Graft compatibility was investigated for 15 Chinese chestnut (Castanea mollissima Bl.) cultivars, nine American chestnut [C. dentata (Marsh.) Borkh.] selections, six Japanese chestnut (C. crenata Sieb.) cultivars, and two putative Japanese hybrids on two known rootstocks of Chinese chestnut. Intraspecific grafting of Chinese chestnut resulted in 80% success after two growing seasons. An unusual anatomical structure of the chestnut stem had a significant effect on graft success. The phloem fiber bundles related to graft failure are described in the study. Interspecific grafts of seven American and five Japanese chestnut selections resulted in ≥70% success. The putative Japanese hybrids had a significantly lower success rate (<50%) regardless of rootstocks. A marked graft incompatibility was found in one Japanese/Chinese and two American/Chinese combinations. Graft incompatibility related to morphological abnormalities at the graft union was also observed in interspecific grafts. Comparisons of cambial isoperoxidase isozymes between successful and unsuccessful grafts did not support the hypothesis that peroxidase isozymes are indicators of rootstock-scion compatibility. The results suggest that genetic incompatibility is not a major cause of graft failure in Chinese chestnut.
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