Late Blooming-Disease Resistant Apple Breeding

2008 Annual Report for FNC07-675

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2007: $8,760.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2010
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:

Late Blooming-Disease Resistant Apple Breeding


The Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA) advanced selection seedlings budded onto B9 rootstock by Wafler Nursery to be used as breeding parents and sources for budwood for additional trees were originally planned to all be planted at Dawes Arboretum in Newark as noted on the second line of the seeds and plants section of the project budget for $1,480. The 216 trees were instead divided into six different lots and planted at six different cooperator’s sites to reduce the risk associated with having them all in one place and to learn more about the differences in bloom dates at the different locations. The budgeted amount for these trees was $1,480. The actual amount was $1,486.85 and $740 of grant money has been used for this.

The trees were all planted in May 2007 by volunteer members who donated their time, equipment, labor and land in establishing these new breeding stock blocks. The locations are:
• Lynd Fruit Farm Inc, 9090 Morse Rd, Pataskala, Ohio 43062
• Staten Farms Inc, 994 E Tracy Grove Rd, Flatrock, NC 28731
• Spring Hill Nursery, 110 West Elm St, Tipp City, OH 45371
• Sunny Hill Fruit Farms Inc, 3480 Pickerington Rd, Carroll ,OH 43122
• Whitehouse Farms Inc, 9249 Youngstown-Salem Rd, Canfield, OH 44406
• Eckerts Inc, 981 S Greenmount Rd, Belleville, IL 62220

In May 2007, 1,212 MAIA seedlings bred for late bloom and diseases resistance and made up of 13 different lots, whose germination dates were monitored and recorded by Penny Lynd and Felix Cooper, were taken from greenhouses at Baker’s Acres, 3388 Castle Rd. Alexandria, OH 43001 (1021 seedlings) and Spring Hill Nursery, 110 W. Elm St. Tipp City, OH. 45371 (291 seedlings) and were all planted at Lynd Fruit Farm, 9090 Morse Rd, Pataskala, OH 43031 where they will be grown for two summers then transplanted to The Dawes Arboretum, Newark, OH 43055 where they will be grown for 10 more years in hopes of selecting a few late blooming-disease resistant cultivars with commercial value. The 1,021 MAIA seedlings from Baker’s Acres were all kept and planted regardless of their germination dates. The budgeted amount called for 1,028 seedlings @ 30 cents each for $308. $154 of grant money has been used for this with the remainder from MAIA. Spring Hill Nursery received 4,113 MAIA seeds for germination and were instructed by MAIA to record the germination dates and discard all the seedlings except the last 10% to germinate and to call Lynd Fruit Farm to come pick up these final selections in mid May for planting at Lynds. 291 MAIA seedlings from Spring Hill were planted at Lynd’s in mid May.

It was expected that there would be a little over 400 seedlings when Mr. Cooper at Spring Hill stopped discarding the early germinators but approximately 150 seeds never did germinate and were discarded. In retrospect these may have germinated if we had waited longer, perhaps as long as mid June. If that had been the case and they in fact did eventually germinate, they may have made the best trees in the entire program! The budgeted amount for Spring Hill’s germination monitoring was for 4,113 @ 30 cents each for $1,234 and $617 of grant money has been used for this. $432 of grant money has been paid to Penny Lynd for her seed extraction and seed germination monitoring and deliveries to greenhouses. Travel to Tipp City was 172 miles (one trip), Bakers’ Acres was 60 miles (6 trips) for a total of 232 miles x 40 cents/mile or $92.50 of grant money was used for travel.

In May 2007, I traveled 318 miles collecting pollen sources at Sunny Hill Fruit Farms Inc. (3 trips of 84 miles each, 252 miles) and 2 trips to a private hobbyist apple collector near Delaware, OH for an additional 66 miles driven. I dehisced and stored the pollen at my home then applied it to Sweet 16 and Honeycrisp flowers at Lynds’ on Morse Rd, Pataskala, Ohio. The branches with hand pollinated flowers were marked with tape and all non-hand-pollinated flowers were removed. In September, the targeted apples were harvested, seeds removed and chlorinated, rinsed and stored in damp paper towels in my refrigerator for germination and planting in the spring of 2009. Total miles traveled were 318 @ 40 cents a mile or $127.20 for pollen collection. Miles driven for pollen application and fruit harvest to and from Lynds’ Morse Rd. was 4 trips of 22 miles each for 88 miles @ 40 cents each totaling $35.20. Total time budgeted for me was 40 hours @ $20/hr. for $800 and was transferred from the grant money. Total miles driven for this part of the project was 406 miles @ 40 cents each for $162.20 transferred from the grant money.

On Oct 13 and 14, I traveled to Belleville, IL to meet with two other MAIA members, Ed Fackler and Jim Eckert, to evaluate MAIA apples and mark MAIA seedling trees for use as breeding parents for next year’s crosses and to collect budwood this winter for propagation onto B9 rootstocks for advanced seedling evaluation. Miles traveled on this trip were 892 @ 40 cents for $356.80. An additional 84 miles @ 40 cents was for $33.60 was used to travel to Sunny Hill Fruit Farms Inc. to evaluate MAIA apples and mark MAIA seedling trees for use as breeding parents for next year’s crosses and budwood collection this winter to make trees for advanced selection testing. Total miles driven were 976 @ 40 cents each for $390.40 taken out of the grant money for this part of the project.

SUMMARY OF GRANT MONEY SPENT IN 2007 ON THE ACTIVITIES DESCRIBED ABOVE IN A, B, C, AND D: Travel $645.10 (Mitch Lynd), Time $1,232 to Mitch and Penny Lynd, 2 year old trees from Wafler Nursery $740.00 and $771 for Greenhouse services from Baker’s Acres and Spring Hill Nurseries.

The seedlings we have selected for advanced testing all have soluble solids above 15% and consumer taste tests are very encouraging. Shelf life is better than most apples. They are resistant to apple scab, powdery mildew and fire blight. They all have later bloom dates than any of the apples currently found on grocers’ shelves and most have come from MAIA seedlings whose development was originally sponsored in large part by a SARE farmer grant made to Jim Eckert at Eckert’s Inc. Belleville, IL 8 or 10 years ago.

WE ARE EXCITED! We knew this project was going to be very long term and require substantial commitments from many different folks but cooperation from all the members has been wonderful. Dr. Diane Miller at The Ohio State University is helping us decide exactly which selections will be worth introducing and patenting; funded by another of your SARE grants. Dr. Joe Gofreda and his technical assistant Ms Ann Vordecker from Rutgers; Dr. Susan Brown and Dr. Herb Aldwinkle from Cornell and Mr. David Bedford from the University of Minnesota have all met with us on many occasions nudging us in the right direction many times. Without their help this project could not have been kept alive.

For the continued very long term success of this program we believe much of the work needs to be transferred to the Dawes Arboretum, at Newark, Ohio. One of our members turned out to be less plant competent than we realized and the seedlings we sent him were lost to weeds and neglect. One of our members, who had custody of several thousand of our test seedlings, sold his farm four years after the MAIA planting was established on his farm. The new owner promptly bulldozed our trees before they ever bloomed. Family changes from death, divorce, bankruptcy and simply changes in family plans have caused us to realize that a well funded institution with similar long term goals and a history of longevity makes a good partner for initial seedling testing purposes. The big thing I have learned so far is that there has been huge benefit to enlisting widespread collaboration on this project. We are actually achieving what most people thought would be impossible and without any doubt the key has been collaboration. There have been many small failures in many places but overall team effort keeps pulling the project back together and keeping it on track. The synergistic effect is marvelous!

With regard to the part of our program funded by this specific grant the single most important thing we want to learn will be revealed to us in a few more weeks when we expect to see big differences in the bud-break dates of our newest seedlings based on their differences in genetics and locations around the country.

The most important elements of the plans for 2009 include:
Germinating the seeds collected from the crosses made in May 2008 and planting those new seedlings in temporary nursery beds at Lynd Fruit Farm on Morse Rd at Pataskala, Ohio.

Cutting budwood from the most promising selections at Eckertt’s in Belleville, IL for advanced testing made last fall and forwarding it to Wafler’s Nursery in Wolcot, New York for propagation onto B9 rootstocks. We also will take cuttings from selections at Sunny Hill Fruit Farm at Carroll, OH for the same purposes.

Planting the two year old seedlings at Dawes Arboretum coming from Charlie Sunderland in Tennessee. These seedlings were bred for late bloom (from Honeycrisp) and diseases resistance (from Goldrush). We have to build a fence at Dawes to keep the deer from ruining the planting and this is our current biggest problem that is yet to be solved.

Need to follow through with the plans for establishing a breeding parent and testing block of MAIA trees at Alison Demaree’s orchard in NY.

Do final evaluations of seedlings at Eckert’s in the fall of 2009 and collect final propagation material so the Eckert family can remove the entire test block and return it to normal production use. Need to collect as many fruit samples as possible to take to the annual meeting of the MAIA and make photographs of the advanced selections for possible patent applications and assistance in writing horticultural descriptions for possible patent applications. All this needs to be done before the block is removed in the winter of 2010. All the above also applies to a 10 year old MAIA block at Lynd Fruit Farm.

I made 3 presentations about this work:
On Nov. 1st to the annual meeting of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association who met at the Dawes Arboretum at Newark, Ohio in conjunction with the annual meeting of the United States Apple Crop Germplasm Committee. There were 32 farmer members of our group plus 14 members of the U.S. Apple Crop Germplasm Committee present including the leading U.S. apple breeders, U.S.D.A. Agricultural Research Service’s Dr. Jim McFerson from Washington State and Mr. Phil Forsline (curator of the U.S.D.A. apple germplasm Repository at Geneva N.Y.)

On October 21 as the keynote speaker to the annual meeting of the Columbus Metropolitan Park System’s volunteer recognition dinner at Inniswood Gardens in Westerville, Ohio, I used photos and data about this project for the evening presentation. There were 132 people present.

On January 12th I gave a presentation to the Ohio Apple Growers Society at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio about this work. There were 46 people present, mostly apple growers.

On January 13th and 14th I gave two different but related presentations to the Mid American Fruit Growers Society in Columbia, MO. There were about 50 people present, mostly apple growers, and the focus of one of the presentations was the MAIA work and while the other presentation was about marketing most of the Q. and A. sessions that followed was about the MAIA apple breeding program, especially the prospects for the late bloomers.