USE OF METAMITRON AS AN APPLE THINNER
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of metamitron or metamitron plus benzyladenine as a post-bloom thinner on ‘Baronesa’ and ‘Fuji’ apples. Three experiments (rate, timing and BA combination) were conducted during two crop seasons, 2013/14 and 2014/15 at the experimental station located in Caçador, SC. Fruit set, fruit drop, yield per tree, fruit size and flowering return were assessed. The efficacy of metamitron was affected by time of application, and when applied at petal fall, promoted the proper adjustment of the production load of plants. Yield per plant reduces, whereas the allocation of fruits in categories of greater size increases proportionally to the increase in the metamitron concentration applied. However, there is excessive fruit drop with the use of high concentrations. The addition of BA to metamitron also promoted fruit drop; however, no difference was observed between single application of metamitron and BA addition. Metamitron shows great potential to be used as thinner for apples, since it reduces the number of fruits per tree.