Variability of Quantitative and Qualitative Characteristics of Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’ Clones Produced by Grafting
AbstractEuropean beech is renowned due to its ornamental cultivars, such as purple beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’), but its production in Serbia is represented in small number of nurseries. The aim of this paper was to analyze the success of hetero-vegetative propagation of purple beech and variability of different characteristics, in order to improve the production of nursery stocks for widespread use. The splice and wedge grafting were applied, using scions collected from five Fagus sylvatica ‘Purpurea’ adult trees, and two different rootstocks: five-year-old seedlings directly produced in nursery beds and one-year-old containerized seedlings. Analysis of grafting success rates, survival percentage, as well as quantitative (height and root collar diameter) and qualitative (leaf color) characteristics of produced grafts in four successive years, were investigated. Grafting performed using the containerized rootstocks showed the high success rate (50-80%), but the survival percentage at the end of fourth year was lower (30-47%). The survival percentage of grafts produced directly on rootstocks in nursery beds was 22-78% at the end of first year, and constantly kept those values in the next three years. The highest mean values of quantitative characteristics were found in clone number 5 and 1, while the smallest were recorded in clone 3. Leaf color was intensive reddish-purple in most grafts, while in some grafts about 20% reddish-green leaves was recorded. Based on the obtained results, it can be stated that purple beech trees in Belgrade area could be used as mother plants and starting material for the improvement of its production.
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