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Rootstocks affect pear (Pyrus communis) tree growth through extent of node neoformation and flowering with key differences to apple

Rootstocks affect pear (Pyrus communis) tree growth through extent of node neoformation and flowering with key differences to apple

Functional Plant Biology: Fpb 39(6): 493-502

ISSN/ISBN: 1445-4416

PMID: 32480800

Improved knowledge of rootstock effects on pear (Pyrus communis L.) tree development is required before early assessment of rootstock breeding populations can be improved. Two cultivars, 'Doyenne du Comice' and 'Concorde', were grafted on Pyrus calleryana Decne. (vigorous), Quince BA29 (semi-vigorous) and Quince C (semi-dwarfing) rootstocks. Growth of the compound trees was studied over 2 years after grafting and flowering was recorded in the spring of the third year. Using architectural analysis, annual shoot types common to all treatments and closely connected to the patterns of extension of preformed and neoformed metamers were identified and the differences among rootstock vigour treatments were quantified by proportions of these shoot types. Rootstock affected node neoformation, which was highest in the treatment with P. calleryana. The extent of sylleptic branching varied among the treatments, whereas the budbreak along the primary-axis in the second year of growth was unaffected, hence, the number of proleptic secondary axes was largely determined the primary-axis node number developed in year one. Spring flowering first occurred in the third year of tree growth and its intensity was influenced by rootstock. Quince C, the least vigorous rootstock, produced the highest number of floral buds. Flowering was delayed in young pear trees compared with apple, as shown in previous studies, so we conclude flowering does not play such a pivotal role in secondary axes development and early tree dwarfing by rootstock as has been observed in apple.

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