Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Technique Thins Excess Blossoms And Boosts Tree Fruit Size

Date:
November 30, 2007
Source:
US Department of Agriculture
Summary:
Too many flowers on peach and apple trees are not necessarily a good thing. If all of the flowers that formed in springtime were allowed to become fruit, the resulting crop may be large, but the fruit would be excessively small and unmarketable. Larger fruit commands a higher market price.

These sweet, plump peaches grew on columnar, or pillar, peach trees (background), which stay about 5 feet in diameter when fully grown.
Credit: Photo by Ken Hammond

Too many flowers on peach and apple trees are not necessarily a good thing. If all of the flowers that formed in springtime were allowed to become fruit, the resulting crop may be large, but the fruit would be excessively small and unmarketable. Larger fruit commands a higher market price.

Related Articles


Today, U.S. fruit growers are spending up to $500 per acre to hand-remove excess blossoms, at a total annual cost of more than $156 million. It's a tedious and time-consuming process—often used in peach production—and it, like chemical fruit thinning, may be ineffective as well as expensive.

That's why Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists have been working on a more efficient way to reduce the number of blossoms on a tree to promote more profitable fruit. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.

At the ARS Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory in Kearneysville, W.Va., plant physiologist Thomas Tworkoski and horticulturist Stephen Miller have experimented with using an essential oil plant extract to reduce the number of blossoms on a tree, allowing more profitable fruit to grow. Adopting such an environmentally sound approach to blossom thinning would prevent limb breakage from excess fruit weight, while yielding the larger fruit many consumers prefer.

The new method involves spraying fruit trees with the natural plant product while the tree is in bloom. The plant extract damages the blossoms' reproductive tissues and prevents pollination and fertilization. Flowers are sufficiently affected shortly after treatment. The concentration of essential oil plant extract determines the degree of blossom fall. Tworkoski and Miller are fine-tuning the timing of application with the bloom cycles of various fruit trees including apples, peaches, pears and other high-value fruit trees.

Not only can this method meet the tree fruit industry's needs for reliable blossom thinners that are safe and environment-friendly, it may also be acceptable for use in organic fruit production. A patent application has been submitted for this technology, and ARS is looking for cooperative research partners to assist with small field trials.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by US Department of Agriculture. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

US Department of Agriculture. "New Technique Thins Excess Blossoms And Boosts Tree Fruit Size." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126152259.htm>.
US Department of Agriculture. (2007, November 30). New Technique Thins Excess Blossoms And Boosts Tree Fruit Size. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126152259.htm
US Department of Agriculture. "New Technique Thins Excess Blossoms And Boosts Tree Fruit Size." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071126152259.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Gorilla Falls Into Zoo Moat

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A gorilla comes to the rescue of her sister who fell into a moat in Israel&apos;s Safari zoo. Rough cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Giant Amphibian Fossils Found in Portugal

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) Scientists discover a new species of giant amphibian that was one of the largest predators on earth about 220 million year ago. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Rhino Goes on Deadly Rampage in Nepal

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) A rhino runs rampant down a bustling city street, killing one woman and injuring several others, before security personnel chase it back into the forest. Vanessa Johnston reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Bionic Ants Could Be Tomorrow's Factory Workers

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) Industrious 3D printed bionic ants working together could toil in the factories of the future, says German technology company Festo. The robotic insects cooperate and coordinate their actions and movements to achieve a common aim. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins