Thinning strategies for 'Elstar' apples - Experiences with ammonium thiosulphate, calcium hydroxide and benzyladenine

F.M. Maas

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)


    `Elstar¿, the most widely grown apple variety in the Netherlands, requires adequate fruit thinning to obtain regular bearing and the commercially desired fruit size and fruit quality. During several years studies have been carried out to look for alternative thinning methods to replace carbaryl, an insectide which also induced thinning when applied to young fruitlets, but that is no longer registered in the Netherlands. During recent years research on apple thinning has focused on the use of ammonium thiosulphate (ATS) as a flower thinner combined with 6-benzyladenine (BA) as a fruitlet thinner. This paper reports on a trial in which the fruit thinning efficacy of this combined treatment with ATS and that of BA on its own were evaluated. In addition, the use of slaked lime (Ca(OH)2) to cover the leaves and reduce leaf photosynthesis at three different times during fruitlet development was tested, alone or in combination with an application of BA. The best chemical thinning treatment of this trial was the combination of 3 applications of ATS during flowering followed by BA at a fruit size of 13.8¿mm. This treatment gave 82% of the thinning necessary to obtain the target fruit load. This treatment also effectively improved fruit size distributions, fruit colour and internal fruit quality. Slaked lime did not thin `Elstar¿ effectively, most probably because it did not cause sufficient reduction of light interception by the canopy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-105
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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