Growth and Performance of Four Summer-ripening Disease-resistant Apple Cultivars on M.27 EMLA, M.26 EMLA, and Mark Rootstocks

in HortScience
Authors: J.R. Schupp1 and S.I. Koller1
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  • 1 Highmoor Farm, Univ. of Maine, Monmouth, ME 04259

The growth, productivity, and fruit characteristics of four summer-ripening disease-resistant apple cultivars, (DRCs), `NY 66305-139', `Williams' Pride', `Redfree', and `Dayton' on M.26 EMLA, M.27 EMLA, or Mark rootstocks were compared. `NY 66305-139' was the earliest-ripening cultivar, with the smallest tree size, lowest yield, and the smallest, softest fruit. `Williams' Pride' trees were large, productive, and produced large fruit with the highest red skin color in this trial. The loss of marketable yield of this cultivar, due to moldy core and bitter pit in 1996, raise concerns about its commercial potential. `Redfree' trees were intermediate among the four cultivars in vigor and precocity, and produced high yields of medium-sized fruit. `Dayton' trees were large, high-yielding, and produced the largest, firmest, sweetest fruit; however, the ripening date for `Dayton' was 10 Sept., late for a summer cultivar. Mark and M.26 EMLA produced similarsized trees, while M.27 EMLA produced very small trees. A significant cultivar × rootstock interaction resulted from `Dayton' trees being larger than `Williams' Pride' when both were on M.26, while both cultivars produced similar-sized trees on M.27 or Mark. Of the four cultivars in this trial, we consider `Redfree' to be the best summer DRC for commercial orchards, based upon ripening date, yield, and fruit quality. Mark rootstock was preferable to M.26 or M.27 for the cultivars in this trial, with the best tree growth and precocity.

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