Creating a Short Life Site for Prunus Rootstock Evaluation on Land with No Innate Mesocriconema xenoplax Population

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  • 1 USDA-ARS, Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Laboratory, 21 Dunbar Road, Byron, GA 31008

Peach tree short life (PTSL) is associated with the presence of ring nematode, Mesocriconema xenoplax, and poor orchard management practices. Finding a noncommercial field site to evaluate rootstocks for PTSL resistance is increasingly difficult. The time needed to create a PTSL test site was investigated. In 1994, a site not planted in peaches for >80 years was identified in Byron, Ga. Analysis of preplant soil samples revealed that there were no M. xenoplax on the site. One-third of the land was planted to peach and infested with 1600 ring nematodes per tree in Spring 1994 (P2) and another one-third in Spring 1995 (P1). The remaining one-third of the land received no trees or ring nematode and served as the control (F2). In Fall 1995, trees were removed from P1 and P2 plots and all treatments were replanted to peach in 1996. In 1997, tree death resulting from PTSL occurred only in P2 (7%). By 2000, PTSL tree death reached 41% in P2, 16% in P1, and 4% in F2 plots. Nematode populations were higher (P < 0.05) in P1 (649 ring nematode/100 cm3 soil) than in F2 (221 ring nematode/100 cm3 soil) plots, whereas populations in P2 (300 ring nematode/100 cm3 soil) plots did not differ from those in P1 or F2 plots. Establishing a PTSL screening site was possible 3 years after M. xenoplax introduction; PTSL development among treatments in the subsequent planting was dependent upon cumulative population exposure of trees to M. xenoplax.

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