[NAFEX] Fwd: ARS Scientists Develop Self-pollinating AlmondTrees

Mark Angermayer hangermayer at isp.com
Wed Apr 7 21:55:04 EDT 2010

I read a paper once where the authors caged peach flowers to test
self-pollination.  I don't recall what cultivars they tested, but
pollination was acceptable with insects completely screened out.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Douglas Woodard" <dwoodard at becon.org>
To: "North American Fruit Explorers" <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 06, 2010 1:49 PM
Subject: Re: [NAFEX] Fwd: ARS Scientists Develop Self-pollinating

Does anyone know whether this "without insect pollination" claim is true
or a journalist's idea?

I have understood that self-fertile fruit trees require insect
pollination because of the heavy, sticky pollen characteristic of
species that have evolved to use insect pollination.

I can see a reduced need for hive rentals with self-fertile cultivars,
maybe even being able to get along without rentals relying on solitary
bees, bumblebees etc., but I wonder able being able to dispense with
insect pollination.

Being able to plant solid blocks of single cultivars would certainly be
an advantage.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

Lon J. Rombough wrote:
> Begin forwarded message:
> ARS Scientists Develop Self-pollinating Almond Trees
> ___________________________________________
> ARS News Service
> Agricultural Research Service, USDA
> Alfredo Flores, (301) 504-1627, alfredo.flores at ars.usda.gov
> April 6, 2010
> --View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at
> www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
> --Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ARSInformation
> ___________________________________________
> Self-pollinating almond trees that can produce a bountiful harvest
> without insect pollination are being developed by Agricultural Research
> Service (ARS) scientists. This is good news for almond growers who face
> rising costs for insect pollination because of nationwide shortages of
> honeybees due to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and other factors.
> ARS geneticist Craig Ledbetter, at the agency’s Crop Diseases, Pests
> and Genetics Research Unit near Parlier, Calif., is developing this new
> line of self-pollinating almond trees.
> Self-pollinating almonds are not new. The Tuono variety, originally
> from Spain, has been around for centuries. But its traits are not
> attractive when compared to California’s most popular almond,
> Nonpareil.
> Tuono’s seed coat has a hairy texture and it has a very thick shell, so
> only 32 percent of the nut is edible kernel, compared to 60 to 65
> percent for Nonpareil. But Tuono’s thick shell gives it more resistance
> to the navel orangeworm and other pests. An almond that has traits from
> both varieties would be ideal.
> Ledbetter and his collaborators used Tuono as the male (pollen) parent
> in conventional hybridizations with California-adapted almond cultivars
> and selections. The scientists made crosses at bloom time and came back
> at harvest time to collect the nuts. They then grew those nuts into
> seedlings and surrounded the branches with insect-proof nylon bags to
> exclude insects that could serve as pollinators. The seedlings bloomed
> and some produced fruits inside the bags, making these seedlings
> self-pollinating.
> The original plantings in 1996 at first produced only small harvests,
> but by 2006 produced excellent results. In November 2008, after a very
> good almond harvest, Ledbetter and his team from Parlier brought eight
> very promising selections from his self-pollinating almond breeding
> program to the California Almond Board for evaluation.
> The board was pleased with the skin color, oil content and, most
> importantly, the flavor. And best of all, the new almonds have many of
> the same characteristics as Nonpareil, which sells for premium prices.
> Read more about this research in the April 2010 issue of Agricultural
> Research magazine.
> http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/apr10/almonds0410.htm

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