East Malling gets back to its roots with centenary display at Chelsea

East Malling Research is marking its centenary by exhibiting at this week's Chelsea Flower Show, also celebrating its 100th year.

EMR's Ross Newham - image:HW
EMR's Ross Newham - image:HW

The Kent research establishment's "Fruit of the Tree" display was awarded a Silver Gilt medal yesterday.

It features a mature Discovery apple tree on M26 rootstock excavated with the roots intact, which are repositioned as they would have been in the ground.

"This tells the story of how rootstocks channel resources into fruit production," said EMR head of communications Ross Newham.

"We are here to raise the profile of East Malling, and to make the connection in the minds of people who may already have an apple tree on one of our rootstocks without even knowing it."

The display also shows the evolution of apple breeding from its wild origins to the present day, and speculates about future advances in production.

"The world will need to double food production, and one way to achieve that might be to go back to the genetic home of the apple in Central Asia to find further useful traits," Newham said.

The display coincides with the announcement of a "major" grant from funding body the BBSRC which will enable EMR to better understand the behaviour of apple tree roots.

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