[nafex] Malus prunifolia

jim jmc1 at epix.net
Sat Dec 9 07:23:58 EST 2000

1) I used Malus prunifolia seedlings from Lawyer a good many years ago and
have been gunshy ever since.  Suckering in the nursery and later in the
orchard was the heaviest I've ever encountered.  Roots were very fibrous in
the nursery but I did not observe later in the orchard.  However,
2) If we look at the geographical distribution of the species, it's easy to
judge that one should not generalize from a single or even several
samples.  Malus prunifolia is evidently endemic across an extremely wide
belt, from eastern Siberia nearly to Lapland.  The north-south
distribution  is also quite extensive.  Within that wide distribution there
must be an enormous variation in characteristics.  To further complicate
matters, there has been constant hybridization along the contacts with
other Malus species.    We have no way of knowing whether  a particular lot
of Malus prunifolia seeds came from Vladivostock or from the northern Urals
or maybe from half a dozen hybrid trees in the Warsaw Botanical Gardens.
3) We do know that within the species we can find resistance to fire blight
(although there is no evidence that the species in its natural habitat was
ever exposed to Erwinia), immunity to apple scab, non-preference resistance
to voles, and a lot of tolerance for low winter temperatures. The
Cornell-Geneva 'Novole', which carries those 3 resistances, comes from a
Malus prunifolia x Malus sieboldii cross.

My bottom line:  I wouldn't touch Malus prunifolia with a 10ft pole for
rootstock purposes unless I knew a great deal about the characteristics of
the particular seed lot.


edforest55 at hotmail.com wrote:

> Del (ando others interested)
> I just did a search on prunifolia and did find that one site
> (garden. . . something or other) did say that it does well on heavy
> clay soil.
> This makes me wonder Del, what did the roots look like, were they
> more carrot shaped or fibrous?
> It said that prunifolia also does well under drought conditions, and
> is frost tolerant.
> I would like to learn more about malus prunifolia, anyone out there
> used it as a rootstock? Lawyers used to offer it but not lately.
> Kevin

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