Repeated applications of cppu on highbush blueberry cv. Duke increase yield and enhance fruit quality at harvest and during postharvest
Applications of N-(2-chloro-4-pyridyl)-N'-phenylurea (CPPU) can increase blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) yield and fruit size, but their impact on postharvest is unknown. We studied repeated CPPU applications effects on yield and quality (harvest, postharvest), over 2 yr on mature 'Duke' plants in South-Central Chile. The first year, 5 or 10 mL L-1 CPPU was applied at 3, 10, and/or 17 d after full bloom (DAFB) plus a non-sprayed control. The second year, 5 or 10 mL L-1 CPPU were sprayed 10 and 17 DAFB plus a control. The first year, only 10 mL L-1 CPPU sprayed 3+17 DAFB increased yield (32.5% > control); 10 mL L-1 CPPU applied 10 or 3+17 DAFB had highest fruit diameter; and 10 mL L-1 CPPU at 17 DAFB or at 3+10+17 DAFB had highest soluble solids. Overall, 10 mL L-1 CPPU applied 3+17 DAFB, was the best treatment for year one, since it increased fruit yield and diameter, while soluble solids and postharvest weight loss were similar to control. The second year, 10 mL L-1 CPPU reduced fruit coloration (blue color coverage index: BCCI) and soluble solids, but not firmness at harvest. This rate increased berry weight (24.2%) and fruit wax (59% > wax coverage index: WCI) at harvest. Harvest and postharvest WCI increased consistently as CPPU rate increased. CPPU reduced fruit rotting (15% at 45+5 evaluation). During storage, CPPU-treated-fruit had a slower decrease in firmness (30.5% < control at 30+1), but no difference at 30+5. CPPU-treated-fruit usually had higher post harvest soluble solids. Ten mL L-1 CPPU retarded color evolution at harvest and at 30+1, but not at 30+5, 40+1 or 40+5.