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Horticulture

  • Investigating the vigor and production efficiency of experimental rootstocks and interstem combinations for apples as part of the NC-140 national rootstock testing program.
  • Effect of controlled atmosphere storage on storage quality of Ginger Gold, Gala, Braeburn, and Fuji apples (cooperative with USDA, Beltsville).
  • The potential of new untested apple varieties to perform in the southcentral area of Pennsylvania is being investigated. Over 50 varieties are now planted as part of the NE-183 national apple variety testing program.
  • Evaluations of new plant growth regulators including Apogee® that can reduce the vegetative vigor of apple and pear trees may dramatically change the way that apples are grown and may reduce the severity of fire blight epidemics.
  • Develop apple thinning programs for the major apple varieties in the Mid-Atlantic area to overcome alternate bearing, a major limitation in annual production.
  • Major efforts will continue in the testing of apple varieties and rootstocks that can thrive in the Mid-Atlantic area. Both varieties and rootstocks must be able to overcome the environmental limitations here and must be able to efficiently produce the quality of fruit demanded by the fresh and processing industries.
  • Continue research on plant growth regulators in large orchard trials to determine effects on orchard management and productivity.
  • Refinements to the current recommendations for thinning apples will most likely focus on environmental and plant growth regulator factors. Less emphasis will be placed on an optimum fruit size, and effective programs will be available to thin apples from full bloom to the 20 mm fruit size.