Trees of three plum cultivars (Stanley, Cacanska Lepotica and Althann's Gage) were planted at Szigetcsép experimental station in Spring 1994 and trained to slender spindle with the aim to test their growth, effect of productivity under not irrigated conditions and to evaluate the adaptability of rootstock/scion combinations to intensive orchar...ds. As control, trees on Myrobalan C 162/A (P. cerasifera) seedling are planted. In the trial two rootstocks are from Slovakia: Myrobalan MY-KL-A (red leaf) and Myrobalan MY-BO-1, vegetatively propageted. Further on two French rootstocks, the Marianna GF 8-1: Marianna plum (P. cerasifera x P munsoniana) and the Sainte Julien GF 655/2 (P. insititia) were involved. The Hungarian bred plum Fehér besztercei (P. domestica), which is recommended as apricot rootstock is also tested. Rootstocks MY-BO-1 and Fehér besztercei were planted with cultivar Stanley only. Trees were planted to a spacing of 5x3 m trained to slender spindle with 3-4 permanent basal branches. After yield start (1997) trees have been pruned only in summer, after harvest. In the alleyway the natural plant vegetation is mown, the orchard is not irrigated.
Based on tree size, vigorous rootstocks are Marianna GF 8-1 and Myrobalan C 162/A seedling, medium vigorous are MY-BO-I and MYKL-A; vegetative propageted myrobalan plums from Slovakia, while St. Julien GF 655/2 and Feller Besztercei proved to be growth reducing rootstocks. No significant difference between the rootstocks was found in turning to bearing. Under non-irrigated condition at Szigetcsép, cultivar Stanley produced the highest yield per area unit on vigorous rootstock (GF 8-1). The cultivar Althann's Gage produced the highest yield efficiency on Marianna GF 8-1 and they were healthy in the last 10 years. The symptoms of Althann's Gage trees on MY-KL-A rootstock indicate a possible incompatibility. The average fruit weight was significantly influenced by crop load on cultivar Cacanska lepotica, while no statistically proved differences were found on Stanley and Althann's Gage. The Cacanska lepotica trees produced significantly lower yield and larger fruit weight on St. Julien GF 655/2 rootstock. Adaptability to spindle training system depends on vigour of scion/rootstock combination: low or medium vigour cultivars (C. lepotica, Stanley) are good choice for spindle training systems even on vigorous rootstock; while the St. Julien GF 655/2 can be recommended only for vigorous Althann's Gage under our soil and climate conditions.
The paper gives a review on the results of the latest rootstock evaluation projects in Hungary. Several cherry rootstock evaluation projects were carried out in Hungary during the last two decades. The evaluated rootstocks are partly mahalebs selected in Hungary, but more or less all the most important new rootstocks from different countries ar...e involved. The aim of these evaluation projects was to find appropriate rootstocks in a wide range of vigour for our climate and soil conditions. The conclusion of the last 20 years of research in Hungary proved just the opposite of believes, that high density orchard can only be planted with dwarfing rootstocks. Before choosing the right rootstock the most important is to consider adaptability, precocity and productivity. Dwarfing and semi-dwarfing rootstocks showed proper results only with irrigation or very good site conditions. These rootstocks are very precocious, but branches form easily blindwood. This must be corrected by severe pruning in the first years. The relatively small leaf surface area can also be disadvantageous, but it can be controlled by pruning, fruit-thinning, irrigation and fertilization. After studying different rootstocks semi-vigorous rootstocks seem to be the most adequate for different site conditions in Hungary. Fast initial growing and competent precocity are their favourable characters. From the vigorous group of clonal mahalebs or seedlings are highly recommended first of all for poor site condition (sandy, lime soils with high pH). They turn to bearing early and easy to find them in the Hungarian nurseries. But on vigorous rootstocks trees might need stronger summer pruning.