Propagation of `Guardian' Peach Rootstock by Rooted Cuttings and Seed

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  • 1 1Dept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR 72701
  • 2 2Dept. of Plant Pathology, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602

`Guardian' peach rootstock has shown improved survivability in areas where root-knot nematode and peach tree short life are a problem. Many peach rootstocks are typically propagated from seed. Availability of seed may vary and the long-term genetic uniformity of rootstock material may be difficult to maintain due to out-crossing during seed production. A reliable, successful vegetative propagation method would potentially increase the rate at which material could be made available and more closely ensure genetic uniformity. Production of liners was compared between rooted cuttings and seed of mature `Guardian', `Lovell', and `Nemaguard' peach trees. Seed were stratified under uniform conditions, planted at initial germination, and seedling emergence recorded 30 days after planting. Terminal softwood and semi-hardwood cutting were treated with KIBA and rooted under intermittent mist in a greenhouse. Rooting percentage was equal to or greater than percent seedling emergence. Optimum results were obtained with semi-hardwood cuttings taken in July and August. Rooted cuttings transplanted to the field produced liners of equal or greater quality than liners produced from seed. Seedlings exhibited variability in growth in the nursery area. Rooted cuttings had fewer lateral branches in the lower 15 cm of rootstock where trees were T-budded with certified, virus-indexed buds of `Cresthaven' peach.

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