Exploring Vegetative Propagation Techniques for the Threatened Pteroceltis tatarinowii Maxim Using Stem Cuttings

in HortScience

Pteroceltis tatarinowii Maxim, the only species of the genus Pteroceltis (family Ulmaceae), is an endemic rare tree species in China. This study was performed to explore vegetative propagation techniques for P. tatarinowii using stem cuttings. First, the effects of exogenous indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) and cutting positions on rooting performance were investigated to screen the appropriate exogenous auxin treatment and to determine the proper cuttings type. The results showed that the control cuttings pretreated with no exogenous IBA, irrespective of whether the stem cuttings were terminal, middle, or basal, rooted in a manner significantly inferior to that of cuttings pretreated with IBA. Their rooting percentage was less than 50%. Among the IBA-treated cuttings, the middle cuttings pretreated with 1000 mg·L−1 IBA rooted best, with the shortest number of days until rooting emergence (20 days), the highest rooting percentage (84.0%), the lowest mortality rate (4.0%), the greatest root number (average of 6.7 per cutting), and the longest roots per cutting (44.4 cm per cutting). Terminal cuttings pretreated with 1000 mg·L−1 IBA acquired satisfactory rooting traits and had the same shortest rooting duration (20 days) and the following parameters: rooting, 70.7%; mortality, 10.7%; average roots per cutting, 5.2; and longest root, 29.1 cm. To further determine the optimum cutting propagation time for this plant, a second experiment was performed and the cuttings were collected beginning in early June, when the growth of the current season was feasible for harvesting cuttings. Stem cuttings collected in late June and middle July had significantly higher rooting percentages (≥80%) compared with those collected in early June (66.7%). The other three rooting parameters were not significantly affected by the collection date. However, according to the overall rooting traits, the cuttings collected in both late June and middle July remarkably outperformed those collected in early June regarding the number of roots and the total root length per cutting. The initial nutrient reserves in the cuttings were also determined. A significant difference in the soluble carbohydrate level was found among collection times, but the nitrogen level in the cuttings was similar. The study revealed that stem cutting propagation of P. tatarinowii was achievable, and it was best achieved with cuttings collected from the terminal and middle positions of the branches of the current season from late June to middle July and treated with 1000 mg·L−1 IBA using the quick dip method.

Contributor Notes

This study was funded by the project of “collection, conservation, and evaluation of forest trees” (2010-6) sponsored by the Department of Science and Technology of Shandong Province, Shandong Provincial Agricultural Elite Varieties Project (2016LZGC038), and Forestry Science & Technology Innovation Project of Shandong Province (LYCX01-2018-03), China.

These authors contributed equally to this work.

Corresponding authors. E-mail: zangdk@sdau.edu.cn or guoxf@sdau.edu.cn.

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    Growth of the branches of P. tatarinowii (A) and cuttings from different positions of the branches (B) during the current season.

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    Morphological changes in P. tatarinowii cuttings and rooting variation when pretreated with different concentrations of IBA: (A) cuttings in the propagation shelters; (B) callus formation on day 5; (C) callus plump enlarged on day 10; (D) adventitious root emerged on day 20; (E) multiple adventitious roots formed on day 25; and (F) rooting response of middle cuttings varied with the IBA concentration on day 60.

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    Effects of IBA concentrations and cutting positions on: (A) rooting percentage; (B) percent mortality; (C) mean root number per cutting; and (D) total root length. Notes: The same letters above the different columns indicate no significant difference at P ≤ 0.05. Error bars represent standard error.

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