Flowers to fruit; early fruit formation and late fruit quality
Measham, PF and Cover, IP and Bound, SA, Flowers to fruit; early fruit formation and late fruit quality, 28th International Horticulture Congress, 17-24 August 2014, Brisbane, Australia (2014) [Conference Extract]
Early fruit development (from bloom to stage II) was followed in the current season on variety ‘Lapins’; this variety has previously been exposed as susceptible to apical-end skin blemishes such as cracking and woody scar tissue. Anecdotal information suggested the development of apical-end skin blemishes occurred in regions which experienced a long cool spring, a protracted period of development and a higher incidence of style retention. It has been shown previously that skin cracking at the apical-end of the fruit in response to late season rainfall was increased by water uptake across the fruit skin; water droplets form in the apical-end depression in some varieties. Uptake and cracking could be further exacerbated by the presence of growth scars. To explore the impact of style retention on scarring, regular flower and fruit monitoring early in the season was undertaken. The relationship between style retention, scarring and the development of larger cracks following rainfall near harvest was investigated. To determine if timely progression (rate of development) from floral through to fruit formation affected the formation of apical-end scarring, floral closure and style abscission was promoted using a plant growth regulator applied at 50%, 100% and 2 weeks after full bloom. Preliminary results showed that style retention was increased under a slower progression of flower to fruit and abscission increased with faster development. Style retention was found to increase both scarring and apical-end cracking and therefore early management of flower and fruit growth has the potential to improve quality of fruit at harvest.