Peach tree short life (PTSL) is a serious peach tree disease syndrome on replant orchard sites in the Southeast. Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae is a bacterial disease often associated with tree injury and death on these PTSL sites. Rootstocks that have better tolerance to ring nematodes such as Lovell have less PTSL death. Tissue-cultured peach embryos and/or explants have shown increased resistance to Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni, another bacterial peach pathogen, in laboratory and greenhouse screenings. Tissue-cultured `Redhaven' (RH), `Redskin' (RS), and `Sunhigh' (SH) peach cultivars on their own roots were planted with SH seedlings and RH and RS budded to Lovell rootstock on a severe PTSL site in South Carolina. Treatments beside cultivar/rootstock combination included preplant fumigation vs. nonfumigation. PTSL appeared in the third year and by year 4 significant tree death occurred. Tissue-cultured RH, RS, and SH trees had 54%, 55%, and 88% PTSL death, respectively, compared to RH (17%) and RS (29%) on Lovell or the SH seedlings (25%). Fumigation significantly decreased PTSL in both RS combinations but not RH. These data suggest that the tolerance of the cultivar root system to PTSL-inducing factors such as ring nematodes was more important in PTSL than scion resistance to bacteria.
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