|Authors: ||L.C. Luckwill, R.D. Child|
Attempts to increase flower initiation in maiden trees of several apple cultivars by means of growth retardants, chemical pruning agents or hand-pinching of the shoot tip are described.
Some cultivars, such as 'Bramley's Seedling', were found to react best when grown as 'multi-shoot' rather than 'single-shoot' trees.
Following SADH treatment, 'Egremont Russet', planted at a density of 71, 729 trees/ha, gave an average of 710 g fruit/tree in the second year (equivalent to 51. 2 tonnes/ha), but a quarter of the trees yielded 1 kg or more.
The two main components contributing to high yields were a high number of fruit buds/tree and a low June drop.
SADH applied shortly after flowering was effective in reducing June drop in 'Egremont Russet' and 'Lord Lambourne'. For yields up to 1300 g/tree leaf area did not appear to limit crop.
Directed applications of MH as an alternative to bud-rubbing for the control of multiple shooting from the cut back stumps of meadow orchard trees was only partially successful; shoot number was reduced, but the MH caused strong retardation in the growth of the remaining shoots.
It is concluded that many technical problems still remain to be solved before the meadow orchard can become an economically viable system of culture.
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