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Canada: Research Scientist discusses Hardy Rose Breeding Program
Q. Can you explain what the Vineland-CNLA partnership’s Canadian Hardy Rose Breeding Program is about?
“The intent of the program is to develop a continuous line of high quality rose varieties that will generate profitability for Canadian nurseries and retailers and brighten the Canadian landscape. Our number one priority is to breed cold hardy and black spot disease resistant landscape roses. We’re also interested in developing varieties that are aligned with what consumers want in a landscape rose – specific colours, glossy dark green foliage and fragrance. The roses need to be resistant to powdery mildew and have the ability to bloom continuously. We breed for classic garden roses as well as for landscape roses suitable for mass planting, ground cover as well as container and patio grown plantings.”
Q. The program is now in its fourth year, so what’s new?
“We’re launching a Pan-Canadian testing network with collaborating nurseries and
academic institutions from coast to coast. Our team is busy performing over 15,000 crosses each year and combining the heredity of 100 parental varieties and lines from Canada and around the globe. Every year 10,000-15,000 hybrids are planted on our farm in Vineland, Ontario and evaluated for ornamental display and resistance to black spot disease. The best of these roses are sent to collaborators across Canada including the University of Saskatchewan for further testing in a variety of climatic conditions for black spot resistance and winter hardiness. Following two to three years of rigorous testing in harsh conditions without fungicide sprays and winter protection, a couple of the best performing and adapted varieties are selected for commercialization each year.”
Q. What is the future of the program?
“The first Vineland-bred selections are already in the pipeline and new varieties combining disease resistance, hardiness and consumer appeal are planned for release by early spring 2018. In addition to the traditional Canadian market, Vineland’s Business Development team is working on establishing partnerships in the U.S. and Europe. Russia, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia are rapidly growing but mostly untapped markets where Canadian roses have a solid reputation. The royalties obtained from the new releases will be funnelled back into research to sustain breeding and commercialization required to continuously release rose varieties for Canadian growers for years to come.”
For more information
Dr. Rumen Conev, Research Scientist, Plant Breeding
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