[NAFEX] Mazzard r/s hardiness
dwoodard at becon.org
Thu May 8 00:46:42 EDT 2008
On the old style maps, Toronto is on the northern fringe of zone 6b, and
the area of the Niagara Peninsula below the escarpment (between the
escarpment and Lake Ontario) where most of the commercial fruitgrowing
is done, is Zone 7a.
I'd tell your someone to go ahead and use Mazzard if he really wants to,
as long as it's not Colt, which is apparently significantly less hardy
than Mazzard F12/1. In the past Mazzard seedlings from a certain
supplier at Freelton (also just within 6b I think) a little north of
Hamilton were used in the trade, though I'm not sure whether they were
dug in the fall or whether they overwintered in the open and were dug in
Metro Toronto should benefit from the urban heat island effect and wind
If your someone is significantly north of Toronto things might be
different. Up there much would depend on whether he had significant
reliable snow cover or whether his location was subject to open winters.
The late Isaac Brock Lucas used M9 and Quince A (the latter recommended
for the Niagara Peninsula only below the escarpment) in a walled garden
at Markdale in zone 4b or 5a in an area of heavy snowfall near Georgian
Bay and Lake Huron.
There is a range of coldhardiness within Mazzards. When I visited Ken
Taylor of Windmill Point Farm (nursery) on Ile Perrot just west of
Montreal (Zone 5a close to 5b) a few years ago, 1983 or 1984, he showed
me his tree of "Biga" (his name), reportedly a Bing seedling from just
below Quebec City. The tree was about 20 years old he said, and
evidently on its last legs, but had survived the test winter of 1994-5,
though I gathered with damage. Ken continues to offer various Mazzard
In the 1970's Agriculture Canada published a booklet on "Tree Fruit
Cultivars in British Columbia" (if I remember correctly) based on the
work of the Summerland (Okanagan) staion. It classified sweet cherry
cultivars into several groups by cold hardiness. Salmo (a Summerland
introduction) and Hudson (Geneva Station NY introduction) constituted
the hardiest group by themselves.
The late Dr. Gus Tehrani of the Vineland Station told me that he had
tried Prunus fruticosa as a cherry rootstock, and that scions were
compatible but overgrew the stock and ceased to be windfirm after a few
years. I am almost certain he said this of sweet cherry scions. Prunus
fruticosa might be worth trying as a nurse root to be planted deep for
From the literature, Prunus mahaleb is hardier than Mazzard but needs a
deep well drained soil. It seems to be used commonly for sour cherry in
the Niagara Peninsula, but such are grown here only on the Vineland fine
sand and sandy loam ("peach soil"), normally at least a metre of sand
over clay and often several metres deep. I have seen it 2 to 4 metres
deep at various sites hereabouts, lakeshore bluffs and construction
Small plants of Evans sour cherry from tissue culture are available from
Alberta Nursuries and Seeds at $6 each in batches of 5 and might be
suitable as rootstocks, especially for sour cherry. See
I understand they ship around the end of June. I am doubtful whether
such plants would be ready for budding this summer.
The Gisela series of dwarfing cherry rootstocks has Prunus fruticosa in
its breeding, and I expect they would be hardy at Toronto. Humber
Nursery at the Toronto side of Brampton (?) sells sweet cherries on Gisela.
This message may be reproduced.
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Agriculture Canada Zone 7a (old style)
> Does anyone know the hardiness of Mazzard (cherry) r/s?
> I know someone in Toronto who wants to use it ... but I don't know the
> 'hardiness' of Mazzard.
> I have heard it is used in Michigan and in the Niagara Peninsula, but I'd
> prefer a reference to hardiness zones.
> I know Mahaleb is hardier, but I'd like to know about Mazzard.
> Derry Walsh
> south coastal B.C.
> Bill Chase & Derry Walsh
> Aldergrove. B.C., V4W 2E6
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