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Rootstocks and Nursery Tree Quality

    Finding more precocious and productive rootstocks adapted to South African conditions is integral to our orchard of the future vision. For this reason, various pome and stone fruit rootstocks are evaluated in an increasing number of industry trials in commercial orchards.

    Hortgro Science has appointed Provar to run new rootstock trials with input from Hortgro and the rootstock evaluation committee. Together with the new funding strategy of rootstock evaluation, which involves co-funding by IP owners and licensees, this increases the number of trials that are conducted. More trials mean better data and hopefully earlier and more confident recommendations regarding new rootstocks.

    New apple rootstock evaluation sites will be planted to dwarfing rootstocks in the Highveld region where Western Cape results are not applicable due to the milder summer climate, planting under nets and fertile soils. A new pear rootstock evaluation trial was initiated with plantings set for four production regions.

    Other rootstock research is aimed at characterising new rootstocks in terms of adaptation and disease and pest tolerance. Various projects were established to evaluate the susceptibility of rootstocks to Phytophthora, Rosellinia, woolly apple aphids, plant parasitic nematodes and replant disease. A new project will be initiated in 2023 to study the cause of galls on apple nursery trees, which has posed a serious challenge to nurseries and apple growers during 2022.

    EXPERTISE: ROOTSTOCK AND NURSERY TREE QUALITY WORKGROUP | ROOTSTOCK EVALUATION COMMITTEE

    Research Team

    • Dr Xolani Siboza
    • Dr Iwan Labuschagne
    • Prof Stephanie Midgley
    • Dr Nigel Cook
    • Mr Tristan Dorfling
    • Prof Adele McLeod
    • Mr Chad van Wyk
    • Mr Wouter Visser
    • Mr Marno van der Westhuizen
    • Ms Lindsay Muchena – PhD student
    • Ms Buhle Ngidi – MSc student

    Projects list

    • Optimising true-to-typeness testing in rootstock trials for cost-effective results. (T Dorfling)
    • Quantifying the effect of scion/rootstock combinations, graft type and time after grafting on graft union strength. (T Dorfling)
    • Apple rootstock influence on Granny Smith scion growth, productivity and fruit green colour. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of pear rootstocks for Packham’s Triumph at Jackal River Farm, Vyeboom. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of pear rootstocks for Forelle at La Plaisante, Wolseley. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of pear rootstocks for Cheeky at La Plaisante, Wolseley. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of new apple rootstocks representing three vigour classes (Morester and Oak Valley). (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of new apple rootstocks representing two vigour classes in two growing areas (Molteno, Bokveldskloof & Oewerzicht). (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Growth synchronisation of stone fruit rootstocks and scions with different chilling requirements. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of new plum rootstocks for South African fruit industry. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of new peach rootstocks for South African fruit industry. (C van Wyk)
    • New apple rootstock plantings in the Highveld region. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of apple rootstock cultivars for woolly apple aphid resistance. (M F Addison)
    • Evaluation of apple rootstocks tolerance against specific apple replant disease (SARD) (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of pear rootstocks on different scions. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of apple rootstocks representing three vigour classes in three growing areas of South Africa. (T Dorfling) [Abstract]
    • The stability of productivity and fruit quality traits of 'Fuji' apples on different rootstocks [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of peach and nectarine rootstocks for the South African fruit industry in association with IP owners at Vaalwater. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of plum rootstocks for the South African fruit industry in association with IP owners at Simondium. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of plum rootstocks for South African Industry: Robertson planting. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Evaluation of peach rootstocks for South African fruit industry: Rawsonville planting. (C van Wyk) [Abstract]
    • Sensitivity of various apple rootstocks to water stress. (S Midgley) [Abstract]
    • Quantifying the role of vapour pressure deficit in the development of lenticel breakdown in Braeburn apples (D Viljoen and E Lötze) [Abstract]
    • Establishing quantitative relationships between water relations, growth, yield and quality of high-performing commercial apple orchards (S Midgley) – See Irrigation and nutrition [Abstract]
    • Development of a best practice guideline for the construction of dwarfing rootstock support structures (W Visser) – See Farming Technology [Abstract]
    • Screening of apple rootstocks for resistance against the most prevalent Pratylenchus species affecting orchards in South Africa (R Knoetze) – See Nematology [Abstract]

     

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