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T.G. Beckman, W.R. Okie, A.P. Nyczepir, P.L. Pusey, and C.C. Reilly

Nearly 5000 seedling trees representing more than 100 peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] and plum (Prunus spp.) lines were planted at a 4 × 0.6-m spacing in Jan. 1983, on a site with a known history of peach tree short life (PTSL) and Armillaria root rot (ARR). Trees were arranged in a randomized complete-block with eight replicates of six trees each. Beginning in Spring 1984 and each year thereafter the cause of tree death was determined. At the end of 9 years, 50% of the trees had succumbed to PTSL and 35% had been killed by ARR apparently caused by Armillaria tabescens. Analysis of the data for trees killed by ARR showed a wide range in mortality, some peach lines appeared significantly more tolerant to ARR than others. Plum lines derived from native North American species also appeared to be a potential source of improved tolerance. We did not establish whether ARR tolerance is affected by PTSL.

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S.W. Westcott III, E.I. Zehr, W.C. Newall Jr., and D.W. Cain

Prunus accessions were screened in a greenhouse for suitability as hosts for Criconemella xenoplax (Raski) Luc and Raski. All 410 accessions examined were suitable hosts for the nematode. Included in this study were 266 Prunus persica L. Batsch cultivars and cultivars representing 25 other Prunus species: P. americana Marsh., P. andersonii A. Gray, P. angustifolia Marsh., P. argentea (Lam.) Rehd., P. armeniaca L., P. besseyi L. H. Bailey, P. cerasifera Ehrh., P. cistena N.E. Hansen, P. davidiana (Carriere) Franch., P. domestica L., P. dulcis (Mill.) D. Webb, P. emarginata (Dougl. ex Hook.) Walp., P. hortulana L. H. Bailey, P. insititia L., P. kansuensis Rehd., P. maritima Marsh., P. munsoniana W. Wright & Hedr., P. pumila L., P. salicina Lindl., P. simonii Carriere, P. spinosa L., P. tenella Batsch, P. texana D. Dietr., P. tomentosa Thunb., and P. webbii (Spach) Vierh. Also, another 66 interspecific hybrids were tested. Although a few accessions seemed to exhibit an unstable form of resistance, it seems unlikely that Prunus selections that exhibit useful resistance to population increase by C. xenoplax will be found.

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B.S. Wilkins, R.C. Ebel, W.A. Dozier, J. Pitts, D.J. Eakes, D.G. Himelrick, T. Beckman, and A.P. Nyczepir

Twelve peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] seedling rootstocks [Lovell, Nemaguard, Flordaguard, 14DR51, five Guardian™ (BY520-9) selections, and three BY520-8 selections] budded with `Cresthaven' were planted in 1994 and evaluated through 2000 to determine performance under commercial management practices. Mesocriconema xenoplax population densities were above the South Carolina nematicide treatment threshold of 50 nematodes/100 cm3 of soil after 1996. However, symptoms of peach tree short life (PTSL) were not observed. Tree mortality was less than 14% through 1999, with most of the dead trees exhibiting symptoms consistent with Armillaria root rot. About 13% of the surviving trees in 1999 were removed in 2000 due to symptoms of phony peach. There were no differences in tree mortality among rootstocks. Tree growth, photosynthesis, and suckering varied among rootstocks, but leaf conductance, internal CO2, and leaf transpiration did not. Foliar calcium, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus varied among rootstocks, but all were within the range considered sufficient for peach trees. Fruit yield varied among rootstocks, but yield efficiency did not, indicating that higher yield corresponded with larger trees. Bloom date did not vary among rootstocks, but harvest date was advanced as much as 2 days for some rootstocks, compared to Lovell. Fruit weight varied among rootstocks but skin color, flesh firmness, and soluble solids content were similar. All rootstocks performed satisfactorily for commercial peach production.

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Gregory L. Reighard, Eldon I. Zehr, and Freddi Hammerschlag

Peach tree short life (PTSL) is a serious peach tree disease syndrome on replant orchard sites in the Southeast. Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae is a bacterial disease often associated with tree injury and death on these PTSL sites. Rootstocks that have better tolerance to ring nematodes such as Lovell have less PTSL death. Tissue-cultured peach embryos and/or explants have shown increased resistance to Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas campestris pv. pruni, another bacterial peach pathogen, in laboratory and greenhouse screenings. Tissue-cultured `Redhaven' (RH), `Redskin' (RS), and `Sunhigh' (SH) peach cultivars on their own roots were planted with SH seedlings and RH and RS budded to Lovell rootstock on a severe PTSL site in South Carolina. Treatments beside cultivar/rootstock combination included preplant fumigation vs. nonfumigation. PTSL appeared in the third year and by year 4 significant tree death occurred. Tissue-cultured RH, RS, and SH trees had 54%, 55%, and 88% PTSL death, respectively, compared to RH (17%) and RS (29%) on Lovell or the SH seedlings (25%). Fumigation significantly decreased PTSL in both RS combinations but not RH. These data suggest that the tolerance of the cultivar root system to PTSL-inducing factors such as ring nematodes was more important in PTSL than scion resistance to bacteria.

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S.C. Myers and A.T. Savelle

`Guardian' peach rootstock has shown improved survivability in areas where root-knot nematode and peach tree short life are a problem. Many peach rootstocks are typically propagated from seed. Availability of seed may vary and the long-term genetic uniformity of rootstock material may be difficult to maintain due to out-crossing during seed production. A reliable, successful vegetative propagation method would potentially increase the rate at which material could be made available and more closely ensure genetic uniformity. Production of liners was compared between rooted cuttings and seed of mature `Guardian', `Lovell', and `Nemaguard' peach trees. Seed were stratified under uniform conditions, planted at initial germination, and seedling emergence recorded 30 days after planting. Terminal softwood and semi-hardwood cutting were treated with KIBA and rooted under intermittent mist in a greenhouse. Rooting percentage was equal to or greater than percent seedling emergence. Optimum results were obtained with semi-hardwood cuttings taken in July and August. Rooted cuttings transplanted to the field produced liners of equal or greater quality than liners produced from seed. Seedlings exhibited variability in growth in the nursery area. Rooted cuttings had fewer lateral branches in the lower 15 cm of rootstock where trees were T-budded with certified, virus-indexed buds of `Cresthaven' peach.

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Charles J. Graham and Gregorv L. Reighard

Peaches are often grown on sandy, low pH soils which may predispose plants to aluminum (Al) toxicity. Previous research has shown that peach (Prunus persica, L. Batsch) is not tolerant to Al and toxicity may be associated with occurence of peach tree short life syndrome. Current recommendations to control PTSL include soil calcium (Ca) applications to reduce soil acidity and Al availability. However, these applications often result in inconsistent responses. Objectives of this study were to determine if Ca would ameliorate the effects of Al toxicity and whether different Ca compounds would provide different responses.

Rootstock were grown in sand culture supplied with Hoagland's solution containing 16.7 mM aluminum Trees received weekly foliar sprays containing 12.5 uM calcium and 0.1% Chevron X-77 as a spreading agent. Calcium compounds tested included calcium chloride, formate, lactate, nitrate, phosphate, and sulfate. Stem dry weights were significantly increased by Ca lactate and sulfate, leaf dry weight by Ca lactate, and Ca formate significantly increased leaf retention. Nutrient concentrations and interactions in leaves, stems, and roots will be discussed.

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Umedi L. Yadava

A planting of 90 Redhaven peach (Prunus persica (L) Batsch) trees either budded to Lovell and Nemaguard rootstocks or on their own roots, was established in spring 1984 using in-ground 55-gallon microplots. Planting soils (top soil, not B and C layers) prepared in five ratios by mixing soils from peach tree short life (PTSL) and non-PTSL (NPSL) sites (100% PTSL, 75% PTSL + 25% NPSL, 50% of each, 25% PTSL + 75% NPSL, and 100% NPSL) as main plots, were replicated 3 times. Two trees per rootstock were randomized within main plots. The planting was maintained using conventional cultural practices. Observations for tree survival were recorded in December each year. During this investigation, both soil mix and root types significantly affected tree survival, which was consistently the highest in 100% NPSL and the lowest in 100% PTSL soil. Effects of other soil combinations were intermediate; however, greater tree mortality was associated with increased ratio of PTSL soil. Trees on Lovell roots invariably survived the best followed by those on Nemaguard roots and the lowest when on their own roots. As early as in fourth leaf, >55% of the own-rooted trees died compared to < 10% on either rootstock.

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Charles J. Graham and Gregory L. Reighard

A field experiment was conducted to assess the effects of several foliar nutrient sprays on the vegetative growth of 'Jefferson' peach budded on 'Nemaguard' and 'Lovell' rootstocks planted on a site with a history of Peach Tree Short Life. The trees received foliar applications of 2 mN solutions of ammonium citrate, calcium citrate, calcium lactate, calcium phosphate, or a water control at 3 week intervals from April to August. Vegetative growth measurements were taken after one growing season. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA) was significantly increased by ammonium citrate (TCSA=20.35 cm2), calcium citrate (TCSA=20.03 cm2), and calcium lactate (TCSA=19.91 cm2) when compared to controls (TCSA=16.75 cm2). Trees on 'Nemaguard' responded more to treatments than those on 'Lovell'. All nutrient sprays increased TCSA, lateral growth, terminal growth, and total tree growth on 'Nemaguard' rootstock. Terminal growth increased 12-36%, and total tree growth increased 18-51 % compared to control trees, but only ammonium citrate applications were significantly greater. Lateral growth and TCSA of treated trees increased 65-168% and 17-28%, respectively.

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Robert C. Ebel, Bryan Wilkins, David Himelrick, Tom Beckman, Andy Nyczepir, and Jim Pitts

Twelve peach rootstocks including `Lovell', `Nemaguard', `Flordaguard', `14DR51', five `Guardian' (BY520-9) selections, and three BY520-8 selections, were evaluated under field conditions to determine their effect on performance of `Cresthaven' peach. The trees were planted in 1994. Trunk cross-sectional area of BY520-8 selections SL1923 and SL4028 was 28% larger than the rest of the rootstocks, which were similar. There was no crop in 1996 due to late spring frost. Yield in 1997 and 1998 was higher for SL1923 because of higher cropload than the rest of the rootstocks, which were similar. Yield efficiency varied across years and rootstocks. Fruit weight varied among rootstocks but all were commercially acceptable. Harvest date was advanced by two days for some rootstocks compared to Lovell and none were delayed. Percent red blush, soluble solids and firmness varied among rootstocks, but none demonstrated superior quality in all of these parameters as compared to Lovell. Ring nematode population densities were above the threshhold considered to be critical for onset of PTSL for all rootstocks in 1997 and 1998. Tree survival was at or above 86% for all rootstocks and death was not correlated with ring nematode density No trees developed symptoms characteristic of Peach Tree Short Life disease complex. Guardian selections performed adequately compared to the commonly used commercial rootstocks in this study, however, the yield date are from 2 years only.

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U.L. Yadava

A planting of 48 trees of `Redhaven' scion on Lovell, Nemaguard, and Wildpeach rootstocks (RS) was established in 1990, with four replications in randomized complete-block design. Cultural practices common in Georgia were used to maintain the planting. Orchard performance for peach tree short life (PTSL) related tree survival, RS suckering, fungal gummosis, and tree stresses from cold injury and Pseudomonas canker, was investigated to examine RS potential of Wildpeach compared with Lovell and Nemaguard. Trees on all RS showed 100% survival for the first 5 years in the orchard. Although canker became more prevalent in later years, trees had significantly higher ratings on Nemaguard (2.88) and Lovell (2.50) RS than on Wildpeach (1.44). However, PTSL stress enraged by Pseudomonas killed one tree each on Lovell and Wildpeach RS during 1995. Trunk cambial browning that estimated cold injury was trivial due to mild winters; however, trees on Nemaguard had higher TCB ratings (1.25) than on other RS. Trees on Wildpeach had fewer suckers than on Nemaguard or Lovell. Gummosis ratings were higher on Nemaguard RS than on Lovell and Wildpeach. The results showed that Wildpeach has good potential for a peach RS.