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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 594: International Symposium on Foliar Nutrition of Perennial Fruit Plants

THE EFFECT OF CALCIUM AND BORON FOLIAR APPLICATION ON POSTHARVEST PLUM FRUIT QUALITY

Authors:   H. Plich, P. Wójcik
Keywords:   Prunus x domestica, cold storage, plum quality, internal breakdown
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2002.594.57
Abstract:
The effect of calcium or boron sprays during the early period of plum fruit growth on their quality at harvest and after long-term cold storage was determined. The experiment was carried out in the experimental orchard of the Research Institute of Pomology and Floriculture in Skierniewice (Central Poland) in 1996-1998 on nine-year-old plum trees of cv. Stanley and cv.Dąbrowicka Prune (Prunus domestica L.) grafted on Myrobalan (Prunus cerasifera Ehrh.) seedlings. The trees were treated as follows: (1) three foliar B applications at the beginning of flowering, at the petal fall and 2 weeks after full bloom; (2) five foliar Ca applications, from one week after petal fall at ten-day intervals; (3) control, unsprayed trees. At harvest, calcium and boron concentrations, total soluble solids (TSS) and fruit firmness were mesured and the fruit were placed in a cold chamber at –0.5° C. After 2, 4 and 6 weeks of storage TSS, fruit firmness and occurrence of internal breakdown were determined. Occurrence of physiological disorders was estimated after 1 and/or 3 days of simulated shelf life. Each year foliar treatments caused a significant increase of Ca and B content in fruit flesh at harvest in both varieties but their effect on storage behaviour was cultivar-dependent. ‘Stanley’ fruits treated in the early period of growth with calcium were much bigger and lost water a little faster than both the control and boron sprayed ones. No such effect was found in case of ‘Dąbrowicka Prune’ fruits. Treatments with calcium or boron did not have any impact on the occurrence of internal breakdown during long term storage at low temperature in both cultivars but calcium sprays caused a marked increase of ’Stanley’ fruit firmness at harvest and consequently a slower softening during long-term storage at low temperature.

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