Evaluation of Grapevine Rootstock Selections

The purpose of this project is to identify selections from a USDA rootstock breeding program that might warrant release as commercial stocks, and to develop useful data on the performance of recently released rootstocks from other breeding programs to aid growers in selecting appropriate stocks for their vineyards. The initial plantings from the USDA rootstock breeding program number over 700 selections. This initial group was grown until maturity, and then evaluated for their ability to be good mother vines. This evaluation identified nearly 150 selections that were good to moderate mother vines. Selections with good mother vines qualities were tested by Dr. Andreas Westphal and Dr. Andrew Walker for resistance to aggressive root-knot nematodes. Selections that performed well in both assessments have been grafted to scions for in field evaluations. Currently six selections (PC0333-5, PC0349-11, PC0349-30, PC04153-4, PC0495-51, and PC0597-13) have been planted in a replicated trial in a commercial winegrape vineyard in Merced. These vines should start production during the 2020 growing season. Five selections had been grafted to a table grape and planted in a replicated trial in a commercial table grape vineyard in Delano, CA. Unfortunately, this trial has run into problems and only limited data will be collected. For the past several years Dr. Gan-Yuan Zhong, USDA-ARS, screened
seedling selections for resistance to aggressive strains of root knot nematodes and shipped cuttings of resistant selections to the UC Kearney Agricultural Center in Parlier, CA, where they were rooted and planted into a vineyard for observation. Since 2016 a total of 165 new selections have been planted. These vines will need to undergo the same testing as the previous rootstocks once they are mature. It is hoped that a new table grape vineyard can be established with these advanced selections. The Merced trial should resolve questions about the potential, if any, of these selections as young grafted vines. The Merced trial is adjacent to another rootstock trial planted by former UCCE advisor Lindsay Jordan in 2016. The second Merced trial includes full rows of 1103P, and more recently released stocks including RS3, RS9, GRN2, GRN3, GRN4, and GRN5 grafted to Malbec, and replicated four times. However, most vines on GRN5 failed, so GRN5 was eliminated from the trial. Vine training was completed during the 2019 growing season.