[NAFEX] Rootstock Information Gap

mauch1 at aol.com mauch1 at aol.com
Wed Mar 15 11:28:11 EST 2006


I agree that the nurseries are often frustrating as to what rootstock their trees are grafted to.
 
I'm not sure what you were looking for in peaches, but I went to Raintreenursery.com, and they for the most part, do list what a variety is grafted to.  But, only two of them were grafted to Pumiselect, which I believe is supposed to be dwarfing.  There's no 'choice' as to rootstock.
 
Adams County Nursery lists 3 different rootstocks, but I don't believe they tell you what peach is on what rootstock.  Actually for commercial growing, they have two varieties that grow columnarly, so that the trees can be planted closely together, but are tall.
 
I have from 'experts' often state that (at least prior to the 'new' rootstocks), that since peach trees require renewal pruning (i.e. they produce on one year old wood), are generally shortlived, aren't that big to begin with, and that the old dwarfing stocks had graft incompatibility, that it is better to use pruning to control tree size and shape.  The new rootstocks haven't always had wide enough testing, have had hardiness, soil, viral, or other issues.  
 
I once grafted sweet cherries on a Geisenheim rootstock 6-7 years ago.  I asked Jim Cummins about the rootstock at the 2004 Nafex conference.  He stated it made a beautiful dwarf tree that didn't bloom/fruit.  This has been backed up thus far by my experience.
 
As to dwarfing apple and pear stock, I think that there the record and performance is more proven.  However, vigor of scion type can vastly vary the size of tree.  I remember reading a study where golden delicious was used as a control.  Tree size of other cultivars could vary from around 60% of control (i.e. the variety (I think HoneyCrisp)) to over 150% (Goldrush?).  So saying a tree will grow to be 8-10 feet if a dwarf rootstock is a misnomer unless the vigor of the scion is known.  I also believe that different cultivars will perform differently on different stocks.
 
I have to check, but I just ordered a 'dwarf' apple tree from Gurney's (i.e. GardensAlive). The rootstock happened to be labeled and I believe was M-7 - which I don't consider 'dwarf'.  
 
Chris Mauchline
SE PA, zone 6
40° 5' N 75° 51'W
~650 ft elevation
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