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Research Project: Breeding Apple Rootstocks Tolerant to Abiotic Stresses and Resistant to Pests and Diseases

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Unit (PGRU)

Title: Long-term performance of 'Delicious' apple trees grafted on Geneva rootstocks and trained to four high-density systems under New York State climatic conditions

Author
item REIG, GEMMA - Institute De Recerca I Tecnologia Agroalimentaries (IRTA)
item ROBINSON, TERENCE - Cornell University - New York
item Fazio, Gennaro
item LORDAN, JAUME - Institute De Recerca I Tecnologia Agroalimentaries (IRTA)
item HOYING, STEPHEN - Cornell University - New York
item FARGIONE, MICHAEL - Cornell University - New York
item DONAHUE, DANIEL - Cornell University - New York
item FRANCESCATTO, POLIANA - Cornell University - New York
item ACIMOVIC, DANA - Cornell University - New York

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/19/2020
Publication Date: 8/21/2020
Citation: Reig, G., Robinson, T., Fazio, G., Lordan, J., Hoying, S., Fargione, M., Donahue, D., Francescatto, P., Acimovic, D. 2020. Long-term performance of 'Delicious' apple trees grafted on Geneva rootstocks and trained to four high-density systems under New York State climatic conditions. HortScience. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI14904-20.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI14904-20

Interpretive Summary: This publication highlights the results of a long term field experiment featuring ten apple rootstocks and different apple training systems to see what would be the rootstock and system combination displaying higher productivity and efficiency. The second largest rootstock ‘G.30’ was the most productive on a hectare basis. ‘G.210’ was the second most productive rootstock but much smaller than ‘G.30’. ‘M.9’ was the smallest rootstock and failed to adequately fill the space in most training systems and had low cumulative yield. This research adds to the body of knowledge needed by apple growers to make more informed decisions when planting a new apple orchard (an investment that lasts 15-20 years) especially with regards to apple rootstocks.

Technical Abstract: From 2007-2017 we conducted a large (0.8 ha) field experiment of systems × rootstock using ‘Super Chief Delicious’ as scion cultivar at Yonder farm in Hudson (NY, USA) where we compared six Geneva® rootstocks (‘G.11’, ‘G.16’, ‘G.210’, ‘G.30’, ‘G.41’ and ‘G.935’) with one Budagovsky (‘B.118’) and three Malling rootstocks (‘M.7EMLA’, ‘M.9Pajam2’ and ‘M.26EMLA’) as controls. Trees from each rootstock were trained to four high-density systems: Super Spindle (SS) (5,382 trees ha-1), Tall Spindle (TS) (3,262 trees ha-1), Triple Axis Spindle (TAS) (2,243 trees ha-1), and Vertical Axis (VA) (1,656 trees ha-1). Rootstock and training system interacted to affect growth, production and fruit quality. When comparing systems, SS trees were the least vigorous ones but much more productive on a hectare basis. Among the rootstocks we evaluated, ‘B.118’ had the largest TCSA, followed by ‘G.30’ and ‘M.7’ which were similar in size, followed by ‘G.935’, ‘M.26’ and ‘G.210’ which were similar in size, followed by ‘G.16’, ‘G.11’ and ‘G.41’ which were similar in size. ‘M.9T337’ was the smallest and was significantly smaller than most of the other rootstocks Although ‘B.118’ trees were the largest ones they had low productivity while the second largest rootstock ‘G.30’ was the most productive on a hectare basis. ‘G.210’ was the second most productive rootstock but much smaller than ‘G.30’. ‘M.9’ was the smallest rootstock and failed to adequately fill the space in all systems except the SS, and had low cumulative yield. Cumulative yield efficiency was lowest for all training systems with ‘B.118’ and ‘M.7’. However, the highest values were on VA with ‘M.9’, ‘G.16’, ‘G.11’, ‘G.41’, ‘G.210’, ‘M.26’ and ‘G.935’, and SS with ‘M.26’ and ‘G.210’. Independent of the training system, ‘M.7’ trees had the highest number of root suckers. Fruit quality traits were not affected by training system, rootstock or system × rootstock combination, except for soluble solids content. ‘Super Chief Delicious’ fruits from most of the rootstocks had similar SSC, except for those from ‘G.935’ which had slightly lower SSC.