Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952 Page: 33
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IMPROVEMENT IN FRUIT PRODUCTION 33
plants were set in beds of three rows, 1 foot between rows and 1 foot
between plants in the row. The Iowa results confirm those reported
earlier by the Ohio station at Wooster.
Contrary to unfavorable reports from growers, the Delaware station
found that poultry manure can be effectively utilized in strawberry
production, provided it is applied the autumn before the plants
are set. Plots on which fall applications of poultry manure were
made in most cases, outyielded check plots or plots manured directly
before setting the plants. Manure applied at setting or used as a side
dressing later actually killed some of the plants and promoted overvegetative
growth. In view of the abundant supply of poultry manure
in Delaware, the findings have great importance to fruit growers.
Controlling Fruit Set
Under favorable cultural and environmental conditions, most fruit
trees such as apples, pears, peaches, and plums have a tendency to set
too many fruits, with the result that the individual fruits are small and
less valuable for marketing. Furthermore, in the case of the apple
and pear, overproduction in one year tends to curtail fruiting the next
year and in many varieties the trees fall into a production status known
as alternate bearing. Removal of a part of the large crop at the proper
stage of development, and timely feeding of the trees, tends to reduce
the alternate bearing habit as well as to improve the market quality of
the fruits that remain after thinning. Hand thinning will accomplish
the goal, but this method is slow and costly. Thus for several years,
the State and Federal research horticulturists have been greatly interested
in chemical sprays for removing the excess flowers on fruit trees.
Comparisons at the Missouri station of dinitro-ortho-cyclohexylphenol
and naphthaleneacetic acid sprays on Golden Delicious apple
blooms showed in general that the latter chemical is the better thinning
agent. Detailed observations on the effects of naphthaleneacetic
acid showed that there was greater dropping of fruit from shaded
than from exposed branches, from weak than from strong spurs, and
from 1-year-old twigs than from older twigs. The maximum effect of
the naphthaleneacetic acid spray occurred 3 to 4 days after application
and on the second natural drop.
At the Idaho station, work with peaches showed the desirability of
concentrations of 50 to 58 parts per million (p. p. m.) of naphthaleneacetic
acid, when sprayed on the trees 5 weeks after full bloom. The
spray prolonged the period of fruit drop instead of intensifying it
during the normal drop period.
Maleic hydrazide was tested by the Michigan station for the thinning
of peach fruits. Different limbs on the same tree were treated
with concentrations of 425, 450, 475, and 500 p. p. m. and a good percentage
of thinning was obtained. However, some hand thinning was
necessary as a follow-up. Where vitamin K was used in conjunction
with naphthaleneacetic acid to test the correlation that might exist
between these two growth-regulating compounds, some evidence was
observed that vitamin K has an antagonistic effect on the naphthaleneacetic
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United States. Office of Experiment Stations. Report on the Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1952, book, January 1953; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc5990/m1/35/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.