S.G. Bobev, L.T. Angelov , G.I. Govedarov, J.D. Postman
The two-decade history of fire blight in Bulgaria revealed quince as one of the most frequently attacked hosts and production of quince on a large scale has been almost eliminated. Nevertheless, this species will play an important epidemiological role as a permanent source of inoculum for spread of the pathogen to other hosts because of its traditional presence in many private yards, and its bloom period coinciding with favorable fire blight conditions in the late spring. Fire blight disease evaluations were made for 3 years in a collection of the most important quince cultivars in Bulgaria. Two native cultivars, ‘Hemus’ and ‘Triumph’, were found to have high levels of field resistance (Bobev and Deckers, 1999). The promising resistance response of these cultivars encouraged a 10-year program which examined the fire blight resistance of 274 hybrid progenies (3 replicates per combination on the rootstock BA 29). Under natural epiphytotic conditions in 2003 and 2005, a group of 19 progenies were selected because of their significant resistance to fire blight. These selections produced less than 15 blossom and shoot infections per tree, and less than 5% blighted canopy under high disease pressure. New quince selections that combine resistance to fire blight, high fruit quality, and suitability for compote processing, will enable the sustainable production of this crop. Resistant forms could also be examined as potential rootstocks for both pear and quince, thus preventing more severe disease in both crops. The use of fire blight resistant quince trees will not only reduce disease incidence and improve quince production, but will also reduce inoculum levels and benefit the production of other pome fruit species.
Bobev, S.G., Angelov , L.T., Govedarov, G.I. and Postman, J.D. (2011). QUINCE (CYDONIA OBLONGA) EMERGES FROM THE ASHES OF FIRE BLIGHT. Acta Hortic. 918, 911-915
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2011.918.119
breeding, hybrid, parental origin, resistance, field assessment, fruit characteristics, compote suitability

Acta Horticulturae