Production efficiency and quality in seedlings of the ‘Pera’ orange interstocked with nucellar plantlet tissue

ABSTRACT Production of interstocked seedlings of the ‘Pera’ orange can be achieved through inarching of a rootstock on nucellar seedlings, with the subsequent grafting of a new scion. By this process, the interstocked seedling can be obtained in less time, but production efficiency is low, and no data on quality standards are available. The aim of this study was to evaluate the quality, time and production efficiency of ‘Pera’ orange (PO) seedlings interstocked with two types of nucellar plantlet tissue, using the ‘Flying Dragon’ trifoliate as rootstock. The experimental design was of randomised blocks, with four treatments, six replications and ten plants per plot. For the technique employed, nucellar plantlets of the ‘Seleta’ orange (SO) or Rangpur Lime (RL) were selected, followed by inarching with ‘Flying Dragon’ rootstock (FD) and budding with scions of the ‘Pera’ orange. The treatments consisted of different interstock combinations, PO/SO/FD and PO/RL/FD, and of non-interstock seedling combinations, PO/RL and SO/FD. Seedlings of the ‘Pera’ orange produced with interstocks of nucellar plantlets of the Rangpur Lime give seedling architecture of better quality. The interstocked seedlings were obtained 17 months after sowing the FD, with standards of physical quality similar to those required for commercial production, and with a production efficiency greater than 80%. When grown alone, FD requires more time to reach a sufficient diameter for grafting, delaying the production of seedlings.