Good Fruit Grower

September 1

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 27 of 39

28 SEPTEMBER 2015 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Northwest pear industry to spend $200,000 to help launch program. by Geraldine Warner T he Pacific Northwest fresh pear industry will allocate more than $200,000 over the next three years to launch a pear rootstock breeding program in Washington. A dwarfing pear rootstock would enable pear growers to shift to more efficient production sys- tems and use labor-saving equipment, as has happened in apples thanks to rootstocks like Malling 9. "It's exciting that the pear industry has recognized that this will help them move forward into that next stage of production," said Dr. Kate Evans, Washington State University's pome fruit breeder in Wenatchee. "Think about the huge advantages you have in apple production because of dwarfing root- stocks and high-density plantings, and all the mechanization you can bring in." Small trees and fruiting walls also produce fruit of more consistent maturity than the big, old trees that are still common in the pear industry, research shows. It's almost a century since Malling 9 was dis- covered as a chance seedling in France. Though many more dwarfing apple rootstocks have been introduced since then, there has been much less effort directed towards developing Pyrus rootstocks for pears. That's partly because pear growers in other parts of the world have been able to shift to high-density systems using quince (Cydonia) rootstocks. Before joining WSU in 2008, Evans worked for East Malling Research in England, where she released the Quince H rootstock. Quince H is being used with success in Europe, particularly in Italy. Even in Poland, which has cold winters, growers use dwarfing quince rootstocks with the idea that they will just replace the orchard if the trees succumb to cold, perhaps once every 20 years or so. They still find the plantings to be profitable. But quince is not thought to be cold hardy enough for the Pacific Northwest. Also, some rootstock-variety combinations are better than others, and there are reports that d'Anjou, Washington's top pear variety, is not productive on quince. Crosses With the new funding, Evans plans to start a rootstock breeding program in Wenatchee. WSU already has some crosses between Bartlett, d'Anjou, and Comice that were made by a graduate student for a previous project. WSU genomicist Dr. Amit Dhingra has been maintaining that material in Pullman. Recent research at Oregon State University in Corvallis revealed that the Old Home x Farmingdale 87 rootstock, which is widely used in the Northwest, was misnamed and is actually a cross of Old Home and Bartlett. (See "Old Home x Bartlett?" in the December 2013, Good Fruit Grower.) "That made us think that perhaps there was some value in looking at some of those Bartlett seedlings we had," Evans said. "We had this material, so why not?" Initial screening shows a wide variation in vigor. Some of the most promising candidates will be planted in Wenatchee for a small-scale trial to find out how well they control the vigor and size of commercial pear variet- ies used as the scions. Dhingra is also looking at how well they would propagate. A common problem with Pyrus rootstocks is they don't root very well. Quest begins to breed new PEAR rootstock Pears Kate Evans MARCHANT LADDERS, INC. Quality Ladders Since 1978 509-882-1912 Grandview, Washington Heavy Duty Top Bracket Heavy Duty Bottom Step Extra support on longer steps, all steps 3" wide • Buy factory direct • BEST ladder at the BEST price • Available 6 to 16 foot Built of sturdy, lightweight ALUMINUM— Specifically for agriculture "The Standard for the Serious Orchardist" AVOID THE ORCHARD OF NO RETURN WITH SOIL FUMIGATION CALL TODAY TO SCHEDULE YOUR APPLICATION: Northwest Washington: Tim Purcell 360-630-4285 Yakima Valley: Robert Rauert 509-728-2004 Columbia Basin: Jason Rainer 509-731-5424 Okanogon Valley: Adam Zediker 509-828-0691 Oregon: David Sbur 971-563-8848 Office 360-225-3588 Soil fumigation in replanted orchards produces earlier, bigger yields and higher profits—not just in the early years, but over the life of the orchard. Trident Agricultural Products can help you create that orchard. With 30+ years of experience, Trident is the Pacific Northwest's soil fumigation specialist. Trident offers custom application of Telone ® C-17, Telone C-35 and Pic-Clor 60. Applications can be made in tree fruit, hops, grapes, berries and nursery crops. ® Trademark of the Dow Chemical Company ("Dow") or an af�iliated company of Dow. Telone is a federally restricted use pesticide. Always read and follow label directions.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Good Fruit Grower - September 1