[NAFEX] Apple tree's/rootstocks for zone 3 - Roselow Crab/Malus sargentii
dwoodard at becon.org
Sun Jul 25 15:26:29 EDT 2010
From internet references, Roselow Crab appears to be Malus sargentii,
described as originating in Japan, though it's not clear exactly what
its exact range actually is. A USDA site shows its zone of adaptation
stopping slightly short of the Canadian border in Minnesota. One
internet reference says that it is not hardy beyond minus 33 degrees
Farenheit, although perhaps you (Gerald) have the most solid information
It is said to be best adapted to sandy soils.
The references seem to mostly agree that M. sargentii is a shrubby dwarf
growing to about 8 feet high or a little more, though one says 22
feet. It may be relevant that according to some statements nursery
sources often offer open-pollinated seedlings.
In what appears to be a chapter extracted from "Fruit Breeding: Trees
and Tropical Fruits" by Jules Janick and J.N. Moore,
it is stated
"Orchard evaluation [evidently as rootstocks] of seedlings from the
M.sargentii x 'M.9' selections has not been encouraging; yields have
been low and fruits small ([Hannah] Schmidt, 1988)."
There is an article "Field performance of Malus sargentii as a Rootstock
for Four Commercial Apple Varieties" by W. C. Olien, W. C. Stiles, and
R. C. McCrum in Fruit Varieties Journal (now Journal of the American
Pomological Society) Volume 40 Number 4, October 1986 (quarterly) pp.
If you wish you should be able to get a photocopy through the
interlibrary loan service of your public library. If not, contact me and
I will see what I can do.
My take is that Roselow crab does not look like a good risk from the
limited information I have.
If you have any difficulty getting small numbers of cheap hardy
rootstocks, then seedlings of one prairie-hardy crab which has mainly
common apple and Siberian crab Malus baccata in its breeding (or
Antonovka) pollinated by another should do. From tests by Agriculture
Canada some years ago, the pollen parent (father) makes a considerable
difference to the hardiness of the offspring. Antonovka or Robusta 5
crossed with Osman crab gave pretty good results. The classical apple
rootstock for the Canadian prairies used to be Columbia crab seedlings,
naturally with a prairie-hardy pollen parent.
I would test the seedlings through a least one winter at your site,
preferably with the snow removed from the soil around the seedlings. One
would expect some variation in coldhardiness. It might be wise to
discard unthrifty or excessively vigorous (much more than their fellows)
If you want a semi dwarf rootstock one solution might be an interstem of
Ottawa 3 or Budagovsky 9 on a crab seedling. If necessary the dwarfing
interstem might be obtained from a tree grown from a root cutting.
Ottawa 3 is said to be sensitive to common apple viruses.
If you can get it, in a trial at Palmer, Alaska, Budagovsky 118 (I
believe a semi-dwarf) showed up well for winter survival even compared
to Malus ranetka.
Ottawa 8, another semi-dwarf mentioned by Bob Bors was trialed by some
commercial orchards in Eastern Ontario and I would expect Quebec, I
think in the 1960s. I talked to a grower in Eastern Ontario in the late
1970s who was pleased with his early experience of it. If you ask around
among apple growers and the Quebec scientists you might be able to
find a source. Even if you can just get scionwood of it you could graft
it on a dwarf or semidwarf nurse root (maybe your Roselow seedlings)
planted deep for scion rooting, if you have the time for that.
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
Gérald Tremblay wrote:
> What do you think about using Roselow Crab has a cold climate dwarfing
> apple rootstock? I have 10 graftied this spring and doing very well for
> now and a bunch of young seedlings.
> Gerald, Quebec Z3
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