Malus germplasm varies in resistance or tolerance to apple replant pathogens in a mixture of New York orchard soils.
Isutsa, Dorcas K. 1
Merwin, Ian A.
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We tested 40 seedling lots and 17 clonal accessions - representing 941 genotypes and 19 species or interspecific hybrids of Malus - for their resistance or tolerance to apple replant disease (ARD) in a mixture of five New York soils with known replant problems. Total plant biomass, root necrosis, root-infesting fungi, and root-lesion nematode (RLN; Pratylenchus penetrans Cobb) or dagger nematode (DN; Xiphinema americanum Cobb) populations were evaluated in apple seedlings and clones grown for ≃60 days in the composite soil. In addition to phytophagous nematodes, various Pythium, Cylindrocarpon, Fusarium, Rhizoctonia and Phytophthora species were isolated from roots grown in the test soil. Plant growth response was categorized by a relative biomass index (RBI), calculated as total plant dry weight in the pasteurized field soil (PS) minus that in an unpasteurized field soil (FS), divided by PS. Nematode reproduction on each genotype was defined by a relative reproduction index (RRI), calculated as final nematode populations in roots and soil (Pf) minus initial soil populations (Pi), divided by Pi. The RBI, RRI, and other responses of accessions to ARD soil were used to rate their resistance, tolerance, or susceptibility to apple replant disease. None of the accessions was completely resistant to ARD pathogens in our test soil. Seedling accessions of M. sieversii Roem. and M. kirghisorum Ponom. appeared to have some tolerance to ARD, based upon their low RRIs and RBIs. Three clonal rootstock accessions (G.65, CG.6210, and G.30), and four other clones (M. baccata Borkh. - 1883.h,M. xanthocarpa Langenf. - Xan, M. spectabilis Borkh. - PI589404, and M. mandshurica Schneid. - 364.s) were categorized as tolerant to ARD. The disease response of other accessions was rated as susceptible or too variable to classify. We concluded that sources of genetic tolerance to ARD exist in Malus germplasm collections and could be used in breeding and selecting clonal rootstocks for improved control of orchard replant pathogens.