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W.R. Okie, G.L. Reighard, T.G. Beckman, A.P. Nyczepir, C.C. Reilly, E.I. Zehr, W.C. Newall Jr., and D.W. Cain

Long-term field trials of a wide range of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] germplasm on two peach tree short-life (PTSL) sites revealed marked differences in survival among lines. Generally, cuttings and seedlings of a given line performed similarly, as did ungrafted seedlings and their counterparts grafted to a commercial cultivar. No apparent relationship existed between a line's chilling requirement and survival. B594520-9 survived best in Georgia and South Carolina, providing significantly greater longevity than Lovell, the standard rootstock for use on PTSL sites. B594520-9 is derived from root-knot-nematode-resistant parentage, and progeny of surviving seedlings have demonstrated root-knot resistance similar to Nemaguard seedlings.

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A.P. Nyczepir, W.R. Okie, and T.G. Beckman

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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T.G. Beckman and P.L. Pusey

Armillaria root rot is the second leading cause of peach tree mortality (after peach tree short life) in the southeastern United States. Currently, there are no commercially available rootstocks for peach with proven resistance to this pathogen in the United States. Since 1983, we have been screening rootstock candidates for resistance to Armillaria utilizing naturally infected field sites. Inoculation of peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch], plum (P. cerasifera J.F. Ehrh., P. munsoniana F.W. Wight & Hedr., P. salicina Lindl. or P. angustifolia Marsh.) × peach and plum × plum hybrid rootstocks with infected plant tissue (such as acorns, Quercus sp.) prior to planting has provided a significantly increased infection and mortality of candidate rootstock lines in comparison with sole reliance on natural inoculum on an infested site.

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Thomas G. Beckman, Jose X. Chaparro, and Wayne B. Sherman

’ rootstock displayed significantly better resistance to ARR than did trees on ‘Guardian’ or ‘Sharpe’ rootstocks. Trees on ‘MP-29’ displayed resistance to peach tree short life (PTSL) comparable to that of trees budded onto ‘Guardian’ peach seedling rootstock

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Thomas G. Beckman, Jose X. Chaparro, and Wayne B. Sherman

’ rootstock display resistance to peach tree short life (PTSL) comparable to that of trees budded onto Guardian peach seedling rootstock. ‘Sharpe’ also appears to provide a marked reduction in tree vigor compared with peach seedling-type rootstocks and may

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Andrew P. Nyczepir, Alexis K. Nagel, and Guido Schnabel

death are a disease complex known as peach tree short life (PTSL) and Armillaria root rot ( Miller, 1994 ; Savage and Cowart, 1942 ). Peach tree short life is reportedly caused by a predisposition of trees to cold injury, bacterial canker ( Pseudomonas

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Renee M. Harber, Andrew P. Nyczepir, Umedi L. Yadava, and Ronald R. Sharpe

The effects of rootstock, pruning, and preplant soil fumigation on floral bud dormancy status and shoot cold hardiness of `Redhaven' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] trees were monitored. Dormancy status, expressed as percent floral budbreak, was significantly affected by rootstock and pruning, although differences were small. In late January, significant interactions occurred between rootstock and pruning treatments, as well as between pruning and soil treatments. Pruning of trees on Lovell rootstock resulted in significantly lower budbreak as compared to trees on Nemaguard and unpruned trees on Lovell. Also, for trees pruned in December, higher budbreak was associated with those growing in fumigated vs. nonfumigated soil. Treatment effects on dormancy status did not correspond with treatment effects on hardiness. In fact, differences in hardiness were minimal and probably not biologically meaningful.

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W.R. Okie, T.G. Beckman, A.P. Nyczepir, G. L. Reighard, W.C. Newall Jr., and E.I. Zehr

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W.R. Okie and A.P. Nyczepir

Roots of dormant peach trees can grow when soil temperatures are >7 °C, which commonly occurs in the southeastern U.S. during the winter. In our tests, root growth on 1-year-old nursery trees was minimal at 7 °C, and increased with temperature up to at least 16 °C, but rootstocks varied greatly in their regeneration at a given temperature. Trees on seedling rootstocks of `Guardian™', `Halford' and `Lovell' regenerated roots more slowly than those on `Nemaguard' at soil temperatures >7 °C. The regeneration rates mirrored the relative susceptibility of these rootstocks to peach tree short life syndrome in the southeastern U.S., which is associated with parasitism by ring nematode.

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Gregory L. Reighard, Danielle Ellis, and Charles Graham

'Redhaven' and 'Springcrest' peach cultivars were budded to 12 rootstock selections and planted on a non-fumigated peach tree short life site. After 2 growing seasons, 2 shoots/tree (20 trees/stion) were collected in late November 1990 and again in early March 1991. Samples were immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen and later freeze dried and prepared for analysis. Total soluble sugars and starch were extracted from the shoot and quantified. No significant differences among rootstocks or cultivars were found for total soluble sugars and starch. No significant correlations were found between stion carbohydrates in fall and spring and the incidence of bacterial canker in April 1991. Total soluble sugars and starch averaged 110 and 120 mg/g dry tissue for fall and spring sample times, respectively. Cultivars on the hybrid plum rootstock 'Edible Sloe' had the highest soluble carbohydrates in both fall and spring.