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Comparison of the Effects of Early and Conventional Defoliation on Fruit Growth, Quality and Skin Color Development in 'Fuji' Apples

  • Matsumoto, Kazuhiro (Faculty of Agriculture, Shizuoka University) ;
  • Fujita, Tomomichi (Fujisaki Farm, Teaching and Research Center for Bio-coexistence, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University) ;
  • Sato, Saki (Fujisaki Farm, Teaching and Research Center for Bio-coexistence, Faculty of Agriculture and Life Science, Hirosaki University) ;
  • Chun, Jong-Pil (Department of Horticultural Science, Chungnam National University)
  • Received : 2017.03.22
  • Accepted : 2017.05.02
  • Published : 2017.08.28

Abstract

We compared the quality of 'Fuji' apples (Malus ${\times}$ domestica) from trees whose leaves were not removed (no artificial defoliation; NAD) with apples from trees that underwent early defoliation (ED, treated in mid September and early October) and conventional defoliation (CD, treated in early and mid October). The experiment was conducted in three consecutive years using 15-year-old 'Fuji' apple grafted on Malus prunifolia. Fruits were harvested on November 7, 16 or 12 in 2011, 2012 and 2013, respectively. Compared to NAD treatment, ED and CD treatment reduced the fresh weight by 4.7% and 0.6%, respectively. The soluble solids content of NAD apples ($14.4^{\circ}Brix$) was slightly higher than that of CD ($14.1^{\circ}Brix$) and ED ($14.0^{\circ}Brix$) apples. Soluble sugar content, flesh firmness, water-core index, and titratable acidity were not affected by defoliation treatment regardless of treatment timing. The skin blush index of NAD apples (2.3) was inferior to that of CD (3.3) and ED (3.4)- treated apples. Furthermore, artificial defoliation treatments increased skin redness ($a^*$) and yellowness ($b^*$) and significantly improved the degree of skin blush compared to NAD fruits.

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