Response of Peach Seedlings to Infection by the Root Lesion Nematode Pratylenchus penetrans under Controlled Conditions


  • J. W. Potter
  • V. A. Dirks
  • P. W. Johnson
  • T. H. A. Olthof
  • R. E. C. Layne
  • M. M. McDonnell


Twenty-one open pollinated populations of peach rootstock seedlings were evaluated for their response to infection by the root lesion nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans, over a period of 98 days. Nematode-infected peach seedling populations were shorter in plant height and had less shoot weight but more dry root weight than nematode-free controls. Rootstock differences were demonstrated for nematode increase over the 98-day period, and average total numbers of nematodes in soil and roots. Rootstocks were classified into three groups differing in total nematode population levels, ratio of nematode increase, and the number of nematodes per root. The heritable nature of rootstock response to nematodes was evident. Rootstocks showing the lowest response to nematode infection included Tzim Pee Tao, Rutgers Red Leaf, and two progenies of a cross of these two rootstocks. Key words: Prunus persica, Pratylenchus penetrans, nematode populations, rootstock variability.