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  • Author or Editor: María José Rubio-Cabetas x
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Almond growers are seeking ways to reduce costs but maintain yield. Intensive planting systems with greater planting densities using trees on growth-controlling rootstocks, combined with mechanical pruning and shake-and-catch harvesting are becoming popular. In this study we examined the responses of six almond cultivars with distinctive architecture grafted onto five rootstocks with varying degrees of vigor control. Trees were planted in 2018 in a nursery row and left to grow without pruning until Winter 2021. Pruning involved a rudimentary hedging treatment akin to mechanical pruning. Branching and tree structure were recorded in 2020, before pruning, and again at the end of 2021, after one season’s growth following pruning. A rating system was developed to record qualitative data on central leader dominance and the number, length, basal diameter, and, in some cases, branching angle of axillary shoots and including scaffold branches. Relatively few changes were recorded in the basic growth habit of these trees in response to pruning. Before pruning, the most common rootstock effect was on axillary shoot production. After pruning, the most common rootstock effects were on scaffold branching and the length of subterminal axillary shoots. Further studies are required to determine how these differences produced by the interaction between pruning and rootstock may affect the productivity of fruit-bearing trees. Although in this study with young trees we were not able to record crop yield, the results highlight that it is mainly the scion–rootstock combination, with or without pruning, that determines the potential productivity of fruiting canopies. Scion–rootstock combinations that produce narrow upright canopies naturally with strong central leader dominance and highly branched canopies are preferred for superintensive growing systems with or without use of mechanical hedging.

Open Access

In `Myrobalan' plum (Prunus cerasifera Ehr.), Ma1 and Ma2 are single major dominant genes that control the resistance to the predominant root-knot nematode (RKN) species Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood, M. incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood, and M. javanica (Treub). These genes were evaluated for activity to the northern RKN M. hapla Chitwood and the tropical RKN M. mayaguensis Rammah & Hirschmann, neither of which is controlled by the Mi gene from tomato. This study was conducted under greenhouse conditions using a resistance screening based on high and durable inoculum pressure by the nematodes. Tests were conducted simultaneously for: M. arenaria (as a reference for the Ma genes); M. hapla and M. mayaguensis from crosses segregating for either Ma2 alone or Ma2 and Ma1 and involving the resistant parental clones P.2175 (heterozygous for Ma1) and P.1079 (homozygous for Ma2); and the host parental clone P.2646 (recessive for both Ma genes). Each parental clone and each individual of the segregating progenies reacted in a similar way to M. arenaria and M. mayaguensis, indicating that the Ma genes also control resistance to M. mayaguensis. By contrast, all parental clones and progenies were completely resistant to M. hapla, and, despite high inoculum pressure, no effect of the Ma genes on this species could be established.

Free access

Genetic diversity of the Spanish national almond (Prunus amygdalus Batsch) collection was characterized with 19 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers selected because of their polymorphism in almond and other Prunus L. species. A total of 93 almond genotypes, including 63 Spanish cultivars from different growing regions, as well as some international cultivars and breeding releases were analyzed. All primers produced a successful amplification, giving a total of 323 fragments in the genotypes studied, with an average of 17 alleles per SSR, ranging from 4 (EPDCU5100) to 33 (BPPCT038). Allele size ranged from 88 bp at locus PMS40 to 260 bp at locus CPPCT022. The heterozygosity observed (0.72) was much higher not only than in other Prunus species, but also than in other almond pools already studied. The dendrogram generated using the variability observed classified most of the genotypes according to their geographical origin, confirming the particular evolution of different almond ecotypes. The SSR markers have consequently shown their usefulness for cultivar identification in almond, for establishing the genetic closeness among its cultivars, and for establishing genealogical relationships.

Free access