Studies continue to evaluate the performance of Clemson University peach breeding program advanced genotypes with improved qualities. Two selections bred for their early ripening combined with fruit tolerance to bacterial spot disease were introduced in 2017 and planted at the Chilton Research and Extension Center (CREC) near Clanton in central Alabama. Data is being collected to determine their productivity, disease resistance and overall performance in Alabama conditions. First crop of selection ‘SC-2’ was reported in 2020.
During the current season, a heavy bacterial spot infection occurred in mid-April. Bacterial spot disease, also known as bacterial shothole is caused by the bacterium Xantomonas campestris pv. pruni, and can affect leaves and fruit. Symptoms on leaves of ‘SC-2’ appeared as numerous angular, purple to purplish-brown or black spots (Figure 1). Heavily infected leaves turned yellow and dropped. Even in the season with a heavy bacterial spot infection, very light symptoms of tiny water-soaked, sunken spots were observed on ‘SC-2’ fruit (Figure 2).
During the current season, fruit of ‘SC-2’ started to mature in late-May and the first harvest date was May 31. Data on the number of fruit and yield produced per tree at each harvest is shown in Table 1. There were 351.2 fruit per tree on average, resulting in 74.3 pounds of crop harvested from ‘SC-2’ this spring.
Mean fruit weight was 141.9 g the soluble sugar content was 10.65% (Table 2). Fruit taste was excellent, with juicy and firm flesh, slightly acidic this season due to the frequent rain events. Fruit appearance was very attractive with almost 100% blush cover (Fig. 2).
Table 1. Yield per tree and number of fruit per tree of early selection 'SC-2', CREC, Clanton, AL, 2022
|Harvest date||No. fruit/tree||Yield/tree, lb.|
Table 2. Fruit quality of early season 'SC-2' grown at the CREC, Clanton, AL, 2022
|Mean fruit weight, g||Firmness 1, kg/cm2||Firmness 2, kg/cm2||SSC|