424 A Comparison of Techniques Used for Determining Freezing Injury on Two Apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) Cultivars: Liberty and RedMax

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Hardiness testing of the wood of deciduous fruit trees has been conducted using a variety of techniques. In our studies, the objective was to determine an efficient method of determining freezing injury for apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) wood. We tested 1-year old wood of two cultivars: Liberty and RedMax. The wood was tested over the course of 2 years (1998 and 1999). Collection began in the late fall and continued throughout the winter (until it was determined full hardiness had been achieved) and then again in the early spring. The wood was cut into 1-cm sections and frozen. The artificial freezing was conducted in an ethanol bath, with the temperature lowered at 5 °C/h. Samples were removed in 3-min intervals. After freezing, the wood was acclimated to 4 °C for 12 h. Three tests were conducted to determine the hardiness/injury to the tissues. The tests used were: discoloration, callus growth and vital staining (with 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride). This was a split block design with samples collected randomly from each tree. Four replicates (12 trees) of each cultivar were tested. Results showed that the callus test predicted the same LT50 as the other two tests, discoloration and vital staining. Discoloration was not easy to differentiate and was the most time-consuming. The callus grown by the apple wood was easily formed and distinguished. The callus test does not require the tetrazolium stain; therefore, one less step was needed in comparison to the vital staining test. This reduced testing time by over 6 h.

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