Screening thermal shock as an apple blossom thinning method. I. stigmatic receptivity, pollen tube growth, and leaf injury in response to temperature and timing of thermal shock

Thomas M. Kon, Melanie A. Schupp, Hans E. Winzeler, James R. Schupp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The use of short-duration applications of thermal energy (thermal shock; TS) as an apple blossom thinning strategy was investigated. Effects of TS temperature and timing on stigmatic receptivity, pollen tube growth in vivo, and visible leaf injury were evaluated in multiple experiments on 'Crimson Gala'. TS treatments were applied to blossoms and spur leaves using a variable temperature heat gun. TS temperatures ≥86 8C had a strong inhibitory effect on pollen tube growth on the stigmatic surface and in the style. TS temperatures >79 8C reduced average pollen tube length to less than the average style length. Timing of TS treatment (0 or 24 hours after pollination) was not an influential factor, indicating that effective TS temperatures reduced pollen tube growth up to 24 hours after the pollination event. The onset of thermal injury to vegetative tissues occurred at similar TS temperatures that inhibited pollen tube growth in vivo. Excessive leaf injury (>33%) was observed at 95 8C, suggesting relatively narrow differences in thermal sensitivity between reproductive and vegetative tissues. Inconsistent TS temperatures and/or responses were observed in some experiments. Ambient air temperature may have influenced heat gun output temperatures and/or plant susceptibility. While results suggest some promise, additional work is required to validate and further develop this concept.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-631
Number of pages7
JournalHortScience
Volume55
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Horticulture

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