ROOTSTOCK AFFECTS TREE GROWTH AND PRUNING REQUIREMENT

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  • 1 Department of Horticulture and Forestry, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701

As part of the NC-140 rootstock evaluation trials, `Starkspur Supreme Delicious' on 18 rootstocks planted in 1984 were evaluated for growth and pruning requirement. After 9 seasons, trees on the P.22 produced the smallest trees, 1.1 m width and 1.7 m height. The stocks P.16, P.2 and Bud.9 produced trees 2.0-2.2 m wide and 2.1-2.6 m tall. Trees on MAC.39, C.6, MAC 1, M.26 EMLA P.1, BUD.490, M.7 EMLA, CG.24, and domestic seedling were 2.9-3.4 m wide and 3.7-4.3 m tall. The largest trees were on P.18 and M.4; 3.6 m wide and 4.2 m tall. Dormant pruning time in two seasons significantly increased at an exponential rate with increasing tree width and height. An asymptote for maximum pruning time had an x-axis intersection at approximately 2.7 m tree height. Pruning time per tree significantly increased in a linear manner with increasing trunk cross section. When pruning time was calculated on a per hectare basis, trees planted at 1460 to 2000 trees/ha required less pruning time than when planted at ≤ 750 tr/ha or ≥ 4000 tr/ha. Trees on P.16, P.2, Bud.9 and C.6 required the least pruning per unit of fruit production.

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