The effect of different rates of prohexadione-calcium and girdling on shoot growth and fruit quality when applied to different pear cultivars

Meintjes, J. J. ; Stassen, P. J. C. ; Theron, K. I. (2005-04)

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Prohexadione-Calcium (P-Ca) is a promising new shoot growth retardant that is already registered on apples in North America (Apogee®) and in Europe (Regalis®). This gibberellin biosynthesis inhibitor with limited persistence and low toxicity was tested on five Pyrus communis cultivars: ‘Rosemarie’, ‘Flamingo’, ‘Early Bon Chretien’, ‘Packham’s Triumph’ and ‘Forelle’. P-Ca was able to reduce shoot growth in all of the cultivars, but there was a marked difference in sensitivity towards different rates of P-Ca between the different cultivars. Fruit set was improved in ‘Rosemarie’, ‘Forelle’ and ‘Early Bon Chretien’, which led to a decrease in final fruit size of ‘Rosemarie’. P-Ca caused a decrease in return bloom in ‘Packham’s Triumph’ and ‘Forelle’. Girdling only reduced shoot growth in ‘Forelle’ but did not improve fruit set in any of the cultivars. Girdling improved final fruit weight of ‘Flamingo’, increased fruit length in ‘Early Bon Chretien’ and increased return bloom in all of the cultivars except ‘Packham’s Triumph’. The five cultivars are categorised according to their sensitivity towards P-Ca: ‘Rosemarie’ > ‘Flamingo’ = ‘Early Bon Chretien’ = ‘Packham’s Triumph’ > ‘Forelle’.

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