Rootstock Cucurbits

Methods for the inhibition of meristematic growth on cucurbit rootstock


Plants of the family Cucurbitaceae such as watermelon, squash, cucumber and melon are cultivated using grafted plants for commercial production in many production areas. This is done to overcome problems related to soil borne pathogens, abiotic stress and for improvement in yield and fruit quality, and for extension of the growing season.

Typically, the rootstock varieties (Lagenaria spp., interspecific squash hybrids, wax gourds or wild watermelon) used in grafting, produce much more vigorous plants than scion plants, and thus the shoot growth of the rootstock on a grafted plant can outcompete the scion for light, water and nutrients.

Consequently, the standard practice is to remove by hand the shoot tip of rootstock in the seedling tray before grafting and again before grafts leave the transplant house.

Here is a novel method described to prevent the growth of a shoot apical meristem of a cucurbit rootstock plant by applying fatty alcohols on the shoot apical meristem that inhibit growth.


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