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.

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 July 31, 2014 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 July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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