Musser Farm ‘screenhouse" helps Southeast peach growers

The renovated greenhouse at Clemson University’s Musser Farm will house a collection of peach cultivars that have low-chilling hour requirements — peaches requiring fewer cold days to break dormancy.
Collections of this type are typically housed in a screened environment  — a screenhouse — to minimize exposure to insects and any viruses they might transmit.
The renovation was funded by the USDA National Clean Plant Network, which protects U.S. specialty crops, such as grapes, nuts, apples and peaches, from the spread of pests and diseases. It will be one of three U.S. centers dealing with temperate fruit trees  — peach, almonds, cherry, apricots, apples, and pears.
For the past decade Clemson plant virologist Simon Scott has been testing peach trees and directing the Southeastern Budwood Program, funded by S.C. and Ga. growers and nurseries responding to the discovery of Plum pox virus (PPV) in Pennsylvania. The program works to ensure that PPV and two other viruses are not present in sources of commercial peach cultivars in the Southeast.
 Three nurseries located in Tennessee use the tested trees to propagate new planting material. The nurseries have produced more than three million trees annually, distributed throughout the Southeast and to many states nationwide.

For additional information, contact Dr. Simon Scott, sscott@clemson.edu.