FRUIT SETTING, DEVELOPMENT AND RIPENING

B.G. Coombe
The successful production of fruit involves a complicated sequence of biological, horticultural and entrepreneurial events. The post-anthesis setting stage is especially sensitive and its delicately poised components are poorly understood, especially the failure-to-set of fruits which have successfully fertilized ovules. Environmental factors such as temperature and water stress are of particular significance during setting and again during early fruit development. Understanding of this significance has led to the opportunity to increase production while reducing water application during the fruit slow-growth phase (RDI) of peaches and pears.

The study of inter-organ growth correlations and the roles of hormones is still hampered by clumsy methods and lack of understanding of mechanisms of action. Micro-analysis of tissues and cells, the study of physical and chemical development of single fruits in situ, and the unearthing of mechanisms of solute transport look promising new areas of research. The increasing incidence of physiological necroses is a cause for concern.

The application of plant growth substances to aid setting, fruit size and/or ripening has attracted an immense amount of work with some spectacular successes. Most have originated from empirical testing but a few derive from findings in basic studies. There is little evidence yet of a lessening in the flow of this work even though there is a developing antagonism to the use of agricultural chemicals on food plants.

Harvesting is in need of greater precision in the sampling and forecasting of crops and of finding better harvest indices and solving the problems created by a-synchronous fruit development. The mechanics of harvesting continue to attract attention by the tailoring of new mechanical aids and the designing of plants, genetically and culturally.

Coombe, B.G. (1989). FRUIT SETTING, DEVELOPMENT AND RIPENING. Acta Hortic. 240, 209-216
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.240.39
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1989.240.39

Acta Horticulturae