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  • Author or Editor: LJ Grauke x
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Putative resistance to the yellow aphid complex (Monellia caryella (Fitch) and Monelliopsis pecanis Bissell) in the `Pawnee' pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] cultivar was first noted in greenhouse tests by rating cultivars for relative amounts of honeydew on adaxial leaf surfaces. This resistance was confirmed in two field tests monitored from mid-June to mid-Oct. `Pawnee' supported significantly lower aphid populations during every rating period when relatively large numbers of these insects were present. `Navaho' also showed resistance, with `Desirable' having intermediate resistance and `Stuart' being very susceptible. Insect populations were also monitored on the four quadrants of each tree, with this quadrant effect being significant in only one test. This test had the highest populations on the West and lowest populations on the East.

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The commercial pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] nursery industry relies on open-pollinated seed for rootstock production. Current choice of seedstocks by commercial pecan nurserymen was surveyed by telephone. Nurseries were called if they appeared in the directory used for the 1994 release of `Navaho'. Factors influencing the choice of seedstock include seed availability, nut fill, nut size, nut shape, seedling vigor, stand uniformity, and root characteristics. Local availability is important in the choice of seedstock. Those who harvest from their own trees usually credit the seedstock with other valuable characteristics, such as improved germination or vigor. Those who purchase seed usually target a preferred seedstocks for particular reasons but plant available seed in its absence. Well-filled nuts are recognized as being important for good germination. Small nuts are often preferred, especially when seed is purchased because more nuts per pound increases potential production. Round nuts are generally preferred over long nuts due to improved performance in some mechanical planters. Distinct regional preferences are apparent in the choice of seedstocks. Regionally preferred seedstock selections are generally validated by a survey of the research literature. Patterns of selection are consistent with climatic and geographic constraints. Tree procurement patterns have changed: many small nurseries have gone out of business, many large nurseries transport trees far from the nursery for sales, and quarantine restrictions have altered procurement patterns in Arizona. Recommendations are made to nurserymen, pecan growers, and researchers concerning continued progress toward improving regionally adapted pecan rootstocks through seedstock selection.

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Thirty-six cultivars and 948 seedlings from 15 controlled crosses in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] breeding program at Brownwood, Texas, were rated for susceptibility to nut scab [Cladosporium caryigenum (Ell. et Lang.) Gottwald] to determine heritability of this trait. Differences between parents and progenies, and within progenies, were highly significant. Within most families, a complete range of resistance reactions were evident, from fully susceptible to fully resistant. Heritability of resistance was determined by regressing individual progeny values on female, male, and midparent values, with the midparent heritability estimate being the highest (0.54). This moderate level of additive gene action and the identification of superior parents in this study will contribute to the efficiency of breeding resistant cultivars.

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The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service conducts the largest and oldest pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] breeding program in the world. This program evaluates thousands of nut and kernel samples each year using a standard nut and kernel evaluation system developed and refined for more than 70 years. This report relates the effectiveness of these evaluations to commercial shelling efficiency by direct comparison of these data to commercially shelled samples from the same clone performance test. Visual ratings of shelled kernel samples (1-5, with 1 = best) were correlated with time required to hand clean kernel samples (r = 0.55). As percent kernel increased, visual ratings of shelled kernels improved (decreased) (r = -0.73). More intact halves were recovered from shelled samples with the best (lowest) visual ratings (r = -0.67). Conversely, fewer pieces of any size were present in samples with the best visual ratings. Visual ratings improved as nut density decreased (r = 0.33). Samples with the lightest kernel color also had the best visual ratings (r = 0.38). These data show that the standard U.S. Dept. of Agriculture pecan nut and kernel evaluation system needs to be refined by modifying selection pressure placed on various standard evaluation traits.

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