast SARE Progress Report: https://projects.sare.org/project-reports/one19-336/

Details the findings from Rusinek and Grundberg’s research to evaluate row cover and insect netting compared to two applications of Entrust and M-Pede to manage ALM.

University of Massachusetts 2020 Pests of the Year ALM Presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IadfeJ1dWVo for the recording and https://cornell.box.com/s/wbtigjuuc82ufktu1ghfb0b2dh166mk5 for the slides in PDF

ALM Lookalikes and Visual Lifecycle PDF: https://cornell.box.com/s/q2rdq3vuih5xzoy8dwfu63mm5q980drn

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