Inhibition of orthotropic replacement shoots with auxin treatment on decapitated hoop pine, Araucaria cunninghamii, for seed orchard management

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Seed production in orchards of Araucaria cunninghamii involves grafting plagiotropic scions (using a terminal-side graft) which exhibit a lateral growth habit onto decapitated stock trees. Decapitation effectively releases buds in the leaf axils of the stock plant from apical dominance and orthotropic replacement shoots develop rapidly. To prevent suppression of the grafted scion, frequent removal of orthotropic shoots is necessary. The trial application of several plant auxins at different concentrations to decapitated stock plants identified a suitable technique to simulate apical dominance and temporarily suppress the production of replacement shoots. The synthetic auxin IBA most effectively controlled the production and growth rate of replacement shoots with the least amount of damage to the treated tissues. Auxin application apparently enhanced the growth of lateral branches in the whorl immediately below the treated stem, suggesting that grafted scions would not be adversely affected by auxin treatment. Routine application of auxin to plagiotropic grafts will reduce maintenance costs in seed orchards and clone banks of A. cunninghamii.

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