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Patrick Conner

Pecan seedling rootstocks require several years of growth in the nursery before they are large enough to graft. In this experiment, first-year pecan seedlings were fertigated with varying amounts of calcium nitrate to stimulate growth rates. Pecan seedlings were fertigated every 2 weeks from May through October for a total of 10 applications. Total amounts of nitrogen (N) applied by fertigation were 0, 4, 10, 20, and 40 g of N per seedling. Leaf samples were taken after the fourth and 10th fertigation, and leaf elemental concentration was affected by fertigation rates. Seedling height and caliper were measured monthly. Seedling caliper continued to increase throughout the experiment, while height increase stopped in September. Seedling height and caliper were not affected by N fertigation except for the N rate of 40 g, which suppressed seedling growth. These results suggest that the nitrogen needs of the seedlings were met by a preplant application of 56 kg·ha-1 N applied as 10N–10P–10K.

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Patrick Conner

Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) seedling rootstocks require several years of growth in the nursery before they are large enough to graft. In this experiment, first-year pecan seedlings were fertigated with varying amounts of calcium nitrate in an attempt to stimulate growth rates. Pecan seedlings were fertigated every 2 weeks from May through October for a total of 10 applications. Total amounts of nitrogen (N) applied by fertigation were 0, 4, 10, 20, and 40 g of N per seedling. Leaf samples were taken after the fourth and tenth fertigations, and leaf elemental concentration was affected by fertigation rates. Seedling height and caliper were measured monthly. Seedling caliper continued to increase throughout the experiment, whereas height increase stopped in September. Seedling height and caliper were unaffected by N fertigation except for the N rate of 40 g, which suppressed seedling growth. These results suggest that the N needs of the seedlings were met by a preplant application of 50 lb/acre N applied as 10N–4.4P–8.3K.

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Patrick Conner

Pecan is a highly heterozygous outcrossing species that is normally propagated by grafting or budding onto seedling rootstocks. The four-flap or banana graft is commonly used by growers or researchers because of its high percentage of success, especially when employed by novice grafters. We removed scion buds before grafting in an attempt to delay budbreak, thus providing more time for vascular connections to form before leaf development and its associated demand for water takes place. Removal of buds from the scion wood was successful in delaying bud and leaf development, but did not increase graft success, and in one treatment actually lowered graft success.

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Sudheer Beedanagari* and Patrick Conner

Pecan, [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) C. Koch], is a member of Juglandaceae family and is one of the most important nut crops produced in the United States. The objective of this study is to generate the first genetic linkage maps for pecan. Maps were constructed for the cultivars `Elliot' and `Pawnee' using the double pseudo-testcross mapping method whereby a separate linkage map is made for each parent using markers heterozygous in that parent. First generation maps consisted primarily of randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. We have now used fluorescently labeled amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers to produce more complete maps. In the development of the AFLP markers, 64 primer combinations were originally screened to find the most informative combinations. Ten primer combinations were then chosen to produce markers for the maps. The maps currently consist of approximately 100 RAPD and 100 AFLP markers on each cultivar map. `Pawnee' is a high quality commercial pecan cultivar with a very early ripening date. `Elliot' possesses high levels of resistance to pecan scab, caused by the fungus Cladosporium caryigenum. The maps will be used to find markers linked to scab resistance genes and other traits of interest to the breeding program.

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Patrick J. Conner

A detached leaflet protocol was developed for the evaluation of resistance to Fusicladium effusum in a seedling pecan population segregating for resistance. Leaflets at half to full expansion were detached from seedling trees, sprayed with a conidial suspension (isolate De-Tif-3), placed in a polyethylene bag in a growth chamber, and evaluated microscopically 7 and 14 days after inoculation. The percentage germinated conidia producing subcuticular hyphae was the best determinant of susceptibility with genotypes producing more than 15% subcuticular hyphae considered susceptible. Leaflets at half expansion had higher percentages of subcuticular hyphae and gave a clearer separation between susceptible and resistant genotypes than leaflets at full expansion. An evaluation period of 14 days was preferable to 7 days to allow slower reacting genotypes to be better evaluated. The detached leaflet protocol was evaluated in contrasting environments and was found to be robust to differences in shading and leaflet wetness. Detached leaflet tests gave similar results to field inoculations but were superior in consistently detecting susceptible genotypes. This protocol will be useful in evaluating the inheritance of pecan leaf scab resistance in breeding progenies.

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Patrick J. Conner

Storage of pollen from 1 year to the next is often needed to enable desired crosses to be made in a pecan [Carya illinoinensis (Wangenh.) K. Koch] breeding program. Stored pollen is usually tested for viability through the use of in vitro germination tests. An in vitro germination testing system was developed for this purpose using cellophane booklets to provide a solid support for the pollen grains. Optimized germination media contained 5% sucrose, 20% polyethylene glycol 8000, 0.05% Ca(NO3)2, 0.025% H3BO3, and 10 mm 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid pH 6.0. Pollen should be rehydrated for 2 to 4 h in a humidified chamber before germination testing. A germination time of 4 to 24 h produces similar final germination percentages. Testing of pollen samples stored at –80 °C indicates that pecan pollen can be stored for at least 8 years without a decrease in viability. Chemical names used: polyethylene glycol (PEG); 2-(N-morpholino)ethanesulfonic acid (MES).

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Patrick J. Conner

Twenty-six muscadine grape (Vitis rotundifolia Michx.) cultivars and selections were evaluated for a range of skin and flesh texture attributes. Two Vitis vinifera L. and one Vitis labruscana Bailey table grape cultivars were included for comparison. Penetration tests using a flat cylindrical probe were used to assess whole berry texture. Ideal whole berry texture is firm and easily broken down during mastication, which was measured as small berry deformation at first peak and berry maximum force, respectively. Muscadine berry deformation at first peak ranged from 4.35 to 7.82 mm and berry maximum force ranged from 5.7 to 13.9 N. V. vinifera table grape berries were firmer (3.14 to 3.19 mm berry deformation at first peak) and more tender (4.0 to 4.9 N berry maximum force) than muscadine berries. Berry penetration work was strongly correlated with both berry deformation at first peak and berry maximum force and ranged from 13.0 to 54.1 mJ in the muscadine germplasm. Penetration tests of muscadine berry flesh revealed a range of flesh firmness from very soft (0.65 N) to firm (3.06 N) but none was as firm as the V. vinifera berry flesh (3.9 N). Penetration tests of muscadine berry skins revealed newer selections bred for table use had relatively tender skins with a skin break force of 12.1 N, which was not different from V. vinifera samples. Berry penetration work and flesh maximum force were determined to be the most useful characteristics for routine screening of breeding program material.