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Endowed Chair in Tree Fruit Physiology

Stefano Musacchi sitting in apple orchard.

Based at Wenatchee, Stefano Musacchi researches training, pruning, and management techniques to ensure high-performing orchards and high fruit quality. Originally from Italy, Musacchi joined WSU in 2013.

Endowment funds have allowed Musacchi and his team to:

  • Develop improved pruning techniques to minimize blind wood in WA 38 trees. When combined with other beneficial practices, these techniques could add more than $60 million in economic impact.
  • Replace older cultivars while maintaining existing root systems. Top work is very common in Washington. Musacchi leads a project developing a multi-axis system in which WA 38 was top-worked onto a mature Granny Smith orchard grafted on M9 rootstocks. His work helps compare training systems, allowing growers to turn old orchards into modern 2D canopies suitable for mechanization of principal operations.
  • Lead NC140 apple rootstock trials to evaluate the most innovative genotypes from around the world.
  • Lead research on new potential apple pollinizer genotypes with improved resistance to quarantine diseases.
  • Support the pear industry by exploring pear maturity variability in the canopy, developing new multi-axis training systems in pears, and evaluating 15 new quince rootstock genotypes to identify ones that perform well in high-density planting pear orchards.