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Fruit load restricts the flowering promotion effect of paclobutrazol in alternate bearing Citrus spp.

Martínez-Fuentes, A., Mesejo, C., Muñoz-Fambuena, N., Reig, C., González-Mas, M.C., Iglesias, D.J., Primo-Millo, E., Agustí, M.
Scientia horticulturae 2013 v.151 pp. 122-127
Citrus, alternate bearing, buds, canopy, clementines, flowering, fruit trees, fruits, inflorescences, oranges, paclobutrazol, shoots, soil treatment, spraying
The floral bud inductive period, PBZ promotes flowering in Citrus; however, our results indicate that this effect is fruit-load dependant. In ‘Salustiana’ and ‘Navelina’ sweet oranges, ‘Hernandina’ Clementine mandarin, and ‘Afourer’ and ‘Moncada’ hybrids, flowering intensity significantly increased the following spring for medium-to-low fruit-load trees treated with either 1–10g PBZ tree−1 applied to the soil or 15g tree−1 sprayed on the canopy. PBZ significantly increased the percentage of sprouted buds and leafless floral shoots (both single-flowered shoots and inflorescences) and reduced the number of vegetative shoots. By contrast, heavy fruit load trees receiving the same amount of PBZ in the same season or at floral bud differentiation period scarcely flowered. Fruit nullified the effect of PBZ irrespective to treatment date (inductive period or bud burst) as well as the dose applied (1, 10 or 15g tree−1) or the treatment method (soil application or canopy spraying). In conclusion, the effectiveness of PBZ in promoting flowering in Citrus depends on the fruit load since the tree showed a cultivar-dependant threshold value above which PBZ is unable to promote flowering.