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Dorcas K. Isutsa and Ian A. Merwin

We tested 40 seedling lots and 17 clonal accessions—representing 941 genotypes and 19 species or interspecific hybrids of Malus—for their resistance or tolerance to apple replant disease (ARD) in a mixture of five New York soils with known replant problems. Total plant biomass, root necrosis, root-infesting fungi, and root-lesion nematode (RLN; Pratylenchus penetrans Cobb) or dagger nematode (DN; Xiphinema americanum Cobb) populations were evaluated in apple seedlings and clones grown for ≈60 days in the composite soil. In addition to phytophagous nematodes, various Pythium, Cylindrocarpon, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora species were isolated from roots grown in the test soil. Plant growth response was categorized by a relative biomass index (RBI), calculated as total plant dry weight in the pasteurized field soil (PS) minus that in an unpasteurized field soil (FS), divided by PS. Nematode reproduction on each genotype was defined by a relative reproduction index (RRI), calculated as final nematode populations in roots and soil (Pf) minus initial soil populations (Pi), divided by Pi. The RBI, RRI, and other responses of accessions to ARD soil were used to rate their resistance, tolerance, or susceptibility to apple replant disease. None of the accessions was completely resistant to ARD pathogens in our test soil. Seedling accessions of M. sieversii Roem. and M. kirghisorum Ponom. appeared to have some tolerance to ARD, based upon their low RRIs and RBIs. Three clonal rootstock accessions (G.65, CG.6210, and G.30), and four other clones (M. baccata Borkh.—1883.h, M. xanthocarpa Langenf.—Xan, M. spectabilis Borkh.— PI589404, and M. mandshurica Schneid.—364.s) were categorized as tolerant to ARD. The disease response of other accessions was rated as susceptible or too variable to classify. We concluded that sources of genetic tolerance to ARD exist in Malus germplasm collections and could be used in breeding and selecting clonal rootstocks for improved control of orchard replant pathogens.

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Dorcas K. Isutsa, Ian A. Merwin, and Bill B. Brodie

Orchard replant disorder (ORD) is a widespread soilborne disease complex that causes stunting and poor establishment of replanted fruit trees. Chemical and cultural control of ORD provide effective, but short-term, control. More-sustainable strategies would involve ORD-resistant rootstocks not yet identified in apple. We tested `Bemali', G11, G13, G30, G65, G189, G210, and G707 clones from the apple rootstock breeding program at Geneva, N.Y., for their response to ORD in a composite soil collected from New York orchards with known replant problems. Clones were tested in the greenhouse in steam-pasteurized (PS), or naturally infested field soils (FS) with about 900 Pratylenchus penetrans and 150 Xiphinema americanum per pot. Plant dry mass, height, root necrosis, and nematode populations were determined after 60 days under optimal growing conditions. Stunting, reduced plant dry mass, and root necrosis were more severe in FS than in PS for most of the clones (P ≤ 5%), but G30 and G210 were substantially more tolerant to replant disorder than smaller ones, but this toleratnce might not be sustained in fields with greater or more prolonged nematode infestations. There is sufficient variation in apple rootstock resistance or tolerance to ORD to suggest that genetic resistance may be identified and developed for better management of orchard replant problems.

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Dorcas K. Isutsa, Marvin P. Pritts, and Kenneth W. Mudge

A protocol is presented that enables a propagator to produce field-sized blueberry transplants within 6 months of obtaining microshoots from tissue culture. The protocol involves subjecting microshoots to ex vitro rooting in a fog chamber under 100 μmol·m–2·s–1 photosynthetic photon flux for 7 weeks, transferring plants to a fog tunnel for 2 weeks, then to a greenhouse for 7 more weeks. Plant survival and rooting of cultivars Berkeley (Vaccinium corymbosum L.) and Northsky (Vaccinium angustifolium ×corymbosum) were near 100% under these conditions. Plantlets in fog chambers receiving 100 μmol·m–2·s–1 grew rapidly, while those at lower irradiance levels grew more slowly, and supplemental CO2 enhanced growth only at 50 μmol·m–2·s–1. Growth rates slowed when plants were moved into the fog tunnel; but by the end of 16 weeks, plants that were under high irradiance in the fog chamber had root systems that were 15 to 30 times larger than plants under low irradiance. Within 6 months, these plants were 30 to 60 cm tall and suitable for field planting.