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00221589.1983.11515125

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Journal of Horticultural Science
ISSN: 0022-1589 (Print) (Online) Journal homepage: http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/thsb19
Effect of soil management on mineral composition
and storage quality of Cox’s Orange Pippin apples
D. S. Johnson, G. R. Stinchcombe & K. G. Stott
To cite this article: D. S. Johnson, G. R. Stinchcombe & K. G. Stott (1983) Effect of soil
management on mineral composition and storage quality of Cox’s Orange Pippin apples, Journal of
Horticultural Science, 58:3, 317-326, DOI: 10.1080/00221589.1983.11515125
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221589.1983.11515125
Published online: 27 Nov 2015.
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Date: 28 October 2017, At: 17:53
Journal ofHorticultural Science (1983) 58 (3) 317-326
Effect of soil management on mineral composition and
storage quality of Cox's Orange Pippin apples
By D. S. JOHNSON
East Mailing Research Station, Maidstone, Kent ME19 6BJ, UK
G. R. STINCHCOMBE and K. G. STOTT
Long Ashton Research Station, University of Bristol, Long Ashton, Bristol, BS18 9AF, UK
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SUMMARY
The treatments applied between 1974 and 1980 included overall clover, herbicidetreated tree rows with grass alleyways (standard commercial management) and overall
herbicide (simazine). Although concentrations of N, K, Ca and Mg in the fruit were not
generally affected, P levels were consistently lower in the overall herbicide treatment
compared with herbicide strip management. Although there were marked seasonal
differences in susceptibility to bitter pit and senescent breakdown there were no consistent effects of the soil management treatments. In 1980 foliar application of CaCI 2
effectively reduced bitter pit in all soil treatments, and where sprayed fruit was subsequently stored in controlled atmosphere (2% 02' < 1% CO 2), in contrast to air, the
disorder was virtually eliminated. Fruit firmness measurements from controlled
atmosphere storage were similar in all treatments. There were no consistent effects of
soil management or fertilizer treatments on fruit red coloration.
FRUIT yields from trees grown in soil kept'
completely weed-free by the application of
herbicides often markedly exceeds those from
trees in overall sward management (Stott,
1976; Robinson and O'Kennedy, 1978).
Increases were also noted where a system of
herbicide strips was converted to overall
herbicide treatment (Stott, 1969; Atkinson and
White, 1976). Increased productivity and ease
of soil management promote the use of
herbicides. Removing grass and weeds
enhances the availability of water and soil
nutrients to apple tree roots. Atkinson and
White (1980) reviewed the effects of orchard
soil management on the mineral nutrition of
apple trees. Less information seems to be
available, however, relating soil management
I
practices to nutrient levels in the fruit.
The concentration of the major minerals in
cv Cox's Orange Pippin apples can be related
to their subsequent storage behaviour
(Sharples,
1980). Consequently, where
changes in soil management affect fruit
nutrition it is reasonable to expect an altera-'
tion in storage potential and it is necessary to "
ensure that storage quality is not impaired. Of .
particular importance is the concentration of
Ca in the fruit since, when this is limiting,
fruits are susceptible to a range of
physiological disorders including bitter pit and >'
senescent breakdown. High levels of P help to
prevent low temperature breakdown, whereas
high N tends to be related to a loss of firmness \
and a poor red coloration. High concentrations of K and Mg tend to worsen Carelated disorders when Ca levels in the fruit are
limiting. Certain authors suggest that Ca
supply to apple trees may be directly impaired
by herbicides (Faust and Korcak, 1978;
Raese, 1980).
Since the effects of climate interact with
those of different soil management systems,
studies of such effects are inevitably long-term.
This paper describes the effects of overall
clover, alleyway grass with weed-free herbicide
tree strips (standard commercial practice) and
an overall herbicide weed-free system on the
mineral nutrition and storage quality of Cox
318
Soil management effects on apple composition and storage
apples from 1974 until 1980 (no fruit samples
taken in 1979). The trial was situated at the
Long Ashton Research Station (LARS) and
some effects of treatments on quality have
been
published
(Stott,
Johnson
and
Stinchcombe, 1981). A more detailed account
of the effects on mineral composition and
physiological storage disorders of Cox apples
is presented here. Since many of the storage
problems of Cox apples result from inadequate
Ca in the fruit, foliar sprays of CaCl z (78%
, flake) or Ca(N0 3)z (79% prilled) are applied
\ routinely in many Cox orchards to supplement Ca nutrition of the fruit (Waller, 1980).
. In 1980 a CaCl z spray programme was superimposed onto the existing soil management
treatments in this trial.
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-¥ (
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Virus-free Cox apples on MM.106 rootstock were planted in 1970 as two-year-old
trees spaced at 4 x 2.75 m in bare ground and
kept weed-free with simazine. The soil is of the
Greinton series (Cope, 1970) and consists of a
reddish-brown imperfectly drained deep
(90 cm) loam with a topsoil of pH 6.4.
Chemical and physical analyses have been
fully reported (Greinton, Pit 24, Plot 7B) by
Cope (1970). The available water capacity of
the soil is large (c. 200 mm m- I ) and the 50year average rainfall is 876 mm. Swards
consisting of a 50/50 mixture of meadowgrass, Poa pratensis L. and red fescue Festuca
rubra L. or Kent wild clover Trifolium repens
L. were sown in autumn 1970. Of the eight
treatments replicated five times (five cv Cox
and five cv Golden Delicious trees per
replicate plot) treatments 1,2,5 and 6 in Table
I represent different levels of competition. This
paper deals with the results for Cox only. The
TABLE
treatments started in 1972 and all received
similar applications of fertilizer (N, K, and Mg
at 75 kg ha- I (60 units) each and P at 24 kg
ha-I (19 units» until 1974 when, due to pronounced differences in leaf nutrient levels, the
fertilizer regime was modified. Treatments
since 1974 are shown in Table I. The main
treatments and their effects during the initial
phase (1972-73) of the experiment were
summarized previously (Stott, Johnson and
Stinchcombe, 1981).
Detailed measurements of yield, fruit size,
colour, juice quality, acceptance and taint
were carried out at LARS and the major conclusions regarding the treatment effects of
these attributes have been published (Stott,
Johnson and Stinchcombe, 1981). From 1974
to 1980 (with the exception of 1979) subsamples of fruit (usually of 100 apples) were
taken from each of the 40 plots and sent to
East Mailing Research Station (EMRS) for
mineral analysis and storage tests: in some
years when transport was delayed the fruit was
kept temporarily in cold stores at LARS.
Unfortunately, in 1975 and 1976 the delay
was prolonged and temporary holding
temperatures were inadequate so that the fruit
was already showing symptoms of senescence
when it arrived at EMRS. Consequently, in
those two years, the fruit samples were
examined immediately, no further storage
being appropriate. In 1977, 1978 and 1980
prompt harvesting and transport facilitated the'
use of both air and controlled atmosphere
(CA) storage at 3°C and 3.5°C respectively.
Alternative CA conditions for Cox's Orange
Pippin are 5% COz + 3% Oz and 2% Oz
(<1% COz); the former regime was adopted in
1977 and the latter in 1978 and 1980. Fruit
colour was estimated as a percentage of the
I
Sward and soil management treatments 1974-80
Tree row treatment (2 m)
Alley treatment (2 m)
I. Weed-free
Sward cut (standard management)
2. Weed-free
Sward controlled (MH+2,4-D)
As 2 ,3. As 2
4. Overall white clover, free growing
5. As 4 with strawberry clover
6. Overall weed-free simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- ' yr- 1
7. Overall weed-free penodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha- '
8. As 6
As 6
* Rates of fertilizers Nand 2N
Fertilizer*
N PK Mg
N P K Mg
2N P K Mg
2PK Mg
N PK Mg
N PK Mg
N PK Mg
P K Mg
= 75 and 150; P and 2P = 24 and 48; K and Mg = 75 kg ha- 1 yr- 1 respectively.
319
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D. S. JOHNSON, G. R. STINCHCOMBE and K. G. STOlT
surface of the apple coloured red and scored 1
(1-20%), 2 (21-40%), 3 (41-60%), 4
(61-80%) or 5 (81-100%) and expressed as a
mean for each sample. Subsamples of 20 fruits
per plot were used for chemical analysis. The
major elements in the fruit (N, P, K, Ca and
Mg) were determined using washed, freshly
pulped material digested in Kjeldahl mixture.
Nand P were measured colorimetrically, K by
flame emission spectroscopy, Ca by
fluorimetry and Mg by atomic absorption
spectroscopy and the results expressed as mg
100 g-l fresh weight. After CA storage,
firmness measurements were made using a
semi-automatic penetrometer fitted with an 8mm probe (Topping, 1981). After CA and air
storage the fruits were examined externally for
treatments in which similar levels of N, P and
K were applied (2, 5, 6 and 7) affected fruit N
levels compared with the standard management treatment (1), extra N applied to the bare
tree row, with grass (suppressed) alleys (treatment 3) increased the mean fruit N concentration averaged over the six years. Withholding
N from overall weed-free plots (treatment 8)
significantly reduced average fruit N (Table
11).
The effects of the higher rates of N (treatment 3) on fruit N, averaged over the six
years, were due mainly to marked increases in
fruit N in 1975 and 1978, while the reductions
due to withholding N from overall weed-free
plots were most marked in 1977 and 1980.
When the results for other treatments are
symptoms
cut
examined on a yearly basis it is evident that
transversely both at the calyx and the equator
and inspected for bitter pit and breakdown.
The number of fruits affected by breakdown or bitter pit was expressed as a
percentage of the total number of fruit in the
sample. Percentage values were transformed to
angles for statistical analysis but the original
data are shown in the tables of results. The
least significant difference (LSD) was used to
compare mean values for treatment 1
(standard management) with those for treatments 2, 5, 6 and 7 (different levels of competition), all supplied with the same N P K
fertilizer regime. The effects of differential
fertilizer can be measured by comparing treatments 2, 5 and 6 with 3,4 and 8 respectively.
fruit from plots of free-growing strawberry
clover (treatment 5) were significantly lower in
N than those from the standard management
in 1974 and 1977: this was offset in 1975 by a
significant reverse effect. Similarly, although
fruit N in 1977 and 1980 was significantly
lower in overall weed-free (treatment 7) than in
standard management, there was a significant
reverse effect in 1975.
Average P concentrations were significantly
lower in fruits from overall clover (treatment
5) and overall weed-free (treatment 6) plots
compared with those from standard management (Table III). Differential fertilizer treatments gave no significant differences in the
average concentration of P in the fruit. Compared with those from standard management
plots (treatment 1) apples from overall-clover
(treatment 5) and overall-bare (annual
simazine, treatment 6) were significantly lower
'of
breakdown
and
then
RESULTS
Fruit mineral composition
Although none of the soil management
TABLE II
Effect ofherbicide/management treatments onfruit nitrogen (mg 100 g-l fresh weight)
Treatment
Fertilizer
I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed-free
NPK
2. Alley sward controlled MH+2,4-D; tree row
weed-free
NPK
5. Alley and tree row overall strawberry clover;
free growing
NPK
6. Overall weed-free; simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- ' yr-'
NPK
7. Overall weed-free; periodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha-1NPK
3. As 2, differential fertilizer
2N+PK
4. As 5, with white clover differential fertilizer
2P+K
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
PK
SED
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1980
Overall
mean
62
45
57
68
57
62
59
64
48
55
65
58
61
59
51
65
56
63
59
53
47
53
57
46
49
3.5
60
61
61
60
59
62
2.4
58
68
59
69
67
59
2.9
61
56
56
65
58
53
3.4
63
62
55
64
52
48
3.0
58
60
57
63
57
54
1.9
4.3
320
Soil management effects on apple composition and storage
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in P concentration in 1974; the latter treatment reduced fruit P in 1975 also. Withholding N and applying additional phosphate
significantly increased the P concentration in
fruits from overall clover plots in 1974
although the average concentrations for the
six-year period were not significantly different.
There were no significant effects of soil
management and differential fertilizer treatments on the average concentration of K in
Cox apples at harvest (Table IV). In 1976
extra N applied to treatment 3 (alley-sward
controlled by MH + 2,4-0; tree row weedfree) significantly increased fruit K concentration, and in 1977 withholding it from overall
weed-free plots (treatment 8, simazine 2.2 kg
a.i. ha- 1 y,l) resulted in a significant reduction. Also in 1977 fruits from overall herbicide
(periodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha- 1) were
significantly lower in fruit K than those from
the standard management.
With the exception of 1974, fruit Ca levels
were generally lower than the 4.5 mg 100 g-l
fresh weight considered necessary for longterm CA storage (Sharples, 1980) but there
were no significant differences between
standard and overall weed-free management
(Table V) or any other soil management and
fertilizer treatments (data not presented). This
applied to both overall means and figures for
TABLE III
Effect ofherbicide management treatments onfruit phosphorus (mg 100 g-J fresh weight)
Treatment
Fertilizer
I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed-free
NPK
2. Alley sward controlled MH+2,4-D; tree row
NPK
weed free
5. Alley and tree row overall strawberry clover;
free growing
NPK
6. Overall weed-free; simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- J yr- I
NPK
7. Overall weed-free; periodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha-1NPK
3. As 2, differential fertilizer
2N+PK
4. As 5, with white clover differential fertilizer
2P+K
PK
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
SED
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1980
Overall
mean
12.7
11.7
11.5
11.0
11.3
11.3
11.6
13.1
10.7
12.8
10.3
10.9
11.5
11.6
10.3
9.1
11.0
10.9
11.4
10.0
0.62
11.3
10.1
11.3
12.2
I I. 7
10.7
0.84
10.7
10.4
11.1
12.0
11.2
11.0
0.39
9.2
10.6
11.8
13.9
11.8
12.1
10.2
11.3
11.4
10.5
11.6
0.99 0.77
9.5
11.5
11.7 10.4
9.8
11.5
13.5 10.0
11.5 10.2
12.7
9.9
0.74 0.47
TABLE IV
Effect ofherbicide/management treatments on fruit potassium (mg 100 g-I fresh weight)
Treatment
Fertilizer
1. Alley sward cut; tree row weed-free
NPK
2. Alley sward controlled MH+2,4-D; tree row
weed free
NPK
5. Alley and tree row overall strawberry clover;
free growing
NPK
6. Overall weed-free; simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- J yr-'
NPK
7. Overall weed-free; periodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha-'NPK
2N+PK
3. As 2, differential fertilizer
2P+K
4. As 5, with white clover differential fertilizer
PK
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
SED
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1980
Overall
mean
152
148
163
158
152
147
153
153
144
171
154
150
145
153
139
149
153
159
150
165
153
149
153
155
156
8.3
174
171
155
188
163
160
6.9
149
165
141
154
156
141
144
158
158
137
7.6
152
141
136
155
143
130
8.2
156
153
146
161
153
146
4.5
7.5
ISO
146
6.5
TABLE V
Calcium concentration (mg 100 g-I fresh weight) in Cox applesfrom standard management and overall herbicide plots
Treatment
I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed-free
6. Overall weed-free simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- I yr- I
SED
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1980
Overall
mean
5.1
4.9
0.38
3.8
3.7
0.34
3.7
3.7
0.33
4.2
3.8
0.28
3.6
4.0
0.24
4.3
4.4
0.39
4.1
4.\
0.13
321
O. S. JOHNSON, G. R. STINCHCOMBE and K. G. STOTT
significant treatment effects, when fruit from
standard management (treatment I) was less
red than treatments 2 (tree row bare; grass in
alley suppressed), 5 (overall strawberry clover)
and 6 (overall weed-free).
Fruit firmness (kg)
Fruit size
Storage disorders
Table VI shows the mean fruit weight of the
samples received for storage; fruit weight was
not determined in 1975. There were no
significant treatment effects on mean fruit
weight in 1974 or 1977 nor on the five-year
averages. However, in 1976 where alley sward
was suppressed by MH + 2,4-0 (treatment 2)
as opposed to mowing (standard management) the fruits were significantly larger,
whereas in 1978 fruit from overall bare plots
(treatment 6) were significantly smaller than
those from the standard management plots.
Withholding N and applying additional
phosphate to overall clover plots (treatment 4)
resulted in significantly larger fruit in 1978. In
1980 additional N applied to plots where alley
sward was suppressed by MH + 2,4-0
significantly raised mean fruit weight.
Bitter pit was recorded in experimental fruit
in all years and was particularly acute in the
1977 and 1978 crops. However, the absolute
amount of bitter pit which was recorded in
1975 and 1976 may not represent maximum
development since the fruit was inspected on
arrival at EMRS (November) after being held
in air storage at LARS prior to transport.
Bitter pit characteristically worsens in Cox as
the period in store is extended until, after about
12 weeks in air at 3°C, maximum severity is
realized. Consequently, apples are normally
first inspected for internal bitter pit symptoms
in early January. Variable inspection dates
therefore complicate the interpretation of
seasonal effects on the incidence of the disorder. There were no consistent effects of soil
management or fertilizer treatments on overall
(six-year) mean bitter pit incidence (Table
VII). However, in 1974 suppressing the grass
alley with MH + 2,4-D resulted in a
significantly (P<0.05) higher incidence of
bitter pit than where the alley grass was mown
(standard management). In 1978 fruits from
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individual years. In 1980 the application of
CaCl 2 sprays raised fruit Ca concentration in
all soil management treatments by 0.4-0.7 mg
100 g-I (Table VIII).
Fruit Mg concentrations in standard
management plots during the period 1974-80
ranged from 5.3 to 5.9 mg 100 g-I fresh
weight, and only in 1980 was there a
significant effect of soil treatments; withholding N from overall clover and weed-free
plots resulted in significantly lower concentrations of Mg in the fruit (data not presented).
Fruit red colour
There were no significant effects of soil
management or fertilizer treatments on red
colour averaged over the six years (data not
presented), and only in 1976 were there
There were no significant effects of soil
management or differential fertilizer treatments on fruit firmness after CA storage in
any of the three years (data not presented), nor
did the application of calcium sprays in 1980
affect fruit firmness.
TABLE
VI
Effect ofherbicide/management treatments on meanfruit weight (g) ofsub-samples selectedfor storage tests
Treatment
Fertilizer
1974
I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed-free
2. Al1ey sward control1ed MH+2,4-D; tree row weed-free
5. Alley and tree row overal1 strawberry clover; free growing
6. Overal1 weed free; simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- t yr- 1
7. Overal1 weed-free; periodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha- 1
3. As 2, differential fertilizer
4. As 5, with white clover differential fertilizer
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
SED
NPK
NPK
NPK
NPK
NPK
2N+PK
2P+K
PK
116.6
120.0
106.0
110.9
121.7
119.8
118.5
* 4-year mean.
1976
1977
1978
1980
116.6 101.4 102.6 114.7
146.9 100.4 105.8 123.4
111.8 95.0 97.1 113.8
120.2 107.0 89.8 111.8
120.3 99.3 101.8 113.9
156.6 97.0 108.8 143.7
129.0 94.8 115.0 119.9
109.8 101.2 95.6 109.7
5.48 11.49 5.17 4.96 9.36
Overall
mean
110.4
117.7
104.7
107.9
111.4
125.2
115.5
104.1*
4.51
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322
Soil management effects on apple composition and storage
standard management plots (treatment 1) were
more susceptible (P<0.05) than those from
overall weed-free (2.2 kg simazine ha- 1 yr- 1).
Although the effects of treatments on the sixyear mean bitter pit percentage just failed to
reach significance at P = 0.05, it is interesting
that treatment 2 (alley-sward suppressed by
MH + 2.4-0; tree row weed free) and treatment 6 (overall bare 2.2 kg simazine ha- 1
yr- 1) which represent the extremes in competition gave the worst- and least-affected fruit
respectively. In 1980 Ca sprays markedly
reduced susceptibility to bitter pit as did
storage in CA (2% 02' <1% CO 2) rather than
in air. These two effects were additive; consequently in air storage mean bitter pit incidence in unsprayed and sprayed trees was 19%
and 6% respectively, whereas in CA storage
6% of unsprayed and only 1% of Ca-sprayed
fruit developed the disorder (Table VIII).
In all years, except 1974, senescent breakdown was prevalent in Cox apples stored in air
at 3°C (Table IX). Since, as with bitter pit, this
disorder is also progressive, inspection dates in
each year should be comparable to permit the
interpretation of seasonal influences on
susceptibility. As stated earlier, fruits harvested in 1975 and 1976 were kept in store for
shorter periods than in other years. Even so, it
was quite apparent that the 1976 crop was
particularly susceptible to senescent breakdown. There were no significant effects of soil
management or fertilizer treatments on mean
percentage senescent breakdown for a five-
TABLE VII
Effect ofherbicde/management treatments on the incidence ofbitter pit (%) in Cox apples stored in air at JOC
Fertilizer
1974
1975
1976
1977
1978
1980
Overall
mean
NPK
I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed free
2. Alley sward controlled MH+2,4-D; tree row
NPK
weed free
5. Alley and tree row overall strawberry clover;
NPK
free growing
6. Overall weed free; simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- ' yr- I
NPK
7. Overall weed-free; periodic simazine 11.2 kg a.i. ha-'NPK
2N+PK
3. As 2, differential fertilizer
4. As 5, with white clover differential fertilizer
2P+K
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
PK
5.1
20.1
9.9
39.0
49.5
16.4
23.3
13.2
26.1
9.0
45.3
63.1
23.6
30.0
0
1.0
8.5
22.6
4.0
32.6
30.0
20.4
16.0
23.7
29.8
17.2
9.1
8.4
14.7
9.3
7.4
43.3
41.2
24.6
26.7
29.9
40.7
44.7
19.8
59.2
48.0
57.5
42.0
24.4
8.8
14.5
25.7
28.6
10.8
27.0
18.3
22.6
25.6
25.5
26.2
Treatment
The SED is not stated where percentage values are presented since the data were transformed to angles prior to analysis
of variance; only original means are shown in tables, significance levels are discussed in the text.
TABLE VIII
Effect ofcalcium chloride sprays on the calcium concentration (mg 100 g-I) and incidence ofbitter pit (%) infruit
harl'ested in J980 from different herbicidel/management treatments and stored either in air (30 C) or controlled
atmosphere (2% 0, < 1% CO,) at 3.5°C
Treatment
I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed-free
2. Alley sward controlled MH+2,4-D; tree row
weed-free
5. Alley and tree row overall strawberry clover;
free growing
6. Overall weed-free; simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- 1 yr- I
7. Overall weed-free; periodic simazine
11.2 kg a.i. ha- '
3. As 2. differential fertilizer
4. As 5, with white clover differential fertilizer
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
Fruit calcium
Air
(19.1.81)
Controlled
atmosphere
(4.3.81)
Un- Calcium
sprayed sprayed
Un- Calcium
sprayed sprayed
Un- Calcium
sprayed sprayed
Fertilizer
NPK
4.3
4.7
16.4
5.1
1.6
0
NPK
4.2
4.6
23.6
2.4
5.4
0.8
NPK
NPK
4.5
4.4
5.2
5.0
24.4
8.8
2.2
2.8
7.7
2.4
0
1.1
NPK
2N+PK
2P+K
PK
4.5
3.8
3.9
4.7
4.9
4.4
4.4
5.1
14.5
25.7
28.6
10.8
4.9
15.9
10.9
3.2
5.7
13.0
11.2
0.8
1.9
2.9
1.8
0.8
The SED is not stated where percentage values are presented since the data were transformed to angles prior to analysis
of variance; only original means are shown in tables, significance levels are discussed in the text.
D. S. JOHNSON, G. R. STlNCHCOMBE and K. G. STOTT
TABLE
323
IX
Effecl ojherbicide/managemenilrealmenls and calcium spraying (1980) on the incidence (%) ojsenescenl breakdown
in Cox apples slored in air al JOC
Treatment
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I. Alley sward cut; tree row weed·free
2. Alley sward controlled MH+2,4-D; tree
row weed-free
5. Alley and tree row overall strawberry
clover; free growing
6. Overall weed-free; simazine 2.2 kg
a.i. ha- I yr- 1
7. Overall weed-free; periodic simazine
11.2 kg a.i. ha- 1
3. As 2, differential fertilizer
4. As 5, with white clover differential
fertilizer
8. As 6, differential fertilizer
1975
1976
1977
1978
NPK
4.1
27.8
30.1
13.1
7.9
16.6
1.3
NPK
J.3
40.8
3J.l
14.1
12.5
20.0
2.1
NPK
10.1
13.4
27.7
10.2
5.3
13.3
0.9
NPK
4.8
11.6
39.9
6.3
7.5
14.0
1.2
NPK
2N+PK
3.1
0.5
13.8
41.8
32.1
23.5
15.3
9.6
7.3
8.5
14.3
16.8
2.0
2P+K
PK
2.9
7.7
22.6
4.6
28.8
27.3
18.5
14.0
14.1
4.4
17.4
11.6
6.3
0.8
Fertilizer
1980
1980
(un- Overall Calcium
Inspection dates
sprayed)mean for sprayed
5 years
19.1.81
6.11.75 9.11.76 23.2.78 23.1.79 19.1.81
1.7
The SED is not stated where percentage values are presented since the data were transformed to angles prior to analysis
of variance; only original means are shown in tables, sigmficance levels are discussed in the text.
year period. Only in 1975 was there a
significant treatment effect when fruits from
overall strawberry clover (treatment 5) were
more susceptible (P<0.05) to breakdown than
those from the standard management,
although withholding N and increasing
phosphate applications reduced (P<O.OI) its
occurrence. In 1980 spraying with CaCI 2
reduced breakdown incidence in air-stored
fruit from all treatments; the mean percentage
breakdown in the unsprayed fruit was 8.4
compared with 2.0 in those from Ca-sprayed
trees.
DISCUSSION
Since the susceptibility of Cox apples to
many physiological storage disorders can be
related to the concentration of the major
minerals in the fruit at harvest (Sharples, 1980)
any gross effect of soil management treatments on fruit nutrient levels may be expected
to be reflected in subsequent storage
behaviour.
Concentrations (mg 100 g-I fresh weight) of
the major minerals in Cox apples considered
necessary for satisfactory storage are:
N = 50-70, P = 11.0 (minimum), K = 130160, Mg = 5.0 and Ca = 4.5 for CA or 5.0 for
air storage (Waller, 1980). Typically, gdss
competition promotes P uptake but reduces N
supply to apple fruits (Johnson and Johnson,
1980); the latter effect is also likely to result
from increased competition for water in the \
soil (Atkinson and Petts, 1978). Although
there were no consistent effects of different·
levels of sward competition on fruit N, additional N applied to herbicide strip plots (alley
sward controlled with MH + 2,4-0) generally raised fruit N; conversely withholding it
from overall herbicide (simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- I I
yr- I) plots resulted in reduced fruit N although
this did not adversely affect yield in the period
1974-78 (Stott, Johnson and Stinchcombe,
1981). These authors also reported increased"
leaf N, improved tree growth and reduced red
colour in overall herbicide plots compared!:
with standard management (tree row bare; \'
mown grass alley). Although there were no
consistent!effects of sward management or
differential fertilizer treatments on the red
colour of fruit samples assessed at EMRS, I
assessment of larger samples carried out at
LARS showed that simazine (11.2 kg a.i.
ha- I) had a consistent adverse effect. The
mean number of fruit (transformed %) in the
1/2-3/4 red class was 30.5 for simazine
(I 1.2 kg a.i. ha- I) compared with 36.1 for
standard management (SED 1.89) for the
years 1974-78. Where the data for all overall i
weed free treatments (6, 7 and 8) were com- I
bined, there was consistently less red colour
compared with standard management (Stott,
Johnson and Stinchcombe, 1981).
Fruit N levels for the various treatments in '
all years were generally within the required
range. Apart from effects on fruit colour, high
324
Soil management effects on apple composition and storage
\ "\ '.
\"
N supply to fruits increases their susceptibility
" ,to certain types of fungal rotting (Edney,
! J973) although the introduction of post.! harvest fungicide treatments has generally
eliminated their occurrence in commerciallystored fruit (Johnson, 1979).
Although fruit P levels for the various
management treatments were generally
: adequate in most years, overall herbicide
(simazine 2.2 kg a.i. ha- 1 yr 1) consistently
produced fruit lower in P than those from
I' standard management and in five of six years
would have been considered unsuitable for
long-term storage. Overall strawberry clover
had a similar depressing effect on fruit P in
some years. Fruit analysis carried out
\immediately prior to harvest enables growers
to predict storage potential (Waller, 1980) and
thus rank orchards in order of their likely
storage performance. Low fruit P generally
{ increases the risk of low temperature break\ down (LTB) in stored fruit. No LTB
symptoms were evident in fruit from this trial
although it was likely that any expression of
LTB would have been obscured by the more
extensive senescent breakdown symptoms
which were so prevalent in this stored fruit.
Phosphorus levels in Cox fruits may be supplemented by foliar application of calcium
phosphate (Johnson and Yogaratnam, 1978)
which may be required to correct the downward trend in fruit P associated with overall
herbicide plots.
In five of the six years no significant effects
of the five major levels of competition on fruit
K concentration were noted and, with the
,exception of the 1976 fruit, K was generally
,within the range suggested for satisfactory
storage. Although adequate K should be maintained to ensure sufficient flavour and acidity
(Perring, 1968), over-supply increases the
incidence of bitter pit in fruits where Ca is
/
limiting (Sharples, 1980). Similarly, high Mg
levels may lead to unfavourable Mg/Ca ratios
which may also increase the risk of bitter pit.
There were, however, no marked effects of
management treatments on fruit Mg levels in
this trial.
Calcium is undoubtedly the most important
element determining the storage quality of Cox
apples. Inadequate concentrations lead to the
development of a range of physiological
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I
'disorders including water core, lenticel blotch
pit and bitter pit, and to a general acceleration
I I in the rate of tissue senescence (Sharples and
Johnson, 1977). With the exception of 1974,
fruit Ca levels were generally low and consequently bitter pit and senescent breakdown
were prevalent in air-stored fruit. Although the
1975 and 1976 crops were examined for bitter
pit earlier than in other years and therefore
I might not have reached its maximum develop~ ment, it is quite apparent (Table VII) that
\. seasonal effects have a major influence on sust'lceptibility. Conditions which encourage competition between vegetative growth and the
developing fruit affect the supply of Ca to the
latter; consequently, light crops and dry
summers typify years when bitter pit is a
I problem. From 1974-80 there were no con" sistent effects of management treatments on
"the incidence of bitter pit. Although in 1978
fruits from overall herbicide (simazine 2.2 kg
a.i. ha- 1 yr 1) developed less pit than those
from standard management, in 1975 there was
a tendency for a reverse effect. Bitter pit incidence for each treatment averaged over the
period 1974-80 showed no significant differences although, interestingly, least pit was
recorded for overall simazine (2.2 kg a.i. ha- 1
yr- 1) plots. Although simazine was shown to
impair Ca uptake by apple seedlings in water
culture (Faust and Korcak, 1978) and its
movement into the leaves of orchard trees
(Raese, 1980), no adverse effects of overall
simazine applied at 2.2 kg a.i. ha-1 yr 1 or
11.2 kg a.i. ha- 1 every 2+ years were found
here on fruit Ca levels or susceptibility to bitter
pit. In Cox apples Ca concentration and consequent susceptibility to bitter pit can be
related to mean fruit size, smaller fruits generally having higher Ca concentrations (Perring,
1967). Although in the 1978 crop fruits from
overall herbicide (2.2 kg a.i. ha- 1 yr- 1
simazine) were smaller, higher in Ca and
developed less bitter pit than those from
standard management, there were generally no
treatment effects on the mean fruit size of subsamples selected for storage.
As with bitter pit there were no consistent
.(effects of treatments on susceptibility to
: senescent breakdown. Since fruit Ca levels
play an important role in determining
susceptibility to both disorders this might be
l
I
I
D. S. JOHNSON, G. R. STINCHCOMBE and K. G. STon
Downloaded by [UNSW Library] at 17:53 28 October 2017
expected. The development of senescent breakdown is also markedly influenced by the [
maturity of the fruit at harvest. Over-mature 1
fruit generally senesce rapidly, particularly \
where storage conditions are not promptly
achieved. It was not appropriate to carry out
maturity tests when the fruit arrived at EMRS;
this must be done by monitoring ethylene production and the respiration rate of freshly
picked samples. Further work is necessary to
evaluate soil management effects on fruit
maturity. It is conceivable that harvesting
dates may have to be adjusted if influences on
fruit maturity prove to be substantial. Eating)
quality may be impaired by picking immature
fruit whereas late picking promotes senescent
changes.
. Foliar Ca sprays are the most effective):
single measure for raising fruit Ca concentrations and are routine practice on many farms"
(Waller, 1980). However, the effectiveness of a I
Ca spray programme depends on the natural '\
'background' Ca concentration in the fruit I
from a particular orchard. Consequently,
although in 1980 the application of Ca sprays
to the eight soil management treatments raised I
fruit Ca by 0.4-0.7 mg 100 g-I this was
insufficient to provide commercially acceptable control of bitter pit in air-stored fruit in
treatments with the lowest 'background' Ca,
i.e. herbicide strip/grass alley mown and I
overall white clover. However, since a slightly
lower threshold requirement for Ca exists for
CA storage (Johnson, 1980), CaCl 2 spraying
in the orchard followed by CA storage virtually eliminated bitter pit in all treatments. Post-"
harvest Ca treatments are also now com- I'
I,
325
monly used to aid further the control of bitter' ,
pit and senescent breakdown (Johnson, 1979). '
Although
penetrometer
measurements
showed that thelfirmness of Cox apples kept in
CA storage was unaffected by sward management or fertilizer treatment, organoleptic
evaluation of texture and quality may be
necessary
to
ensure
that
consumer,
acceptability is not impaired by any particular
treatment. There are reports that permanent
grass in orchards provides better quality fruit
than clean cultivation (Rogers, Raptopoulos
and Greenham, 1948) and non-cultivation \sf''(Gormley, Robinson and 0'Kennedy, 1973).
In particular, the continued use of triazine \'
herbicides is reported to reduce the synthesis '
of sucrose (Nikolaeva and Shutkina, 1977),
organic acid, dry matter and ascorbic acid
(Belobrov and Yachik, 1976) in apple fruits.
This aspect merits further investigation.
The results obtained illustrate the seasonal 'I
variability in the effects of soil management
treatments on mineral composition and
storage quality. The only consistent effect was
that overall herbicide management produced
fruit with a. P content too low for long-term
storage. However, this disadvantage was more
than offset in this experiment (Stinchcombe
and Stott, in press) and others (Atkinson and
White, 1976) because overall herbicide treatments have consistently given the highest
yields, and fruit P levels can be supplemented
and fruit Ca imbalance rectified by spray
applications. Consequently it is unlikely that
soil management treatments will be advocated
or condemned on the grounds of fruit mineral
composition or storage.
II
REFERENCES
ATKINSON, D. and PEns, S. C. (1978). Effect of the chemical management of orchard swards on
the use of water and mineral nutrients. Proceedings of the 1978 British Crop Protection
Conference--Weeds,223-30.
-
ATKINSON, D. and WHITE, G. C. (1976). Soil management with herbicide-the response of soils
and plants. Proceedings of the 1976 British Crop Protection Conference--Weeds 3,
- 873-84.
ATKINSON, D. and WHITE, G. C. (1980). In: Mineral nutrition offruit trees. ISHS Conference,
Canterbury, 1979 (D. Atkinson, J. E. Jackson, R. O. Sharples and W. M. Waller, Eds)
Butterworths, London, 241-54.
BELOBROV, A. V. and YANCHIK, K. L. (1976). The yield and chemical composition of apples from
simazine-treated orchards. Sadovodstvo, Vinogradarstvo i Vinodelie Moldavii, 5,49-51.
COPE, D. W. (1970). Soil Survey of Long Ashton Research Station. Report of Long Ashton
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I
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326
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EDNEY, K. L. (1973). Fungal disorders. Part III. The biology of apple and pear storage. Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux, Farnham Royal, Slough, 135-72.
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JOHNSON, D. S. (1980). In: Mineral nutrition offruit trees. ISHS Conference, Canterbury, 1979
(D. Atkinson, J. E. Jackson, R. O. Sharples and W. M. Waller, Eds), Butterworths,
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JOHNSON, P. A. and JOHNSON, D. S. (1980). In: Mineral nutrition offruit trees. ISHS Conference, Canterbury, 1979 (D. Atkinson, J. E. Jackson, R. O. Sharples and W. M. Waller,
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JOHNSON, D. S. and YOGARATNAM, N. (1978). The effects of phosphorus sprays on the mineral
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NIKOLAEVA, N. G. and SHUTKINA, A. T. (1977). Triazine herbicides in Moldavian apple orchards.
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PERRING, M. A. (1968). Recent work at the Ditton Laboratory on the chemical composition and
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RAESE, J. T. (1980). Leaf calcium and sorbitol in Delicious apple trees as influenced by herbicides
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ROGERS, W. S., RAPTOPOULOS, T. H. and GREENHAM, D. W. P. (1948). Cover crops for fruit
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London, 17-28.
SHARPLES, R. O. and JOHNSON, D. S. (1977). The influence of calcium on senescence changes in
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STOTT, K. G. (1969). Herbicides in orchards. Report ofLong Ashton Research Stationfor 1968,
119-20.
STOTT, K. G. (1976). The effects of competition from ground covers on apple vigour and yield.
Annals ofApplied Biology, 83, 327-30.
STOTT, K. G., JOHNSON, D. S. and STINCHCOMBE, G. R. (1981). EffeCt of weed control and
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W. Goodenough and R. K. Atkin, Eds), Academic Press, London, 147-64.
TOPPING, A. J. (1981). A recording laboratory penetrometer for fruit. Journal of Agricultural
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(D. Atkinson, J. E. Jackson, R. O. Sharples and W. M. Waller, Eds), Butterworths, London
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(Accepted 17 January 1983)
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