(263) Rodent Preference for Pear Germplasm

in HortScience

Fall-dug nursery trees stored in a jacketed cold storage were damaged by rodent feeding over Winter 2004–05. Damage was primarily confined to the lower trunk region of the scion cultivar, with very little feeding damage to the Bartlett seedling rootstocks. Damage ranged from slight nibbling of some buds to complete girdling and bark removal of considerable length of the trunk. Position of the tree bundle in the storage appeared to have no effect on severity of damage. An arbitrary 7-point scale was used to rate the incidence and severity of damage on 22 cultivars. The least damaged cultivars were Moonglow, Giffard, and Butirra Precoce Morettini, while Thornless Seckel, Conference, and AC Harrow Gold showed the most severe damage. In late Spring 2005, all trees were replanted back into a nursery row to allow trees to recovery rates. However, only trees with damage ratings in the slight to moderate range showed signs of recovery during the 2005 growing season.

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