which rootstock? Ben Brown Industry Liaison Manager
Growers are probably aware of the increasing number of rootstocks being imported from around the world and now available in Australia for almond production. Each of these rootstocks is said to have certain beneficial characteristics, and whilst this brings about numerous opportunities, it also generates more questions and can create some confusion. In this article I will attempt to provide some simplicity and assistance to those of you thinking about an alternative rootstock.
and communicate important messages to the above ground components of the plant influencing stomatal conductance, shoot growth, fruit growth and ultimately fruit yield. When faced with limiting factors rootstock choice is critical as tree health and fruit yield will not be realised and the wrong choice will only be rectified by uprooting the orchard, so please make the decision carefully. For those who are not aware the Australian industry has two rootstock projects underway which will provide critical information over the coming years: 1. Field evaluation trial - A four hectare statistical design and planting of fifteen rootstocks was planted in August 2013. This will be of particular benefit in a few years once the trees mature and will include numerous assessments, including yield. 2. Root knot nematode (RKN) screening trial – A glasshouse based experiment to fast track the knowledge of rootstock susceptibility to RKN. This project began in late 2012 and will be completed by December 2013. All fifteen rootstocks from the field trial have been purposely inoculated with various pathotypes of RKN from a CSIRO collection and from local almond orchards. RKN susceptibility will be rated based on the ability of the female nematodes to reproduce and proliferate on the root system, a very successful system that’s been used in the grape vine industry. Continued...
The characteristics of a rootstock are often forgotten about or poorly taken into account as they are not as apparent – they are hidden under the ground. The scion on the other hand is well known due to its visible, above ground morphological characteristics such as flowering, growth habit, kernel quality, etc. Nevertheless, the rootstock is 50% of a fruit tree and must symbiotically and mutually interact with the scion to optimise fruit production. It does this by providing a root system that when functioning correctly, will absorb water and nutrients
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