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Completed project

Comparing the performance of new cherry rootstocks soon to be available to industry (CY12010)

Key research provider: Scientific Horticulture
Publication date: Friday, June 2, 2017

What was it all about?

The choice of rootstock in tree fruits is critical for the commercial viability and productivity of the orchard. While the effects of rootstocks on tree size, productivity and disorder resistance are well known for many rootstocks, this information is lacking for recently introduced dwarfing cherry rootstocks in Australia.

Running from 2012 to 2017, this project set out to generate this information and investigate the use of bench grafted trees in orchard establishment, to reduce the cost of planting and as a means of rapidly establishing the new rootstocks.

Three identical trials were established, each in a different major cherry growing district. The project identified that graft take, and hence tree propagation, on the new dwarfing rootstocks is more difficult than the current industry standards.

This means that the use of bench grafted trees for orchard establishment cannot be recommended, as successful grafting in this situation can be expected to be below 50 per cent – resulting in significant re-grafting costs over several seasons, uneven orchard development and delayed return on investment.

The research team recommend that it is better to contain this poor graft take to the nursery and to invest in planting new orchards with established nursery trees to ensure even and productive orchard development.

While this set of trials was not established to study the impact of cherry replant disorder the data suggested that this disorder may occur in cherries and have a significant impact on replanted tree and orchard performance.

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Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation

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