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Benefits of LuStar on Stonefruit

Studies over many years demonstrating that appropriate use of paclobutrazol can deliver significant benefits particularly to low-chill stone fruit farmers.
Farmers costs continue to rise and reliable and skilled workers are in short supply. The use of LuStar as a highly effective method of canopy control has been demonstrated on farms in various international markets. In areas where tree growth is particularly vigorous reductions in tree size of as much as 60% have been reliably experienced[i]. In some cases growers opt for a split foliar application if growth is very vigorous and prolonged[ii]. As an additional benefit this has also been successful in increasing the fruit size and flesh to seed ratio[iii].

Undoubtedly in high labour cost countries, the significant reduction in pruning, thinning and harvesting costs is a major factor in a grower’s decision to apply. This is particularly significant in subtropical conditions where the growth rates of low-chill fruit species can be very high.

In those locations where early fruit maturity delivers a significant commercial advantage paclobutrazol has been applied to good effect by advancing fruit maturity by around 14 days[i]. Additional benefits are an increased brix level and improved fruit colouring[ii] with this technique. Most trials of this have shown a significantly greater percentage of floral bud break earlier than from untreated control trees[i]. LuStar’s broad spectrum of action makes it ideal for use in conjunction with other treatments to terminate dormancy and bring forward harvest[i].

LuStar is a highly specific and cost effective tool for farmers when applied accurately and at the appropriate time. Results over the last 3 years have shown that paclobutrazol needs careful application as overdosing can cause too much compaction. We are finding that 3 to 4 year old trees need small doses of LuStar of between 2 and 4 mls per tree diluted with water and applied by collar drench.

Trees need replenishing after the use of LuStar at the end of the harvest and we recommend a soil & leaf analysis to assist in determining what nutrition needs to go back into the tree for the following season.