Rootstock selection, nitrogen and calcium influence postharvest disease in avocado

E.K. Dann, L.M. Coates, K.G. Pegg, J.R. Dean, A.W. Cooke, L.A. Smith, L. Shuey, A.W. Whiley, P.J. Hofman, R. Marques, B. Stubbings
Field trials evaluating several parameters of growth, fruit yield and quality of 'Hass' avocado grafted to different rootstocks were established in 2004-2005 in four different growing regions of Australia. Fruit were harvested in three seasons from 2008, ripened and assessed for severity and incidence of anthracnose and stem end rot diseases. Peel samples were collected at harvest and analysed for concentrations of the cations (N, K, Ca, Mg). Rootstock significantly affected marketability of fruit (no stem end rot and less than 5% anthracnose) in 58% of the total number of trials evaluated, with better quality fruit harvested from 'Hass' grafted to Guatemalan or West Indian rootstocks such as 'A10' or 'Velvick'. Fruit quality was frequently poor from trees grafted to Mexican race rootstocks, regardless of growing location. Correlation analyses showed that fruit from rootstocks with superior fruit quality was often associated with lower skin N and higher Ca concentrations. There were significant positive correlations between anthracnose and skin N or N:Ca ratio in 75% of trials evaluated. There was a significant negative correlation between anthracnose and Ca in 42% of trials. The correlations between stem end rot and skin N (positive) or Ca (negative) were each significant in 42% of trials. Based on the results in this project, N:Ca ratios in the skin of unripe avocado fruit at harvest may provide one of the best indicators of potential postharvest disease in ripe fruit, and may have implications for fertiliser regimes.
Dann, E.K., Coates, L.M., Pegg, K.G., Dean, J.R., Cooke, A.W., Smith, L.A., Shuey, L., Whiley, A.W., Hofman, P.J., Marques, R. and Stubbings, B. (2016). Rootstock selection, nitrogen and calcium influence postharvest disease in avocado. Acta Hortic. 1120, 391-398
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2016.1120.60
anthracnose, fruit quality, N:Ca ratio, postharvest quality, Colletotrichum sp

Acta Horticulturae