Ethrel speeds growth and maturity of figs
Exposure of plants to ethylene gas has brought about various responses, including flower induction, change in direction of growth, accelerated fruit ripening, leaf and fruit abscission, and hastened seed germination. Research in 1967 revealed that fig fruits were stimulated to grow rapidly and mature early when exposed to an atmosphere containing 5 ppm of ethylene. The cost and inconvenience of confining a gas such as ethylene to fig trees makes impractical its application to induce early fruit maturity. On the other hand, application of a spray that produces effects similar to those of ethylene would be of great value to the fig grower. When applied as a water spray, the proprietary compound Ethrel (2-chloroethylphosphonic acid) penetrates the leaves and other plant organs and then decomposes to form ethylene, chloride, and phosphate. The results of experimentation during 1968 and 1969, described in this report, show clearly that the effects of Ethrel on fig fruit growth and maturation are like those of ethylene.