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Louise Ferguson, Lynne Epstein, and Robert H. Beede

Four pistachio rootstocks, Pistacia atlantica, P. integerrima, and two selections of the same interspecific hybridization, P. atlantica, P. atlantica × P. integerrima (A.K.A. PGII and UCB #1) budded with P.vera, P. vera cv. Kerman females have been evaluated since 1989 in three locations in California's central San Joaquin Valley. Thus far, Atlantica is the most cold tolerant, followed by the interspecific hybrids and Integerrima. Integerrima and UCB no. 1 have produced significantly more clusters and nuts per tree, but all rootstocks have produced the same numbers of nuts per cluster. Trees on no.1 and Integerrima rootstocks also have produced significantly more kilograms of nuts per trunk cross sectional area than Atlantica and PGII. UCB #1 and Integerrima also are significantly more tolerant of the soilborne fungus Verticillium dahl. All rootstocks are equally infected with three species vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhizzae. Two seasons of irrigation with water up to 8.00 dS·m–2, have not affected rootstock performance or yield. UCB #1, Integerrima, and PGII all require supplemental boron, zinc, and copper nutrition for good production. Thus far, Integerrima is the best rootstock for soils with verticillium infestations unless winter temperatures are frequently below freezing. UCB #1 is the best rootstock for locations with cold winters.

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Timothy Spann, Robert H. Beede, Steven A. Weinbaum, and Theodore M. DeJong

Rootstock significantly alters the pattern of shoot growth of pistachio (Pistacia vera) cv. Kerman. Trees grown on P. atlantica typically produce a single flush of spring growth, whereas trees on P. integerrima selection PGI and P. atlantica × P. integerrima selection UCB-1 can produce multiple flushes during the season. We have shown that the spring flush is entirely preformed in the dormant bud for all three rootstocks, but later flushes are neoformed, that is, nodes are initiated and extended during the same season. Shoots producing both preformed and neoformed growth have lower yield efficiency than those producing only preformed growth. Additionally, yield components of the crop from shoots with both preformed and neoformed growth was different than for shoots producing only preformed growth. However, these differences do not appear to be significant at the whole tree level. These data suggest that neoformed growth can both compete with fruit growth for available resources (lower yield efficiency) and act as an additional source (altered yield components), depending on the factor being measured. Controlling neoformed growth may potentially increase pistachio yield through a shift to the more efficient preformed shoots while at the same time lowering orchard maintenance costs by reducing required pruning. We have data to indicate that regulated deficit irrigation and new pruning techniques may be viable methods for controlling neoformed growth in pistachio without affecting yield.

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Timothy M. Spann*, Robert H. Beede, Steven A. Weinbaum, and Theodore M. DeJong

Rootstock significantly alters the pattern of shoot growth of pistachio (Pistacia vera) cv. Kerman. Trees on P. atlantica typically produce a single flush of spring growth whereas trees on P. integerrima selection PGI and P. atlantica × P. integerrima selection UCB-1 can produce multiple flushes during the season. Terminal buds of shoots on all three rootstocks were dissected during the dormant season to determine the number of preformed nodes. Data indicate that there are 8-9 nodes preformed in the dormant terminal bud of shoots from Kerman trees and that this number is independent of rootstock, canopy location, crop load, and shoot carbohydrate concentration, suggesting genetic control. This number corresponds with the number of nodes typically found on a shoot at the end of the spring growth flush. Unlike the spring flush which is preformed in the dormant bud, later flushes are neoformed, that is, nodes are initiated and extended during the same season. Neoformed growth depends on current season photosynthates and may compete with fruit growth for available resources. Neoformed growth is sensitive to water stress and trees on all three rootstocks grown under two levels of regulated deficit irrigation showed a reduction in both the number and length of neoformed shoots. Preformed shoot growth did not appear to be reduced under water stress conditions, supporting the hypothesis that preformed shoots are more dependent on environmental conditions during the season they are initiated than during the season they are extended. Additionally, preformed shoots on well irrigated trees were similar in length for all rootstocks, further supporting the idea that preformed shoots are under genetic control and are not easily manipulated.