|Authors: ||F. El Omar, S.M. AlTurki, Z. Sebaaly, S. Younes, S. Chalhoub, T.K. Sajyan, Y.N. Sassine|
|Keywords: ||South Lebanon, annona, self-grafting, cross-grafting, growth, production|
Annona fruit is grown as an alternative to local fruits in the coastal zone of South Lebanon.
This cultivation has been expanding due to increasing local demand.
The study investigated the growth and production of three combinations of genotype formed by self- or cross-grafting of sugar apple (Annona squamosa L.) (Sq) and cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill.) (Ch): Sq/Sq, Ch/Ch and Sq/Ch.
Results showed that cross-grafting allowed superiority in all measured parameters with the exception of root ramification and internodal length.
In general, it enhanced root growth by increasing the number of primary roots by 7.3 and 20.7% compared to Ch/Ch and Sq/Sq respectively.
The diameter of the main root was the highest in Sq/Ch (5.92 cm) compared to Ch/Ch (5.14 cm) and Sq/Sq (3.23 cm). Cross-grafting showed also an improvement in plant height by 5.19 and 30%, in number of lateral shoots by 7.1 and 33.3%, in leaf number by 20.2 and 25%, in leaf area by 34.1 and 46%, in trunk diameter by 28.1 and 46%, in flower number by 75.3 and 37% and in fruit yield by 96.6 and 60.4% compared to Ch/Ch and Sq/Sq respectively for all parameters.
Moreover, dry matter accumulation in plant leaves, shoots and roots was the best in Sq/Ch.
Not only cross-grafting has enhanced the vegetative growth but it did also affect positively fruit quality by increasing pulp percentage.
Therefore, combining sugar apple scion and cherimoya rootstock allowed a better adaptation to soil and climate conditions of South Lebanon inducing amelioration in productivity and an increase in farmers' returns from this type of cultivation.
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