[NAFEX] Peach rootstock

Douglas Woodard dwoodard at becon.org
Wed Nov 28 19:26:14 EST 2007

John Bunker, about 25-30 years ago when I was living near the eastern 
end of Lake Ontario, I got a small batch of Reliance peach on Prunus 
americana rootstock. They were feeble, the leaves were more red than 
green, and they soon died. Reports I have read state that peach is not 
compatible long term on Prunus americana. Possibly in ideal soil with 
ideal care they might last a few years and crop (one I sold to friends 
in Kingston gave them one crop which they liked and then died) but this 
is not something for a nursery with a reputation to maintain. I was on 
Lansdowne clay, which is why I tried them.

A few years back when I was in closer touch with the industry, Bailey 
seedlings were the favoured rootstock for peach in Ontario. I think 
Bailey = Indian Cling; at any rate it is an old Indian peach from the 
U.S. midwest. There had been some work with Siberian C for Kent and 
Essex counties near Windsor-Detroit, and Niagara Peninsula above the 
escarpment, but Chui Lum Tao seedlings were regarded as more promising
for these areas in initial trials.

Ragarding plum rootstocks in order of decreasing cold hardiness, 
Pershore Yellow Egg (hardy to zone 4), St. Julien A (zone 5) and 
Brompton (5b/6a) are considered compatible with peach and apricot. The 
late Dr. Gus Tehrani of Vineland Station told me that in his work 
Pershore Yellow Egg roots tended to grow more on one side than the other 
and trees on this stock were not windfirm enough for Ontario.

If you want to experiment you might try Krikon Damson, which I think 
originated in Russia though I'm not sure. Vineland used to have some 
virus-free material which they had obtained from a U.S. station. It is a 
notch more cold-hardy than Stanley or Mount Royal, according to 
Minnesota tests published around 1950.

If you can produce Mount Royal vegetatively it might be good for a 
rootstock for European plums in cold areas, and might be worth trying 
for peach as a long shot. Mount Royal is slightly dwarfish and is said 
to be disease resistant. It survived for lengthy periods at Morden, 
Manitoba but was killed by test winters.

Prunus tenella or its hybrids might be interesting if you are curious 
and have plenty of time and land. Muckle plum (ornamental) from Manitoba 
was originally though to be a bybrid of P. tenella and P. nigra but I 
understand is now thought to be P. nigra.

Doug Woodard
St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada

john bunker wrote:
> Pete,
> We can special order peach rootstock for you.  We are also experimenting
> with grafting peach onto Prunus americana.  We have had poor success spring
> whip and tongue grafting peaches.  Generally, bud grafting is far more
> successful with peaches.  If you are interested in more help, please feel
> free to contact me.
> Best regards,  
> John Bunker
> Fedco
> P.O. Box 520
> Waterville ME 04903
> phone: 207 873-7333
> fax: 207 872-8317
> <fedcoseeds.com>
> "planting trees is good to do" 
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