[NAFEX] Killing Trees

Lon J. Rombough lonrom at hevanet.com
Mon Jul 8 19:04:03 EDT 2002

It's not hard to breed fruit.  Essentially all you need do is assemble
varieties in one place that do well for you. Get them into bearing and let
the bees make crosses.  Then grow out seedlings and look for any that are an
improvement over the parents.  If the seedlings take a very long time to
come into bearing, graft them to dwarf rootstocks or mature trees to get
them into bearing faster.  This is the way Luther Burbank did it, and any
good NAFEX member should know how many varieties HE introduced.
    This is an oversimplification, of course, but the point is that anyone
can come up with good new varieties - you don't have to have university
training or facilities to succeed.    With Nanking cherry, you should be
able to grow seedlings about 2 feet apart in the row.  Start pulling
seedlings as soon as they have borne fruit - most will have obvious flaws
and can be dug out as soon as they bear, if not sooner.
-Lon Rombough
Grapes, writing, consulting, more, plus word on my grape book at

> My original reason for bringing up the bush cherry thread is that Im quite
> curious about
> listmember's experiences & experiments with trying to grow out & select
> improved varieties of
> some of the plants that have not had a lot of work done with them.  My visit's
> to Phil Rutter's
> Badgersett Farms last month was eye-opening to the madness with a method
> techniques that Phil
> has been working toward for more than 20 years.  His motivation of course is
> that he wants to
> create a commercial hazelnut for the midwest, so somewhere in his picture Im
> sure there is an
> economic incentive, but really he (& many like him) are doing free R & D that
> is benefitting all
> of us.  & of course visiting Phil one of the first things out of his mouth is
> he proudly talks
> about how many trees he's killed to get to the point he is at.  There is no
> question that the
> kind of trials he is running are essential, but what Im wondering is if, this
> kind of activity
> is useful to the overall cause, on a much much smaller manageable scale?  If
> for instance I
> start growing out nankings & selecting for the desirable fruiting traits &
> disease resistence,
> growing out a few lines is there really any chance of coming up with a better
> nanking cherry?
> Or is this the province of tissue culture & university breeding programs?

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