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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 903: IX International Symposium on Integrating Canopy, Rootstock and Environmental Physiology in Orchard Systems

PROGRESS IN DEVELOPING ARMILLARIA RESISTANT ROOTSTOCKS FOR USE WITH PEACH

Author:   T.G. Beckman
Keywords:   Prunus persica, Armillaria tabescens, breeding
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.903.26
Abstract:
GuardianTM (BY520-9) peach seedling rootstock was released in 1993 to provide a rootstock with superior resistance to peach tree short life (PTSL) which at the time was the number one cause of premature death of peach (Prunus persica L. [Batsch]) trees in the southeastern US. Since that time Guardian has become the dominant rootstock in this production area principally due to its exceptional resistance to PTSL. However, Guardian, like most peach seedling rootstocks, is highly susceptible to Armillaria Root Rot (ARR). Since Guardian’s release ARR has replaced PTSL as the leading cause of tree death in the southeastern US. Accordingly, the rootstock development program at Byron, Georgia, USA has shifted its focus to the development of peach, plum and plum-peach interspecific hybrid materials with resistance to ARR, incited principally by Armillaria tabescens in this production area. In 2007, the USDA, in cooperation with the Univ. of Florida, released Sharpe rootstock for grower trial on Armillaria infested sites. Sharpe is a clonal plum hybrid rootstock with resistance to PTSL, ARR and root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). Sharpe is semi-dwarf, producing trees ca. 60% the size of those budded on Guardian. A number of plum hybrid, and plum x peach interspecific hybrids are nearing release in the Byron program that provide not only superior resistance to PTSL, ARR and root-knot nematodes but also offer a range of vigor from 60 to 105% that of seedling peach rootstocks and have comparable, if not superior, horticultural productivity.
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