Back to the rootstock: Future Orchards walks

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An extension of its ‘Future Trees’ theme, APAL’s Future Orchards® spring walks will put the spotlight on rootstock selection.

Local and international experts including AgFirst’s Ross Wilson and Craig Hornblow, Tom Auvil of North American Plants and Nicola Dallabetta from the Foundazione Edmund Mach Technology Transfer Centre (FEM) in Italy will lead a series of field walks on evaluating pome-fruit rootstocks scheduled for southern and northern growing regions in November.

Wilson and Auvil will helm the four northern-loop walks, to be held in Stanthorpe, Orange, Batlow in NSW and Shepparton in Victoria; Hornblow and Dallabetta the four southern-loop ones, scheduled for southern Victoria, southern Tasmania, SA’s Adelaide Hills and Western Australia.

Venues are yet to be finalised.

Why the focus on rootstocks?

A shift to high-density planting systems in pome-fruit production has led to increased use of dwarf rootstocks “to provide trees with the desirable dwarfing, vigour reduction and architecture characteristics necessary for an intensive orchard system”, notes APAL.

For apples, the M9 is viewed as a near-perfect dwarf rootstock, known for producing high-yielding, precocious and productive plants. Other highly productive commercial rootstocks exist; however, few carry the disease-resistance traits that are of increasing importance for growers planning new plantings.

On each of the field walks, Auvil or Dallabetta will talk about their research evaluating rootstocks in the USA and Italy, respectively.

APAL’s Future Orchards program is funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd using the apple and pear industry levy funds from growers, and funds from the Australian Government. AgFirst is a key Future Orchards partner.

Tienie Du Preez inspecting apple-tree roots in the field, June 2016.
Tienie Du Preez inspecting apple-tree roots in the field, June 2016.
Apple & Pear Limited Australia (APAL)
About the international presenters

Tom Auvil

Tom Auvil, a horticulturist with North American Plants, is active in the management of his family’s orchard in Washington state in America’s far north-west. Previously, he worked for the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission; spent 21 years with the Field Services department of Trout/Blue Chelan Cooperative, 15 of them as supervisor. Auvil has served on the Tree Top Board since 1988, four years of it as chair. He has a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Washington State University, and is a member of the North Central Washington Fieldmen’s Association, the Washington State Tree Fruit Association and the International Fruit Tree Association.

Nicola Dallabetta

Nicola Dallabetta’s interest lies in fruit-crop research and extension services. He has worked at FEM for more than 21 years and is exceptionally knowledgeable about day-to-day orchard operations, including new planting layouts, experimental designs, cultural practices and administrative tasks. Nicola specialises in new techniques for manual pruning in intensive, super-intensive orchard systems and is involved in rootstock-evaluation sites in South Tyrol, Italy.

Apple tree blossoms: Get to the root of growing better pome fruit - sign up for one of Future Orchards' spring walks.
Get to the root of growing better pome fruit - sign up for one of Future Orchards' spring walks.
Simply Col, Flickr CC

Dates and times: Northern Loop

  • Stanthorpe, NSW: Monday 13 November 2017, 9am–12:30pm
  • Orange, NSW: Tuesday 14 November 2017, 1pm–5:30pm
  • Batlow, NSW: Wednesday 15 November 2017, 1pm–5:30pm
  • Shepparton, Vic: Friday 17 November 2017, 9am–12:30pm

Dates and times: Southern Loop

  • Southern Victoria: Monday 20 November 2017, 9am–12:30pm
  • Southern Tasmania: Tuesday 21 November 2017, 10am–1:30pm
  • Adelaide Hills: Wednesday 22 November 2017, 1pm–5:30pm
  • Western Australia: Thursday 23 November 2017, 1pm–5:30pm

More info

For further information on Future Orchards’ spring field walks, contact Angus Crawford, APAL Technical Manager, on 03 9329 3511 or via email at angus@apal.org.au.

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