A study was initiated in 1994 to evaluate the performance of the recently released peach rootstock Guardian TM (BY-5209-9), compared to Lovell, the commercial standard in North Carolina. `Redhaven' was the scion for both rootstocks. Guardian&™ is reported to be tolerant to root-knot nematodes and not affected by ring nematodes, which contribute to the incidence of peach tree short life (PTSL). The site of this study has a history of poor peach tree survival. Six-year-old trees were removed because of tree mortality from PTSL in Spring 1993. After tree removal, one-half of each existing row was pre-plant fumigated and trees were replanted over the rows of the previous orchard in Feb. 1994. In Spring 1996, tree mortality for the trees planted on Lovell was 30%, compared to 10% for the trees planted on GuardianTM. Trunk cross-sectional area for trees grown in the fumigated soil was approximately double that of trees grown in the unfumigated soil for both GuardianTM and Lovell. The 1996 fruit crop was eliminated from frost/freeze conditions and 1997 yields will be discussed. In Fall 1996, one-half of the trees were treated with a post-plant nematicide to determine if such treatments are necessary or beneficial with the GuardianTM rootstock.
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