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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 1228: XI International Symposium on Integrating Canopy, Rootstock and Environmental Physiology in Orchard Systems

Assessing ease of propagation of European pear cultivars and a Pyrus communis rootstock segregating population

Authors:   R.N. Diack, A.P. Friend, M. Knäbel, J.W. Palmer, D.S. Tustin
Keywords:   callus, clonal propagation, hardwood cuttings, root
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1228.37
The availability of Pyrus rootstocks that reduce tree size, enhance precocity and are also easy to propagate is limited. In general, European pears are considered a difficult-to-root species, and this trait is one of the obstacles to developing successful clonal rootstocks for pear fruit production. Identifying a parent which is easy to propagate would be of benefit in a rootstock development programme. Using dormant hardwood cuttings, we compared the propagation success rates of 81 different European pear cultivars, with that of a 303 seedling population from a Pyrus communis ‘Old Home’ × ‘Louise Bonne de Jersey’ cross. There was a little root development among the pear cultivars; 73% of them showed no root development. Rooting success among the remaining 22 cultivars ranged from 6 to 33%. ‘Worden Seckel’ was the cultivar with the highest proportion of rooted cuttings amongst those assessed, while only 10% of the ‘Old Home’ and ‘Louise Bonne de Jersey’ cuttings produced roots. In the mapping population successful root development occurred in 75% of the seedlings; 48 seedlings had a rooting success between 50 and 100%. Despite the difficulty of propagation amongst the majority of pear cultivars evaluated, the higher rates of rooting in the seedling population indicate potential to identify plant material that could be used to incorporate ease of propagation into a rootstock development programme.

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