`Jonagold'/Mark apple (Malus domestica Borkh.) trees that were chip-budded in Washington and Illinois on 31 Aug. or 21 Sept. 1989 were sampled in Apr. 1990 to determine if magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) could be used to nondestructively examine vascular continuity or discontinuity between the rootstock and scion. Images could be placed into three categories based on signal intensity: 1) the rootstock, bud shield, and the bud or new scion growth had a high signal intensity; 2) the rootstock and the bud shield had a high signal intensity, but the scion had a low signal intensity; and 3) the rootstock had a high signal intensity, but the bud shield and scion had a low signal intensity. High signal intensity was associated with bound water in live tissue and the establishment of vascular continuity between the rootstock and scion. Azosulfamide staining and destructive sectioning confirmed that vascular continuity was established when the rootstock, bud shield, and scion had a high signal intensity in images, whereas budding failure occurred when the bud shield and/or the scion had a low signal intensity. Additional trees that had wilted or weak scion growth were collected from Illinois in June 1990. Parenchyma tissue was found in the scion adjacent to the bud shield that interrupted the vascular tissue. Poor scion growth on trees from the 21 Sept. budding in Washington may be attributed to insufficient growth of rootstock and/or scion tissues at the union in the fall.
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