Conference' pear was grafted on five clonal pear rootstocks (Fox 11, Fox 16, Farold 40, Farold 87 and Farold 282), on Kirschensaller seedling rootstocks and on five clonal quince rootstocks (EM A, EM C, BA 29, Sydo and Adams). To evaluate the performance of these combinations in a coastal area of central Italy, grafted trees were planted in 1994 near Pisa, Italy. Trees were planted at 5 x 3 m spacing and trained as slender spindles. Observations on phenological, vegetative and productive behavior of the 'Conference' scions were carried out each year. From 1997 onwards, trunk cross-sectional areas, canopy volumes and pruning weights showed differences allowing rootstocks to be ranked in order of decreasing vigor: Kirschensaller > Farold 282 = FOX 11 > Farold 87 = FOX 16 > Farold 40 > Sydo = EM A > BA 29 > Adams > EM C. In 2006, trunk cross-sectional area on Kirschensaller was 198.7 cm 2 contrasting with a minimum of 53.8 cm2 on EM C. Medium vigor was shown by trees grafted on the quince rootstocks Sydo, BA 29 and EM A and on the pear rootstocks FOX 16 and Farold 40. The cumulative weight of pruned wood on Kirschensaller was more than double that on any other rootstock. Trees on EM C and Adams rootstocks required very little pruning; between 1994 and 2006 cumulative prunings were 6.9 kg tree-1 EMC and 9.5 kg tree -1 Adams. Cumulative fruit yields ranged between 45.8 and 89.8 kg tree-1. The most vigorous rootstocks (Kirschensaller and Fox 11) gave lower cumulative fruit yields than quince rootstocks (except EM C). The best performances were recorded on Fox 16 (89.2 kg fruit tree-1) and Farold 87 (89.8 kg fruit tree-1). Mean fruit weight was very different from year to year. Fox 11, EM A, Sydo and BA 29 gave the best performance compared with the other rootstocks with consistently heavier fruit. A theoretical planting density was calculated based on maximum canopy width allowing cumulative fruit yields (tonne per hectare) to be estimated. With this perspective, Fox 16 was found to be the most productive rootstock (114 t ha -1) followed by Farold 87 (107 t ha-1), BA 29 (101 t ha-1) and Sydo (101 t ha-1).
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