At the northern borders of the peach-growing zone, low temperatures during winter are the critical factors for the survival of the trees and for the reliability of production. Our aim was to carry out detailed analysis of the hardening and dehardening processes of flower buds of three peach cultivars with contrasting frost tolerance and to evaluate the effects of environmental factors and of genotypic differences in two consecutive winters with very diverse weather conditions. Based on our results, the hardening process takes place in two phases in peach flower buds. In the first phase, gradual cooling is essential if the level of frost resistance characteristic of the genotype is to develop, but in the second phase, it is a prerequisite that the external temperature drop consistently below zero for reaching the maximum frost tolerance. The maximum level of frost resistance developed by peach flower buds was only maintained for a limited time and the differences between the cultivars gradually decreased as flowering time approached. At the time of leaf fall in the fall and before flowering, the difference between the mean frost tolerance values for flower buds of the extremely frost-tolerant and frost-sensitive cultivars was only 2 °C, whereas in midwinter, it was 5 to 5.5 °C.
László Szalay, Béla Timon, Szilvia Németh, János Papp and Magdolna Tóth
Noémi Makovics-Zsohár, Magdolna Tóth, Dezső Surányi, Szilvia Kovács, Attila Hegedűs and Júlia Halász
The hexaploid European plum (Prunus domestica L.) is an economically important fruit species with limited information on its genetic structure. Our objective was to fingerprint 55 cultivars using seven simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers to estimate the polymorphism level and determine allelic variation and genetic relationships among local and international cultivars. The primer pairs amplified a total of 135 alleles ranging from six to 27 alleles per locus, displaying high polymorphism. All genotypes were clearly distinguished with the seven SSRs used in this study. In a neighbor-joining cluster analysis, cultivars belonging to the same species did not group together. Foreign modern cultivars clustered together, and Hungarian landraces positioned distantly from those. STRUCTURE analysis indicated three genetically distinct groups of the studied genotypes. Each cluster of Hungarian landrace cultivars received strong bootstrap support (89% to 100%). Most genotypes kept under identical name showed different DNA fingerprints. A principal component analysis (PCA) confirmed the information provided by the dendrogram and clarified the origin of ʻFehérszilva’. Our results confirmed the potential of the application of SSR markers in plum breeding.