Horticultural performance of 'Folha Murcha' sweet orange onto twelve rootstocks
Despite its outstanding position, the Brazilian citriculture is established on a very limited pool of varieties that limits its expansion and restricts the fruit availability throughout the year. This situation determines the urgent necessity of developing alternative scion and rootstock cultivars, with good performance under local conditions. 'Folha Murcha' sweet orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) is a late-harvest cultivar, suitable both for the juice processing industry and the fresh fruit market, being described as tolerant to citrus canker (Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri Schaad et al.), and less affected by citrus variegated chlorosis (Xylella fastidiosa Wells et al.). A study was conducted in Bebedouro, Sao Paulo State, Brazil, to evaluate the horticultural performance of 'Folha Murcha' sweet orange budded onto 12 rootstocks: the citrandarin 'Changsha' mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) x Poncirus trifoliata 'English Small': the hybrid 'Rangpur' lime (Citrus limonia Osbeck) x 'Swingle' citrumelo (P. trifoliata (L.) Raf x Citrus paradisi Macfad.); the trifoliates (P. trifoliata (L.) Raf.)'Rubidoux', 'FCAV', and 'Flying Dragon' (P. trifoliata var. monstrosa); the 'Sun Chu Sha Kat' mandarin (C. reticulata Blanco); the 'Sunki' mandarin (Citrus sunki (Hayata) Hart. ex. Tanaka); the 'Rangpur' limes (C. limonia Osbeck) 'Cravo Limeira' and 'Cravo FCAV'; 'Carrizo' citrange (C. sinensis x P. trifoliata), 'Swingle' citrumelo (P. trifoliata x C. paradisi), and 'Orlando' tangelo (C. paradisi x Citrus tangerina cv. 'Dancy'). The experimental grove was planted in 2001, using a 7 m x 4 m spacing, in a randomized block design, with five replications and two plants per plot. No supplementary irrigation was applied. Fruit yield, canopy volume, tree tolerance to drought and to citrus variegated chlorosis, and fruit quality were assessed for each rootstock. Trees grafted onto the 'Flying Dragon' trifoliate were smaller in size, but had largest yield efficiency when compared to those grafted onto other rootstocks. Lower alternate bearing index was observed on trees budded onto 'Cravo FCAV' 'Rangpur' lime. Both 'Rangpur' lime rootstocks and the 'Sunki' mandarin induced higher tree tolerance to drought. The 'Flying Dragon' trifoliate induced better fruit quality and higher tolerance to citrus variegated chlorosis (CVC) to 'Folha Murcha' trees. A cluster multivariate analysis identified three groups of rootstocks with similar effects on 'Folha Murcha' tree performance. Among the 12 evaluated rootstocks, the 'Flying Dragon' trifoliate has a unique effect on plant growth, tolerance to drought and CVC, fruit yield and fruit quality of 'Folha Murcha' trees, and may be better suited for high-density plantings. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.