Science Into Practice - Potential new plum varieties

With crop manipulation difficult to achieve in plums, the most obvious way to produce higher yields of quality fruit over an extended season is to breed and develop new varieties.

In HDC project TF 170, six new varieties - Anita, Ferbleue, Haganta, Jojo, Meritare and Valerija - are being compared with the industry standards Opal and Victoria on both St Julian A and Plumina rootstocks with the purpose of assessing their fruit size, fruit number, tree establishment and rootstock requirement for UK conditions. Meritare, Ferbleue and Haganta show the most promise for commercial production.

Meritare, the earliest variety in the trial, is larger than Opal and has very good flavour - similar to Victoria.

Ferbleue has the best flavour in the trial but tends towards biennial bearing, producing low and high yields in alternate seasons. Managing fruit numbers will be important if it is to become a commercial proposition.

Haganta is the last variety to start fruiting in the trial, with picking beginning at around the same time as Marjorie's Seedling. Its yield was one of the highest in the trial. Average fruit size is larger than Victoria and it has a good flavour, with a brix of around 24o. The variety is resistant to Sharka.

More comprehensive information on all the varieties in the trial is included in HDC fact sheet 06/12 (Plum variety trials 2011 - named selections).

Date for your diary

25 July Fruit Focus, East Malling Research Centre, Kent.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk.


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