Early Performance of Four Apple Cultivars on Mark and M.26 Rootstocks

in HortScience
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  • 1 Univ. of Maine, Monmouth, ME 04259.

To evaluate the interactions between cultivar and rootstock, four apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) cultivars, `Pioneer Mac', `Marshall McIntosh', `Ginger Gold', and `Empire' on two rootstocks, M.26 and Mark, were planted in a split-plot design. After 5 years, `Pioneer Mac' and `Ginger Gold' had larger trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) on M.26 than on Mark. `Marshall McIntosh' and `Empire' had larger TCSA on Mark than on M.26. Precocity, expressed as both number of flower clusters and yield, was greater for trees on Mark for all cultivars except `Ginger Gold', which had greater flower cluster numbers and yield on M.26. Fruit size was variable from year to year, depending on crop load; however, `Pioneer Mac' and `Ginger Gold' usually produced the largest fruit, while `Empire' consistently produced the smallest fruit—'Ginger Gold' appears to be incompatible on Mark. The results of this study demonstrate that cultivar × rootstock interactions can be significant and need to be considered when rootstock and planting density recommendations are made.

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