Evaluation of New Promising Norwegian Pear Cultivars in a Nordic Climate
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Norwegian pear (Pyrus communis L.) production has been in decline for the last 25 years. This was mainly because of old cultivars, with low yields and poor consumer appeal, could not compete against strong competition from imported pears, mainly 'Conference'. Since 1994, the Norwegian breeding company, Graminor Ltd., has released several new pear cultivars, which have been evaluated at NIBIO Ullensvang, western Norway. The first trial was planted in 1999 and included the Graminor Ltd. cultivars: 'Ingeborg', 'Fritjof' and 'Anna', which were bred by the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. In 2002, a second trial was planted including Graminor Ltd. cultivars: 'Kristina', 'Ingrid' and 'Celina' and these were compared against a control, 'Clara Frijs'. All scion cultivars were grafted on the semi-vigorous rootstock `Brokmal' and grown for 8 years. In both trials, full bloom (similar to 80% of flowers open) took place between 7 May +/- 3 days and 15 May +/- 4 days. Flowering was however, c...ompleted within a 7-day period in any one year, ensuring adequate overlap in flowering time between all cultivars. Over the final 4-year period all cultivars were evaluated, 'Anna', 'Fritjof', 'Kristina' and 'Ingeborg' all had moderate cumulative yields (64.7, 66.2, 36.1, and 30.4 kg.tree(-1), respectively). Fruit weight (212 to 183g) and quality of all these cultivars was acceptable (11.2% lt = TSS lt = 11.8%; 0.16% lt = acidity lt = 0.22%). However, 'Fritjof' had many misshapen fruit and exhibited pre-harvest shriveling in several instances making it unacceptable for commercial plantings. 'Clara Frijs' and 'Celina' cumulative yields were low (12.5 and 21.2 kg per tree, respectively) and fruit were also small (172 to 161 g, respectively). However, due to the attractive cerise-blush 'Celina' (trademarked QTee (R)) pear is now widely planted in Norway and abroad and grafted on Quince rootstocks.