‘Honeycrisp’ apple trees are highly prone to biennial bearing and predisposed to bitter pit. The hypothesis that tank mix sprays of ethephon (ETH), naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), and 1-aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid (ACC) combined with calcium chloride (CaCl2) can mitigate these production problems was tested in a 3-yr study. Mature ‘Honeycrisp’ trees were treated with either three or six summer applications of 150 mg L-1 ETH or 5 mg L-1 NAA, all tank-mixed with and without CaCl2, or two or five applications of 150 mg L-1 ACC (without CaCl2). Treatments were applied at 10-d intervals and initiated between 21 and 26 June. All treatments had little effect on enhancing return bloom of ‘Honeycrisp’. NAA, ETH, and CaCl2 all influenced fruit maturity and quality at harvest to varying degrees and across years. Fruit treated with NAA were firmer compared with untreated fruit in 2 out of 3 yr, whereas overall, fruit treated with six sprays of ETH had lower fruit firmness and were more mature. NAA had less influence on fruit quality attributes at harvest than did ETH, and decreased pre-harvest fruit drop (PFD). PFD increased with ETH in 1 out of 2 yr, whereas ACC and NAA both decreased PFD in 1 out of 2 yr. Overall, ETH and NAA, with or without CaCl2, had significant but inconsistent effects on fruit quality and maturity, all dependent on the year and number of applications. Adding CaCl2 decreased fruit firmness in 2 out of 3 yr.
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