[NAFEX] Sport or Something Else?

nottke1 nottke1 at earthlink.net
Sun Jul 5 17:00:13 EDT 2009

I have a "dwarf Seckel Pear" that I bought with a gift card at a big box store 12 years ago, before I got into fruit tree growing and grafting (mostly pawpaws).  This pear tree has been a runt, growing a spindly trunk up to about 9 ft tall and putting out a dozen or so small tasty pears each year.
A few old timey pear trees that I grafted a couple years ago are much larger than this old "Seckel".

In 2007 a vigorous "water sprout" shot up on the old Seckel and I let it grow - this vertical sprout is about 4 inches from the trunk on the lowest scaffold branch, which is about 18 inches from the ground.  I topped the sprout last summer when it reached the height of the original trunk - the sprout then put out several short side shoots before hardening off.  This year the sprout and its side shoots are loaded with fruit - I removed a bucket of immature fruit a month ago to reduce the load.  The fruit appear to be the same as fruit on the original tree for this time in the season.  The sprout is now the same diameter as the original trunk that still feeds it, which I assume will become a problem eventually.
I recently read Allen Cosnow's article in Spring 09 Pomona, in which he speculates on delayed scion rooting of older trees.  That got me thinking about what was happening with my pear tree.
I presume in my case I have a vigorous "sport" of some sort rather than some mysterious scion rooting, but I would appreciate any comments, suggestions, or questions.

Jim Nottke
Zone 7
Pfafftown, North Carolina

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