Comparative Vegetative Growth Responses of Two Peach Cultivars Grown on Size-controlling versus Standard Rootstocks

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Vegetative growth of two peach (Prunus persica L. Batsch) cultivars Flavorcrest and Loadel growing on six different rootstocks (`Nemaguard', `Hiawatha', K-146-43, K-146-44, P-30-135, and K-119-50) was analyzed during the third season of growth in an experimental orchard at the University of California Kearney Agricultural Center near Parlier, California. Seasonal trunk cross-sectional area, shoot and internode growth, diurnal stem extension growth rate and summer and dormant pruning weights were measured to determine extent of size-control imparted by the experimental rootstocks compared to the trees on the `Nemaguard' control and to characterize the nature of the sizecontrolling response. Trunk cross-sectional area growth of trees on the two smallest rootstocks (K-146-43 and K-146-44) was only 25% to 37% of the growth of trees on `Nemaguard', while trees on the other three rootstocks provided an intermediate level of size control. Generally, the seasonal patterns of shoot growth did not vary substantially among trees on the different rootstocks, but average shoot and internode lengths did correspond with tree size. Vigorous watersprout growth was decreased by more than 80% in the trees on the least vigorous rootstocks compared to trees on `Nemaguard' resulting in major reductions in the extent of summer and winter pruning weights. Variations in vegetative shoot growth appeared to correspond to variations in daily shoot extension growth rates but more research is needed to explore these relationships.

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