SITE EFFECTS ON SUSCEPTIBILITY OF ASIAN PEARS TO FIRE BLIGHT

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40546

Kentucky is one of seven states in the southeast evaluating 13 Asian pear cultivars for suitability to the region. The cultivars were planted on a (20′ × 10′) spacing in 1989 at three separate locations. Data on time of bloom, tree growth, fire blight susceptibility and fruit quality and yield were collected. This study demonstrates the variability seen in Asian pear cultivars in response to site. There was a significant site by cultivar interaction for fire blight. The Princeton site had significantly more fire blight than either Lexington or Quicksand. Four cultivars, Niitaka, Shin Li, Shinko and Shinseiki had low fire blight ratings which were not significantly different between the three sites. Asian pear growth rates were significantly different between the three sites, but cultivar growth rates were not. Tree growth rate showed a significant negative correlation to fire blight rating. That is infected trees did not grow much. Initial findings show Shinko, Shinseiki and Niitaka to have some tolerance to fire blight spread and to produce good yields of attractive fruit. However, Niitaka had a very tough skin with a tendency towards fruit cracking. The cultivar Shin Li which also had fire blight tolerance did not produce fruit or flowers.

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