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                                                       Rootstock Consideration in Kentucky

A Review of Effect of Rootstocks on Grapes       PDF Form        Slide Show

In areas where viticulture is based on European varieties, rootstocks with resistance to Phylloxera have to be employed. Otherwise, the root louse will get the vines eventually. Most French vines, including the French hybrids, are grafted onto selected rootstocks. Many of the rootstocks are resistant to another soil-borne pest, the parastitic nematodes as well. Since breeding for rootstocks have lasted for many years, most rootstocks are well adapted to particular soil types and some may also be used to overcome vineyard problems such as drought and salinity.

Kentucky has large portion of vinifera and French hybrids in its grape production. This may cause problems since Kentucky has its native phylloxera population and cold winter temperatures, which may put vinifera based viticulture at risk. So Kentucky viticulture, especially when growers want to use vinifera, has to use rootstocks with cold resistance, for example 3309 Couderc, 420A and 15-53.

The following information is a review on the rootstock effects on grape vines (PDF file and a Powerpoint Slide Show):

Grafting vines as a means of propagation was known as early as the 2nd century B.C. (Cato in his treatise De agri cultua.). The use of rootstocks in Vitis, however, was not extensively used until 1880 because it was the only effective method to combat the devastating root louse phylloxera, Phylloxera vitifoliae (Fitch), (Coombe, 1999). In California, grape growers have been using rootstocks for over 100 years (Foott et al., 1989). Much of the world’s viticulture is based primarily on grafting, where the scion is a cultivar of Vitis vinifera and the rootstock is either a North American Vitis species or an interspecific Vitis hybrid (Weaver, 1976). The major reason to use rootstocks is in their resistance to some severe biotic problems such as phylloxera and nematodes. Reynolds and Wardle (2001) outlined seven major criteria for choosing rootstocks in the order of importance as phylloxera resistance, nematode resistance, adaptability to high pH soils, adaptability to saline soils, adaptability to low pH soils, adaptability to wet or poorly drained soils and adaptability to drought. Numerous reports have also proved that rootstocks affect vine growth, yield, fruit quality and wine quality. These effects take place in a more or less indirect manner and are consequences of interactions between environmental factors and the physiology of the scion and rootstock cultivars employed..... the whole file in PDF Form, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader.

A Powerpoint presentation is also includeded. This is the talk I gave at the 2005 KSHS meeting.

Dr. Kaan Kurtural , UK extension specialist in viticulture has a recent review on rootstocks for Kentucky in KVS Newsletter.

If you have any questions or comments contact or e-mail us.


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Updated July 12, 2005