The propagation of elite cultivars of oak (Quercus sp) is traditionally performed by cuttings, which usually have poor rooting. Seed propagation is also utilized, but seedlings usually lack uniformity resulting in trees with variable size and quality. A reliable method for the asexual propagation of juvenile plants taken from a mature tree with the desired traits is highly desirable for growers. Micropropagation has been utilized for many woody ornamental trees, including several species of Quercus (Q. alba, Q. bicolor, Q. euboica, Q. robur and Q. rubra). Micropropagation offers the advantage of in vitro clonal propagation of plants that have unique characteristics of interest. In the case of southern live oak, we have identified a tree that does not produce flowers and fruits, therefore being a tree of commercial interest for growers as it provides plant material that can be used for landscaping without the nuisance of acorns spreading around the landscape. Therefore, the overall objective of this proposal is to develop a method for in vitro propagation of a known elite cultivar of southern live oak (Quercus virginiana).
Specific objectives are: 1. To develop a successful method for in vitro establishment of clean live oak cultures. 2. To develop a successful method for the rapid in vitro multiplication of live oak shoots. 3. To develop a successful method for rooting and acclimatization of plantlets.