Submitted to: Journal of American Pomological Society
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/1/2007
Publication Date: 5/2/2008
Citation: Beckman, T.G. 2008. Nursery performance of peach seedling rootstocks. Journal of American Pomological Society. 62(2):46-51. Interpretive Summary: The nursery performance of a rootstock is an important aspect that, in some cases, can make or break its success in the marketplace. Very little information is available on the relative performance, either the germination or subsequent growth, of the many seedling peach rootstocks that have been utilized commercially or evaluated in research trials. This work tested the germination and pre-budding growth performance of 14 different seedling peach rootstock lines, some only of historical importance, but most currently in commercial use or trial. Tests were performed under commercial nursery conditions over a 3 year period. Results revealed significant differences in rootstock germination, growth and ease of use. Differences were of sufficient size to warrant preferences for commercial use if customer needs (i.e. soil or climatic adaptation, or disease resistance) did not dictate otherwise.
Technical Abstract: The nursery performance of a cross-section of both historically important and current commercial peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch] seedling type rootstocks was studied over three growing seasons at six nurseries serving the southeastern US peach industry. Rootstock lines differed significantly in both their percent germination and growth prior to budding. Tennessee Natural (IR282-2) and GuardianTM (BY520-9) displayed the best (77%) and worst (32%) percent germination, respectively. Percent unbuddable seedlings ranged from 1.5 to 6.6% across the rootstock lines. High vigor is desirable. Nemared and Bailey displayed the highest (58 cm height) and lowest (35.2 cm height) vigor, respectively. Seedlings with few or no branches on their lower trunks are most desirable for budding. Rutgers Red Leaf and Bailey displayed the lowest (0.7 branches per seedling) and highest (2.4 branches per seedling) number of side branches on the lowest 10 cm of trunk, respectively. Rootstocks differed sufficiently to warrant preferences for increased production efficiency if rootstock specific site adaptations did not take precedence.