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Two-year old plants of ‘Glen Moy’, ‘Glen Ample’ and ‘Glen Lyon’ (as described in Experiment 4) were utilised in this experiment. Sixty plants of each cultivar were chosen at random and colour-coded with tags to differentiate between the defoliation dates (red used to signify no defoliation treatment, blue used to signify defoliation treatment 8 weeks in advance, yellow to signify 6 weeks in advance and green for 2 weeks in advance) were placed around each plant.
Twenty plants of each cultivar were defoliated by hand on either 8 weeks before the natural defoliation date, 6 weeks before or 2 week before. Care had to be taken during this process to ensure that buds were not removed accidentally. A further 20 plants of each cultivar were left to allow leaf senescence to occur naturally and by 18 November 2003 leaf abscission was complete.
On 22 December 2003, fifteen plants of 'Glen Moy', fifteen of 'Glen Ample' and fifteen of 'Glen Lyon' from each defoliation treatment were placed in a cold store set at 4.11°C. Previous research has reported desiccation damage when similar protocols were used, therefore to prevent similar damage occurring the pots were securely wrapped in black plastic. Control plants were randomly placed in the glasshouse (as described in Experiment 4) set at 17.1°C.
Five plants of each cultivar from each defoliation treatment were removed after receiving 2, 6 or 10 weeks of chilling and were randomly placed in the glasshouse. Using random number tables, one cultivar from each treatment was randomly placed in each of the five glasshouse blocks when removed from the cold stores.
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