Avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is one of the most salt-sensitive crops and one of the highest value crops per acre. In the United States, avocados are grown primarily in California, in regions experiencing both scarcity of freshwater and salinization of available water supplies. Thus, our objectives were to evaluate avocado rootstocks for salt tolerance and evaluate the relationship between leaf ion concentrations, trunk diameter, leaf burn, and fruit yield. Our field experiment evaluated the salt tolerance of the Hass scion grafted onto 13 different avocado rootstocks using the Brokaw clonal rootstock technique. The experiment consisted of 156 trees arranged in a randomized complete block design with six replications of each saline [electrical conductivity (EC) = 1.5 dS·m–1, Cl– = 4.94 mmol·L–1] and nonsaline (EC= 0.65 dS·m–1, Cl– = 0.73 mmol·L–1) irrigation water treatment. We collected soil samples and leaves, then analyzed them for major ions. The rootstocks R0.06, R0.07, PP14, and R0.17, which had high concentrations of Cl and Na in the leaves, were the least salt tolerant, with 100% mortality in the rows irrigated with saline water for 23 months. The rootstocks R0.05, PP40, R0.18, and Dusa, which had low concentrations of Cl ions in the fully expanded leaves, were least affected by salinity, and these rootstocks exhibited the greatest yields, largest trunk diameters, and greatest survival percentages in the saline treatment. Yield and growth parameters correlated well with leaf Cl concentration, but not Na, indicating that salt damage in avocado is primarily a result of Cl ion toxicity. Under arid inland environments, no variety performed satisfactorily when irrigated with an EC = 1.5 dS·m–1 water (Cl– = 4.94 mmol·L–1). However, the more tolerant varieties survived at soil salinity levels that would apparently be fatal to varieties reported earlier in the literature.
We thank the California Avocado Commission and Agricultural Experiment Station for funding this project.
We acknowledge Westfalia Technological Services (WTS) for granting us testing rights to their propriety rootstock selections and Brokaw Nursery for providing us with the WTS test trees.
Mention of trade names or commercial products in this publication is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not imply recommendation or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
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Menge,J.A.Douhan,G.W.McKee,B.Pond,E.Bender,G.S.Faber,B.2012Three new avocado rootstock cultivars tolerant to Phytophthora root rot: ‘Zentmyer’, ‘Uzi’, and ‘Steddom’4711911194)| false