Grafting Fraser Fir onto Rootstocks of Selected Abies Species

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, Box 7609, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-7609
  • | 2 Department of Forestry, North Carolina State University, Box 8002, Raleigh, NC 27695-8002

Orthotropic shoots (tips of primary axes) from 3-year-old Fraser fir seedlings [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] were grafted onto rootstocks of Fraser fir, Korean fir (A. koreana Wils.), momi fir (A. firma Sieb. & Zucc.), Nordmann fir (A. nordmanniana (Steven) Spach.), Turkish fir (A. bornmuelleriana Mattf.), and West Virginia balsam fir from Canaan Valley (Canaan fir) [A. balsamea (L.) Mill. var. phanerolepis Fern.]. Firstyear survival in the greenhouse was 92% to 98% except for momi fir (83%). The percentage of grafted plants with orthotropic shoots was 92% to 98%, except for Korean (81%) and momi fir (86%). Plants were subsequently established in replicated field experiments on three sites in the piedmont and mountains of North Carolina. In general, leader elongation of grafted Fraser fir scions was greater than leader growth on nongrafted transplants, including Fraser fir. Differences in survival appear to reflect interspecific variation in resistance to phytophthora root rot and/or tolerance of warm environments. Grafting may offer the potential to grow Abies Christmas trees on previously unsuitable sites, or to reclaim or continue using sites already seriously impacted by root rot.

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