Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Vegetative propagation of ash

Our work was to develop systems to vegetatively propagate ash plants from selected adult trees. This was achieved by using grafted plants as sources of buds and using thidiazuron as a source of cytokinins to induce the proliferation of shoots in vitro.

Cultures were initiated from 55 selected ash clones using approximately 20-30 buds per initiation. Eighteen clones were sterile and viable after 4 subcultures and 14 became well established for shoot proliferation. Further research is needed to increase the efficiency of clone establishment.

The propagation rates on our standard medium (M9£) and alternating media (M9£- QRC) was compared for four established clones over six culture cycles. The propagation rates varied for each clone from 1.5-2.5. They were similar for each culture system but the shoots were healthier on the alternating media. Rooting occurred spontaneously in the culture method developed and plants were successfully weaned to the glasshouse, and clonal field tests have been established on two sites with four clones. Alternatively, rooting could be induced in vitro with auxins though this was clone dependent.

The micro-propagated plants were easily weaned to compost in the glasshouse. A system was developed which demonstrated that hedges could be established from micro-propagated plants and that four crops of conventional cuttings could be obtained per year with 500 cuttings obtainable per m2 at each harvest. In addition, it was shown that apical as well as nodal cuttings rooted efficiently (65-100%). It is therefore feasible to propose a system to produce plants of selected genotypes of ash for the development of clonal lines.

The stages are:
a) establish shoot cultures from buds of selected genotypes,
b) rejuvenate the cultures by repeated sub-culturing in vitro with thidiazuron,
c) stimulate rooting,
d) wean plants to the glasshouse,
e) establish hedges of weaned plants in the glasshouse which will provide apical and nodal cuttings,
f) cut back the hedges after each set of cuttings are collected.

Surveys were conducted among farmers / foresters on their attitudes and commitments to planting trees of different types (conifer/ hardwood) and to using improved planting stocks when they become available. For Ireland this showed that 44% of farmers planted hardwoods for the reason of their combined amenity and environmental benefits whereas 28% gave their main reason for planting hardwoods as the availability of the higher grants. It also showed that farmers/ foresters are generally open to trying new lines of ash plants, which emerge from research programmes but that the new material should be approved officially.

The education level was collected from among farmer/ foresters who had planted conifers, mixtures or pure hardwoods. Over 53 % of those who planted hardwoods had a third level of education, which indicated they were more innovative that those planting conifers where 22% had attended third level education.

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Teagasc
Malahide Rd.
Dublin 17 Dublin
Ireland
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