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Curt R. Rom

Current practices of fertilizer management, potential problems, and paths for fertilizer management research were discussed. Apple nutrition management in the humid southern regions of the U.S. is typically challenged by several factors such as inherently low soil pH, variable soil chemistry, and irregular precipitation. Some literature and personal experiences with orchard replant conditions and fumigation, fertigation, fertilizer delivery system, and time of fertilizer application were reviewed. On replant sites, fumigation and liming significantly improved tree survival and growth in the first 5 years. Fertigation with ammonium nitrate significantly lowered soil pH in the root zone compared to top dress applications. Using calcium nitrate resulted in less pH reduction. Results of studies of autumn application of N fertilizers have been mixed, with reports of no, decreased, or increased effects on fruit set, yield, and growth. Studies with size-controlling rootstocks indicate additional need to study the uptake of Mn and related Mn toxicity. Precocious rootstocks with high early yields have resulted in foliar K levels approaching deficiency within the first 10 years of production. Indications are that high-density orchards may have additional requirements for K fertilizers.

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Michael L. Parker, Dave Ritchie, and Andy Nyczepir

A study was initiated in 1994 to evaluate the performance of the recently released peach rootstock Guardian TM (BY-5209-9), compared to Lovell, the commercial standard in North Carolina. `Redhaven' was the scion for both rootstocks. Guardian&™ is reported to be tolerant to root-knot nematodes and not affected by ring nematodes, which contribute to the incidence of peach tree short life (PTSL). The site of this study has a history of poor peach tree survival. Six-year-old trees were removed because of tree mortality from PTSL in Spring 1993. After tree removal, one-half of each existing row was pre-plant fumigated and trees were replanted over the rows of the previous orchard in Feb. 1994. In Spring 1996, tree mortality for the trees planted on Lovell was 30%, compared to 10% for the trees planted on GuardianTM. Trunk cross-sectional area for trees grown in the fumigated soil was approximately double that of trees grown in the unfumigated soil for both GuardianTM and Lovell. The 1996 fruit crop was eliminated from frost/freeze conditions and 1997 yields will be discussed. In Fall 1996, one-half of the trees were treated with a post-plant nematicide to determine if such treatments are necessary or beneficial with the GuardianTM rootstock.

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J.L. Sibley, D.G. Himelrick, and W.A. Dozier Jr.

Poultry and coal production are two major industries concentrated in north-central Alabama. Standard surface coal mine reclamation procedures were compared to procedures utilizing poultry litter in an 3.24-ha mine site. Three 0.4-ha plots amended with litter at rates of 25, 50, and 100 mt/ha, were compared to a plot with mineral fertilizer (13N–13–P13K) at standard reclamation rates of 672 kg/ha, and a plot receiving no fertilizer or litter. All plots were amended with ground limestone and disced in 31 cm. A mix of fescue, lespedeza, rye, and clover was broadcast over all plots uniformly. Eight tree species; northern red oak, nuttall oak, willow oak, red maple, yellow poplar, royal paulownia, loblolly pine, and eastern red cedar were planted in all plots at 1482 trees/ha. Forage yields (1995–96) in litter-amended plots were two to three times higher than statewide hay production averages. High litter rates have had no negative effects on ground cover, tree survival, or ground water nitrates (NO3). This project demonstrates broiler litter use as an organic-matter amendment in a self-sustaining reclamation success.

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

Thirteen rootstocks grafted with Redhaven peach were established on a severe peach tree short-life (PTSL) site in central Georgia. Most rootstocks tested were peach seedling types: Lovell, Nemaguard, Guardian (BY520-9), BY520-8, Boone County, Bailey and two `Tennessee Natural' selections. A seedling plum rootstock, St. Julian, was also used. Clonal type rootstocks included a peach × almond hybrid, GF677; plum, GF43 and Damas 1869; and a plum hybrid, GF655-2. Trees on Guardian displayed the best survival with only 20% mortality due to PTSL, through 7 years. In contrast, 40% of trees on Lovell succumbed to PTSL. Currently, Lovell is the recommended rootstock for PTSL-prone sites. Other rootstocks ranged from 50% to 100% mortality due to PTSL. Trees on Guardian displayed significantly higher vigor through the first 4 years following planting compared to trees on Lovell. Furthermore, trees on Guardian produced significantly greater yields than those on Lovell, in all but 1 year. Rootstock effects on tree survival, vigor, bloom and harvest dates, fruit yield and size, and suckering will be discussed.

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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.

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Richard E.C. Layne

Performance of `Redhaven' peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] propagated on nine experimental Prunus rootstock was evaluated over 8 years beginning in 1984, in a randomized complete-block experiment with 10 replications on a Brookston clay loam soil type near Harrow, Ont. This experiment was part of an interregional NC-140 peach rootstock experiment. Significant rootstock-induced effects were noted for increase in trunk cross-sectional area, cumulative tree height and spread, cumulative number of root suckers, yield, average fruit weight, yield efficiency, winter injury, cold hardiness, and tree survival. None of the clonally propagated rootstock gave satisfactory overall performance. All trees on GF655-2, 80% on GF677, 60% Self-rooted, and 50% on GF1869 were dead by the eighth year. In addition, suckering was a major problem on GF1869 and a moderate problem on GF655-2. `Citation' induced the most scion dwarfing but had the lowest yields and low yield efficiency. When yield, yield efficiency, fruit size, and tree mortality were considered together, the four peach seedling rootstock performed better than the other Prunus rootstocks and were ranked as follows: Siberian C, Halford, Bailey, and Lovell. Of these, the first three could be recommended with the most confidence to commercial growers who grow peaches on fine-textured soils in northern regions.

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Kirk W. Pomper*, Joseph G. Masabni, Desmond R. Layne, Sheri B. Crabtree, R. Neal Peterson, and Dwight Wolfe

The pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal] has great potential as a new fruit crop. A pawpaw variety trial was established in Fall 1995 in Princeton, Ky. as a joint Kentucky State Univ.-Univ. of Kentucky research effort with the objective to identify superior varieties for Kentucky. A randomized block experimental design was used with 8 replicates of 28 grafted scion selections on seedling rootstock. Cultivars being tested included Middletown, Mitchell, NC-1, Overleese, PA-Golden, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Sunflower, Susquehanna, Taylor, Tay-two, Wells, and Wilson. The other 15 clones were selections from the PawPaw Foundation. In 2002 and 2003, the following parameters were examined: tree survival, trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA), average fruit weight, total fruit harvested per tree, average fruit per cluster, total yield per tree, and yield efficiency. In 2003, 54% of the trees had survived, with `Susquehanna' (13%) showing the poorest survival. Based on TCSA, most selections displayed excellent vigor, with the exception of the selections: 5-5 and `Overleese'. Average fruit weight was greatest in 1-7-2 (194 g), 1-68 (167g), 4-2 (321 g), 5-5 (225 g), 7-90 (166g), 9-58 (176 g), 10-35 (167 g), NC-1 (180 g), `Sunflower' (204 g), and `Shenandoah' (168g), with the smallest fruit in `Middletown' (70 g), `Wells' (78 g), and `Wilson' (88 g). The selections `Wilson' (81), `Middletown' (75), and `Wells' (70) had the greatest average number of fruit per tree, whereas 4-2 (9), 5-5 (17) and 8-20 (15) the fewest. Yield efficiency and average fruit per cluster also varied greatly among selections. Several pawpaw selections in the trial show promise for production in Kentucky.

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J.W. Van Sambeek and John E. Preece

Hybrid poplar is traditionally established using dormant stem cuttings in tilled soils followed by chemical or mechanical weed control. In 1996, we initiated a study to evaluate the effects of site preparation and four weed control treatments on growth and morphology of three hybrid poplar clones established on a 0.2-ha tall fescue field in southern Illinois. Site preparation included application of 2000 kg/ha of 12N-12P-12K. The experiment was arranged as a split-split plot. Main plots were closely mowed tall fescue or tilled to remove the grass sod. Within each main plot, weed control treatments were applied to 1-m wide strips in rows 2.4 m apart. Weed control treatments included porous black film, solid black film, and solid white film, and a control treatment of 3.7 L/ha of glyphosate applied each spring. On 15 Apr. 1996, three 25-cm-long dormant stem cuttings from each of three clones were randomly planted 15 cm deep every 1.8 m within each row. Clonal differences existed after the first year for survival, number of stems, stem height, stem basal diameter, and stem volume, but not for number and total length of lateral branches. Nearly all tree growth measurements analyzed during the first 3 years had a highly significant interaction between type of site preparation and method of weed control. With polyethylene films, tree survival exceeded 90% on both the tilled ground and grass sod sites after 3 years; however, with the herbicide treatment survival averaged only 18% in the grass sod and 51% in tilled soil. Excluding the herbicide treatment, tree growth was better in the grass sod than in the tilled soil. Tree growth using porous black polyethylene film was usually less than that with either of the two solid polyethylene films. The best tree growth was found with a grass sod and solid white polyethylene film for weed control.

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Desmond R. Layne, Guido Schnabel, Kerik Cox, Ralph Scorza, and Karen Bussey

Armillaria root rot (ARR) of peach caused by the soil-borne basidiomycete fungus Armillaria tabescens is causing premature decline and mortality of peach trees on most southeastern U.S. peach farms. Soil inoculum may be present both in former peach orchard sites and on sites that were once in hardwood forest. The fungus is protected under the bark of dead root pieces and may survive up to 100 years at various depths in the soil profile. No commercially available rootstocks are resistant to ARR. Since 2002, we have embarked on a multipronged strategy to develop control options to combat ARR. First, we have two replicated trials on commercial grower replant sites with a history of ARR. Trial 1 compares four preplant fumigation treatments (none, Telone II, methyl bromide, and Enzone), three rootstocks (Lovell, Halford, and Guardian) and preplant root dips with endomycorrhizal fungi. Trial 2 compares the use of raised beds, root collar excavation and preplant root dips. Both trials examine long-term productivity and tree survival. Second, we are examining the use of systemic fungicide injection into infected trees to protect trees around infection foci. Third, we are trying to develop a genetically modified ARR-resistant rootstock. We have inserted the gene encoding the gastrodia antifungal protein (GAFP—a low molecular weight lectin that binds mannose and chitin) from a Chinese orchid into tobacco (model herbaceous system) and plum (model Prunus system). GAFP has antifungal activity against several basidiomycete root rot pathogens. Pathogenicity tests with transformed tobacco plants show enhanced tolerance to several root rot pathogens when compared to nontransformed plants. Transformed plums are being multiplied for pathogenicity tests.

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Christopher S. Walsh, Julia M. Harshman, Anna E. Wallis, Amy Barton Williams, Michael J. Newell, and George R. (G.R.) Welsh

, and tree productivity, it is susceptible to fire blight. Hedrick (1921) stated “the trees blight badly, and are not much above average in resistance to blight, the black plague of pear.” To improve pear tree survival, breeding for fire blight