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Performance of six European plum cultivars on four plum rootstocks growing in a northern climate

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Abstract

The performances of the plum rootstocks Marianna GF 8-1, Pixy, and Wangenheim, compared with St. Julien A as a standard, for the cultivars ‘Avalon’, ‘Edda’, ‘Excalibur’, ‘Jubileum’, ‘Reeves’, and ‘Victoria’ were assessed in a field trial in western Norway at 60° North. Trees were planted in spring 1999; the plant material was one-year-old whips, spaced 2.0×4.5 m and formed with a central leader as free spindles. Tree vigour, yield, fruit size, fruit quality, and yield efficiency were evaluated for the seven subsequent years. Tree size was significantly affected by the rootstocks after seven years' growth. Wangenheim produced the smallest and St. Julien A and Pixy the largest trees as measured by trunk cross-sectional area, on average for the different cultivars. However, Pixy produced significant larger yields per tree for the cultivar ‘Reeves’ than did St. Julien A. ‘Edda’ gave the smallest yield and ‘Avalon the largest. Trees on Pixy were the most yield efficient for all cultivars with the exception of ‘Victoria’. The fruit sizes became little affected by the different rootstocks. ‘Edda’ and ‘Victoria’ produced the smallest fruits and ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Reeves’ the largest. Fruit quality characterized by the content of soluble solids was on average 16.1% and did not differ between trees on the various rootstocks. The cultivar ‘Avalon’ had the highest contents of soluble solids and ‘Reeves’ the lowest. The nutrient levels in the leaves were within the optimum range by the end of the seventh season. Trees on Marianna GF 8-1 had the highest nitrogen and magnesium leaf uptake. In conclusion, St. Julien A and Pixy were the most reliable semi-vigorous rootstocks which induced high yield efficiency and with favourable influences on fruit quality to the six European plum cultivars. Pixy is a good alternative to St. Julien A, with a lower vigour in trees, more precocity, and higher yield efficiency.
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Performance of six European plum cultivars on four plum rootstocks
growing in a northern climate
Mekjell Melanda
a Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Lofthus, Norway
First published on: 15 September 2009
To cite this Article Meland, Mekjell(2010) 'Performance of six European plum cultivars on four plum rootstocks growing
in a northern climate', Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B - Plant Soil Science, 60: 4, 381 — 387, First published
on: 15 September 2009 (iFirst)
To link to this Article: DOI: 10.1080/09064710903103917
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Performance of six European plum cultivars on four plum rootstocks
growing in a northern climate
MEKJELL MELAND
Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Bioforsk Vest Ullensvang, N-5781 Lofthus, Norway
Abstract
The performances of the plum rootstocks Marianna GF 8-1, Pixy, and Wangenheim, compared with St. Julien A as a
standard, for the cultivars ‘Avalon’, ‘Edda’, ‘Excalibur’, ‘Jubileum’, ‘Reeves’, and ‘Victoria’ were assessed in a field trial
in western Norway at 608North. Trees were planted in spring 1999; the plant material was one-year-old whips, spaced
2.04.5 m and formed with a central leader as free spindles. Tree vigour, yield, fruit size, fruit quality, and yield efficiency
were evaluated for the seven subsequent years. Tree size was significantly affected by the rootstocks after seven years’
growth. Wangenheim produced the smallest and St. Julien A and Pixy the largest trees as measured by trunk cross-sectional
area, on average for the different cultivars. However, Pixy produced significant larger yields per tree for the cultivar ‘Reeves’
than did St. Julien A. ‘Edda’ gave the smallest yield and ‘Avalon the largest. Trees on Pixy were the most yield efficient for all
cultivars with the exception of ‘Victoria’. The fruit sizes became little affected by the different rootstocks. ‘Edda’ and
‘Victoria’ produced the smallest fruits and ‘Excalibur’ and ‘Reeves’ the largest. Fruit quality characterized by the content of
soluble solids was on average 16.1% and did not differ between trees on the various rootstocks. The cultivar ‘Avalon’ had the
highest contents of soluble solids and ‘Reeves’ the lowest. The nutrient levels in the leaves were within the optimum range by
the end of the seventh season. Trees on Marianna GF 8-1 had the highest nitrogen and magnesium leaf uptake. In
conclusion, St. Julien A and Pixy were the most reliable semi-vigorous rootstocks which induced high yield efficiency and
with favourable influences on fruit quality to the six European plum cultivars. Pixy is a good alternative to St. Julien A, with
a lower vigour in trees, more precocity, and higher yield efficiency.
Keywords: Fruit quality, high density,mineral leaf analysis, Prunus domestica L., tree size,yield,yield efficiency.
Introduction
To make plum production economically viable,
dwarfing rootstocks are needed to establish high-
density orchards ensuring easier management and
lower production costs. Few pruning and high-
density experiments have been carried out on
European plum. One reason for this is lack of
dwarfing rootstocks, but apparently there are also
minor interests in general to do research with plums.
However, already in the 1960s and 1970s, Preston &
Beryl Beakbane (1974) conducted research on
pruning of ‘Victoria’ plums. Traditionally, European
plum trees are medium in size and are mainly trained
as a central-leader, grafted on the clonal rootstock
St. Julien A with minimum pruning.
During the last few decades the rootstock
St. Julien A has been recommended as a reliable
semi-dwarf rootstock with favourable influences on
fruit size and fruit quality (Husabø, 1971; Ystaas &
Frøynes, 1993) for European plums. However, trees
on St. Julien A are considered to be too vigorous to
meet the demand for high-density plantings together
with early and high crops, and so a more dwarfing
and precocious rootstock is wanted. Meland (2005)
tested four different single-row planting systems
(vertical axis, free spindle, hedgerow, and Y-trellis)
and three planting densities (12505000 trees per
ha) of three scion cultivars all grafted on St. Julien A.
During the first four cropping years, the yields per ha
were positively correlated with tree density, and large
crop loads were recorded of high fruit quality.
In the 1980s and 1990s increased research activ-
ities were conducted on plums (Hartman, 1994;
Grzyb et al., 1998). Several new plum rootstocks
Correspondence: Dr. Mekjell Meland, Norwegian Institute for Agricultural and Environmental Research, Bioforsk Vest Ullensvang, N-5781 Lofthus, Norway.
E-mail: mekjell.meland@bioforsk.no
Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica Section B Soil and Plant Science, 2010; 60: 381387
(Received 27 Febr uary 2009; accepted 9 June 2009)
ISSN 0906-4710 print/ISSN 1651-1913 online #2010 Taylor & Francis
DOI: 10.1080/09064710903103917
Downloaded By: [Meland, Mekjell] At: 13:35 23 September 2010
were introduced (Webster, 1980; Grzyb et al., 1984;
Renaud & Salesses, 1991) and some of these have
been claimed to be dwarfing. The rootstock Pixy was
selected at East Malling, England and is a St. Julien-
type rootstock of the Prunus insititia L. species.
According to Webster (1980) mature trees on Pixy
were about two-thirds the size of St. Julien A. The
rootstock Marianna is Prunus cerasifera Egrh.
P. munsoniana Wight and is intermediate in vigour
(Glen, 1961). However, the triploid open-pollinated
seedling of Marianna, GF 8-1 is rather vigorous
(Renaud & Salesses, 1994). Wangenheim is Eur-
opean plum seedling (German prune) with dwarfing
growth characteristics. It is precocious, gives an
increase in production per unit of growth, and does
not produce root suckers (Rozpara & Grzyb, 1998).
Rozpara & Grzyb (2007) tested the effect of the
Wangenheim Prune seedling on the growth and
cropping to some plum cultivars. Under Polish
conditions this rootstock has been more prolific
and has reduced tree growth compared with Myr-
obalan. Sitarek et al. (2004) found that the seedling
rootstock Wangenheim Prune and the clonal root-
stock Pixy had similar vigour after nine years when
grafted on five scion cultivars, but that Wangenheim
Prune had higher yield efficiency.
During the last decade new plum cultivars have
been introduced to Norwegian fruit growers. The
Swedish cultivars Jubileum(Werlemark, 1995) and
the Canadian cultivar Reeves(Brooks & Olmo,
1997) have significant production acreages already.
In addition there is increasing interest in planting
the English cultivars Avalonand Excalibur(Jones,
1988). All these cultivars are vigorous in growth
and a size-controlling and productive rootstock is
wanted.
The main objective of this trial was to seek ways to
improve the early yields of high-quality fruits of six
plum cultivars by testing four rootstocks of different
vigour levels.
Materials and methods
During the period 19992005, the agronomical
behaviour of six commercially important plum
cultivars grafted on four plum rootstocks was eval-
uated at Ullensvang Research Centre, western Nor-
way. The rootstocks were Pixy, Wangenheim, and
Marianna GF 8-1 with St. Julien A as a standard. In
order of ripening time from mid-August to mid-
September the plum cultivars were Edda,Avalon,
Excalibur,Victoria,Reeves, and Jubileum. The
trees were planted in July 1999 as one-year-old
whips, spaced 2 4 m (1250 trees per ha) in single
rows, staked, and trained as free spindle trees. The
leader was cut back at planting and annually until
the final tree height was about 2.5 m and the
branches were tied down to the horizontal.
The 48 trees were arranged in a 46 factorial
randomized tree design with four blocks, six root-
stocks of the same cultivar on the small plots and the
four cultivars on the large plots. In each plot there were
two trees of similar cultivar/rootstock combination.
Soil management consisted of frequently mown
grass in the alleyways and herbicide strips 1-m wide
along the tree rows. The experiment was carried out
on a loamy sand soil with about 4% organic matter
and with good fertility. The trees were trickle
irrigated based on evapotranspiration measure-
ments. All trees each received the same amounts of
fertilizer based on commercial standard. Spring
broadcast application of fertilizers were added an-
nually and in the last experimental year 2005 the
application was 25 kg N, 13 kg P, and 45 kg K per ha.
In addition, spring dolomitic limestone (52% CaO)
was broadcast, 2 tons per ha. The cultivar Opal,
which is self-compatible, has coincidence in the
blooming period and is inter-compatible with other
cultivars, served as a pollinator cultivar and as guard
trees.
The amount of bloom was recorded by visually
rating the bloom only in 2002 on a scale of 1 (no
bloom) to 9 (very heavy flowering). Each spring, the
number of healthy trees was recorded.
Fruit thinning was done by hand whenever
necessary with the aim of spacing the fruitlets to
about 5 cm apart by the end of June each year. Trunk
circumference, 25 cm above the graft union, was
recorded each fall (autumn) and trunk cross-sec-
tional area (TCSA) calculated. By the end of the
seventh growing season, at the end of August, 25
leaves from the middle of current year shoots of each
tree were sampled and dried at 708C. For determi-
nation of K, Mg, Ca, and P in the leaves, the plant
material was digested in a 1:2:5 mixture of sulfuric,
perchloric, and nitric acids, respectively (Oland &
Opland, 1956). The determination of cations was
achieved by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
Total organic nitrogen was determined by the
Kjeldahl method using selenium as a catalyst. The
individual trees were picked twice with about a week
apart in order to improve the fruit quality. Total crop
was taken from each tree at harvest and graded
according to current commercial standards (grade 1
38 mm, grade 2 B38 mm fruit diameter). Indivi-
dual fruit weights were determined on random
samples of 50 fruits per small plot from the first
harvest. From these samples 10 fruits were taken to
the laboratory for determination of soluble solids
using an Atago digital refractometer at 208C.
382 M. Meland
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Statistical analysis
The data were evaluated by using the Anova
(analysis of variance) procedure in the statistical
program Minitab 15 statistical software (Minitab
Inc., USA) testing the difference between the crop-
load parameters. The main effects of thinning time
and tinning level were analysed for linear trends.
Unless noted otherwise, only results significant at
P50.05 are discussed.
Results
Tree sur vival, growth, and tree vigour
The trees survived poorly on Wangenheim. Only
40% of the trees survived the first season equally
distributed between the cultivars Victoria,Edda,
and Reeves. For Marianna GF 8-1, 88% of the
trees survived and were still alive by the end of the
experiment. Growth and survival of trees of the two
other rootstocks were good with 100 percent survival
during this time period. Except for the tree losses,
the other trees established rapidly and produced
good vegetative growth during the first seven grow-
ing years.
Tree vigour as measured by TCSA at the end of
the seventh growing season was significantly affected
by rootstocks (Table I). On average for all the
cultivars, St. Julien A and Marianna GF 8-1 were
the most vigorous rootstocks and formed the largest
trees, significantly larger than Pixy and Wangen-
heim. Large differences in tree vigour of different
cultivars were registered too. The TCSA of Edda
was less than half of that of the most vigorous
cultivar, Excalibur. The cultivars Reevesand
Avalonwere intermediate in tree size. No statisti-
cally significant interactions were recorded between
scions and rootstocks. Trees on St. Julien A and
Marianna GF 8-1 were largest on the cultivars
Avalon,Excalibur, and Reeves. The Wangen-
heim rootstock gave significant smaller trees for the
cultivars Edda,Victoria,Reeves, and Jubileum
compared with St. Julien A. However, there was a
growth reduction for the cultivars Avalonand
Excaliburtoo.
Flowering and yield
During bloom in the fourth growing season the
different cultivar/rootstock combinations were given
scores for amount of flower clusters (Table II). There
were significantly more flower clusters on Pixy than
on the other rootstocks. The three others had about
the same amount. The cultivar Reeveshad the
lowest scores of number of flower clusters and
Avalonthe highest scores.
All cultivars came slowly into bearing and the first
significant crop was not recorded before the fourth
leaf. Cumulative yield per tree (20022005) on
average for the different cultivars was at same level
for St. Julien A, Pixy, and Marianna GF 8-1, but
significantly less for Wangenheim (Table II). The
effects of rootstocks on yield were quite different
amongst the cultivars tested. Edda, which is mature
in the first half of August, was the least productive of
the cultivars tested, producing only 1/3 of the crop of
the most productive cultivars like Avalonand Vic-
tora.Eddacame slowly into production (Figure 1).
The largest crop was recorded in the sixth leaf and the
tree did not manage to come into the same crop load-
level the year after. Wangenheim gave significantly less
crop than did the other rootstocks.
The other cultivars were mature in mid-Septem-
ber. A similar pattern was observed for Avalonwith
lower yields on Wangenheim (Figure 2), but this
cultivar was much more productive. The yield
increased gradually to the 6th leaf for all rootstocks
except Pixy. Trees on Excaliburand Victoria
(Figures 3 and 4) had no significant differences in
yield patterns between the different rootstocks. The
yields increased gradually and reached a level of
about 15 kg per tree at the 7th leaf. Victoriais a
productive cultivar which crops annually and has
moderate vigour. Reevesis a vigorous cultivar,
which comes slowly into bearing (Figure 5). Trees
Table I. Trunk cross-sectional area (TCSA, cm
2
) of plum trees at the end of the seventh growing season. Main effects of four rootstocks and
six cultivars, averaged figures. NSNot significant at P0.05.
Cultivar
Rootstock ‘Edda’ ‘Avalon’ ‘Excalibur’ ‘Victoria’ ‘Reeves’ ‘Jubileum’
St. Julien A 32.7 53.4 74.5 39.6 47.8 31.1
Pixy 31.7 45 39.9 28.3 42.8 30.6
Wangenheim 20.1 34.5 57.4 29.8 26.4 21.9
Marianna GF 8-1 47.0 48.2 65.8 47.7 60.0 27.6
LSD. P0.05 7.1 13.9 15.9 8.0 12.0 NS
Performance of four plum rootstocks 383
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on Pixy had the highest yields, producing signifi-
cantly more than those on St. Julien A, Wangenheim,
and Marianna. Jubileumstarted to crop early and
was a good cropper as well (Figure 6). Trees on St.
Julien A and Pixy had the largest accumulated yields
but these were not significantly larger than for the
two other rootstocks.
Fruit size and quality
Important quality components like fruit weight and
soluble solids were not much influenced by the
different rootstocks. The rootstocks did not have
any significant effect on mean fruit sizes for the
different cultivars. Smallest fruit size was recorded
on the Eddaand Victoriaplums (Table II). The
four other cultivars produced much larger fruits. For
all cultivars the fruit weight decreased with increas-
ing crop (data not shown). In general the sugar
content was high, on average 16.1%. Mean soluble
solid contents were independent of the four root-
stocks tested. However, the cultivars Excaliburand
Reeveshad significantly less soluble solid content
than did the other cultivars. The rootstocks did not
influence the percentage of grade 1 plums. The
cultivars Avalon,Excalibur,andReevesall had
more than 90% of the fruit in that category.
Victoria, a rather small-fruited cultivar if not
properly thinned, had the lowest percentage of grade
1 fruit of all the cultivars.
Yield efficiency
Yearly the yield efficiency was calculated for each
rootstock and cultivar on the basis of yield per tree
Table II. Effects of six plum cultivars and four rootstocks on trunk-cross-sectional area (TCSA, cm
2
) by the end of the seventh season,
cumulative yield, average fruit weight, average yield efciency (kg per unit TCSA), average percentage of class 1 fruit, and scores for
amount of ower clusters in the fourth season.
TCSA (cm
2
)
Cumulative yield/
tree (kg)
Fruit
weight (g)
Soluble
solids (%) Efficiency
Percent
grade 1
Bloom 2003
(19)
1
Cultivar
Edda33.8 9.6 43.1 17.4 0.100 85 3.8
Avalon45.3 28.8 51.1 18.4 0.257 92 4.4
Excalibur59.4 19.2 59.8 14.6 0.148 94 2.8
Victoria39.5 29.2 41.9 15.7 0.312 71 2.5
Reeves46.8 17.6 58.8 14.5 0.182 92 1.8
Jubileum28.0 22.8 55.5 16.3 0.351 84 3.9
LSD. P0.05 10.4 7.5 6.4 1.5 0.173 15 0.9
Significance
2
*** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Rootstock
St. Julien A 46.7 22.8 52.7 16.0 0.221 86 2.9
Pixy 36.7 21.8 52.1 16.4 0.262 85 4.8
Wangenheim 35.2 16.8 54.3 15.9 0.252 87 2.4
Marianna GF 8-1 49.6 20.6 50.1 16.0 0.183 87 2.4
LSD. P0.05 NS NS NS NS NS NS 1.8
Cultivarrootstock NS NS NS NS NS NS NS
1
1No flowering, 9abundant flowering of the trees.
2
NS, *** Indicate not significant, or significant at P0.001.
0.00
1.00
2.00
3.00
4.00
5.00
6.00
7.00
8.00
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Yield, kg per tree
St. Julien A
Pixy
Wangenheim
Marianna GF 8-1
Figure 1. Effects of four different rootstocks on annual yield
(kg per tree) (20012005) of the cultivar Eddaplanted in 1999.
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Yield, kg per tree
St. Julien A
Pixy
Wangenheim
Marianna GF 8-1
Figure 2. Effects of four different rootstocks on annual yield (kg
per tree) (20012005) of the cultivar Avalonplanted in 1999.
384 M. Meland
Downloaded By: [Meland, Mekjell] At: 13:35 23 September 2010
and TCSA. The most yield-efficient trees on average
for the cultivars were Pixy. This effect was most
pronounced on the cultivars Edda,Avalon, and
Excalibur. The efficiency of Wangenheim was less
than Pixy, followed by St. Julien A and Marianna GF
8-1 rootstocks as the least efficient. Trees on
Wangenheim were the most yield efficient for
Reevesand Jubileumand for Victoriaon St.
Julien A. The cultivar Eddahad the lowest effi-
ciency of the cultivars tested, and Victoriaand
Jubileumthe highest. In general the efficiency
reflected the yields obtained.
Foliar mineral contents
The leaf concentration of the major nutrients N, P,
K, Mg and Ca in shoot leaves on average for the
different rootstocks and cultivars during the last
growing season is presented in Table III. The
mineral content of the plum leaves was significantly
affected by rootstocks. Marianna GF 8-1 had
significantly higher leaf concentration of N and Mg
than did the other rootstocks for all the cultivars
except for N to the cultivars Jubileumand Edda
(data not shown). For the nutrients P, K, and Ca
there were minor and no significant differences. The
cultivars Excaliburand Jubileumhad significantly
lower leaf concentrations of N. For the other
nutrients there were no significant differences. How-
ever, Victoriahad the lowest leaf contents of Ca,
and Mg. No interaction was found between root-
stocks and cultivars for any of the major nutrients.
Discussion
The objectives of commercial fruit production are to
maximize yields with acceptable fruit quality. The
trees in this trial were planted as one-year-old whips.
The first low yield was not achieved until the fourth
leaf. Planting of two-year-old and feathered trees is
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
18.0
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Yield, kg per tree
St. Julien A
Pixy
Wangenheim
Marianna GF 8-1
Figure 4. Effects of four different rootstocks on annual yield (kg
per tree) (20012005) of the cultivar Victoriaplanted in 1999.
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Yield, kg per tree
St. Julien A
Pixy
Wangenheim
Marianna GF 8-1
Figure 5. Effects of four different rootstocks on annual yield (kg
per tree) (20012005) of the cultivar Reevesplanted in 1999.
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Yield, kg per tree
St. Julien A
Pixy
Wangenheim
Marianna GF 8-1
Figure 6. Effects of four different rootstocks on annual yield (kg
per tree) (20012005) of the cultivar Jubileumplanted in 1999.
0.0
2.0
4.0
6.0
8.0
10.0
12.0
14.0
16.0
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
Year
Yield, kg per tree
St. Julien A
Pixy
Wangenheim
Marianna GF 8-1
Figure 3. Effects of four different rootstocks on annual yield (kg
per tree) (20012005) of the cultivar Excaliburplanted in 1999.
Performance of four plum rootstocks 385
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recommended in order to reduce the time from
planting to cropping. However, European plum trees
are generally slow to come into bearing, which was
clearly demonstrated in this study.
At the location of this trial in western Norway, it is
uncommon to experience any winter injury. How-
ever, during the first years trees were lost on the
rootstocks Marianna GF 8-1 and Wangenheim. For
Wangenheim the tree losses were predominantly on
the cultivars Edda,Avalon,Reeves,andVic-
toriaand for Marianna on the cultivars Eddaand
Jubileum. It is likely that some rootstock and scion
incompatibility was the reason for these trees dying.
Tree vigour as affected by the different rootstocks
confirmed partly what is found elsewhere. The
rootstock St. Julien A can be characterized as semi-
vigorous and our results confirm results found by
Ystaas & Frøynes, (1993) and Ystaas et al. (1994).
The rootstock Marianna GF 8-1 induced strong
growth for three cultivars. According to the older
literature, this rootstock is classified as semi-dwarf-
ing (Christensen, 1965; Husabø, 1971). However, in
Dutch trials with the cultivar Victoria, Marianna
GF 8-1 grew similarly to the standard (Wertheim &
Kemp, 1998). In France Marianna GF 8-1 is known
to be a vigorous rootstock that can be used on many
soil types (Wertheim, 1998). The Wangenheim
rootstock was the most dwarfing out of the four
different ones tested. This is in accord with results
found by Rozpara & Grzyb (2007). Pixy gave growth
reduction to the most vigorous cultivars like Ava-
lon,Excalibur, and Jubileumand to the same
extent as Webster (1980) has reported.
There were differences in crop loads between the
different cultivars. At the seventh leaf the cultivars
Avalon,Victoria,andJubileumwere the most
productive. However, precocity, which means early
production, is an important trait of rootstocks used
in high-density planting systems (Wertheim, 1989).
The cumulative yield is built up by rootstock vigour
and canopy size. At this stage the trees of the
different rootstock and cultivar combinations filled
up their allotted space. The semi-vigorous rootstocks
St. Julien A and Pixy were the most productive for all
cultivars. However, the cultivar Reeves, which is
very vigorous and slow to come into production,
gave surprisingly good yields when grafted on Pixy.
At bloom time in the fourth leaf the abundances of
flowering were judged. Across all cultivar and root-
stock combinations the Pixy rootstock produced the
highest scores and this effect was clearly demon-
strated for the cultivar Reeves. Wangenheim gave
surprisingly low yields in this study. In Polish
experiments Rozpara and Grzyb (2007) found that
Wangenheim Prune seedling as a rootstock to eigh-
teen plum cultivars was precocious and reduced the
growth compared to the vigorous Myrobalan.
Fruit size and the content of soluble solids are
important components of plum quality (Vangdal,
1985). These components were not strongly influ-
enced by the rootstocks and only minor differences
were found. However, clear differences were found
between the cultivars, which were expected.
The effects of rootstocks on the foliar nutrient
levels showed that Marianna GF 8-1 had higher
uptake of the nutrients N and Mg. However, for all
rootstocks and cultivars the nutrient levels were
within the optimum range recommended in Scandi-
navia, namely 0.150.30% P, 0.200.40% Mg, 2.0
2.8% K, 1.02.1% Ca, and 2.02.5% N (Vang-
Pedersen, 1989; Ystaas & Frøynes, 1995a). It is well
known that nutrient uptake will vary with the year
(Ystaas & Frøynes, 1995b). However, the uptake of
plant-available nutrients of the major elements
showed that there were no problems with deficiency
which could have reduced the growth and cropping
of the trees. Differences in leaf concentration of
major nutrients between trees on different rootstocks
are likewise attributable to the inherent capacity of
the rootstock to absorb nutrients. Otherwise there
may be different translocation capacities or induced
lower leaf concentrations due to a dilution effect
from vigorous rootstocks.
Table III. Effects of four rootstocks on foliar nutrition levels by
the end of the seventh growing season of six plum cultivars.
Percentage of dry matter.
N P Ca Mg K
Cultivar
Edda2.38 0.23 2.05 0.28 2.56
Avalon2.59 0.24 2.12 0.28 2.43
Excalibur2.22 0.25 2.03 0.30 2.72
Victoria2.47 0.30 1.86 0.27 2.13
Reeves2.52 0.25 1.91 0.26 2.33
Jubileum2.21 0.30 2.04 0.27 2.55
LSD. P0.05 0.16 NS NS 0.05 NS
Significance
1
*** NS NS NS NS
Rootstock
St. Julien A 2.39 0.24 2.15 0.28 2.60
Pixy 2.23 0.29 1.88 0.25 2.38
Wangenheim 2.38 0.25 2.03 0.27 2.48
Marianna GF 8-1 2.51 0.26 1.93 0.31 2.44
LSD. P0.05 0.16 NS NS 0.05 NS
Significance
1
*** NS NS ** NS
Cultivarrootstock NS NS NS NS NS
1
NS, *
*,
*** Indicate not significant, or significant at P0.01 or
0.001, respectively.
386 M. Meland
Downloaded By: [Meland, Mekjell] At: 13:35 23 September 2010
The rootstocks tested produced tree vigour from
semi-dwarf to semi-vigorous. St. Julien A and Pixy
were the most reliable semi-vigorous rootstocks
which induced high yield efficiency and with favour-
able influences on fruit quality for six European
plum cultivars. Pixy is a good alternative to St. Julien
A, with a lower vigour in trees, more precocity, and
higher yield efficiency.
Acknowledgements
The author thanks the Norwegian Ministry of
Agriculture and Food for nancing the work. He
also thanks Magne Eivind Moe for technical assis-
tance in the eld work and Sigrid Flatland for the
fruit-quality assessment work.
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