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Apple rootstock suggestions

Posted by JoppaRich 7b (My Page) on
Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 13:59

I bought a property this last year, and I'm going to start putting together an orchard. I'm about to start ordering bareroot trees, and am looking for suggestions for apple rootstocks.

I live outside of Richmond VA, in zone 7b. My soil is anywhere from 2" to 2' of nice soft loam on top of who knows how deep clay.

This is my first year here, so I'm not real sure whether or not this is normal, but this winter was very wet, and the yard was very squishy for a good chunk of the winter. We had standing water in some places for quite a bit of time.

I've heard that fireblight is a big problem around here.

So, I'm looking for rootstocks that are fireblight resistant, ideally dwarf or semi-dwarf, that can handle the ground staying a bit wet over the winter.

Any suggestions?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 3, 14 at 23:14

Do a search for a chart comparing Geneva rootstocks. I'd give you a direct link but all I'm coming up with right now is a pdf.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Here is a link to the newer Geneva rootstocks, which are not all widely available yet. In the next post I have another link to info that includes a lot of other apple rootstocks.
I noted that the chart does not really say how these handle moist soils. Your best bet for the poor drainage would be to make raised mounds several inches at least above the surrounding yard to plant the apples, or if your yard has a higher end that drains better, use that area. Maybe something could be done to improve drainage away from the planting as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cornell description of new Geneva rootstocks


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Here is another link to some apple rootstock info. Use Google on the subject, lot of info out there. I think the drainage issue you have may be more important in the long run than what rootstock you use. Search the forum, there have been a few discussions on planting in raised mounds or rows here in the past year.

Here is a link that might be useful: apple rootstock listing


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Its often wet in winter. The problem is if its wet in the summer.

Few nurseries sell the newest rootstocks and to get selection I would stick with the tried and true ones. For you that probably means M7 or MM111. Avoid MM106, it is water adverse, and avoid M26 and M9 due to firelight problems. The newer Geneva stocks are better if you can find them but as long as you avoid the above bad ones it should not matter so much.

Scott


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Thanks.

Onegreenworld has M7 for $2.50 each in the volume I'm looking for (lets say $3.50 shipped), so that certainly works.

What do you guys prefer for scion sources? I'd like to graft my own trees if possible for the experience, etc.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Rich, if you are grafting yourself you may be able to get one of the new Geneva stocks. But they are in high demand and perhaps everyone is sold out of them at this point. I just checked Williamette, my standard bulk rootstock source, and they are pretty much sold out of Geneva stocks (except G16 which I would not recommend - too virus-sensitive).

Maple Valley has a lot of apple scions. I got nearly all mine from Nick Botner but last year was his last year in business. Richard Fahey is another good source, write him for list. I just heard that Hocking Hills Orchard is selling scions, they have 700+ varieties. Fedco also sells scionwood. Seed Savers now has a good apple selection; you need to pay to join first though. There is a list somewhere in this forum of other places.

Scott

Edit: I just noticed that Seed Savers redid their website, they now have a lot of apple pictures up. It looks like they have 850 varieties of apples now. Their prices are $40 to join and $5 per stick.

Here is a link that might be useful: SSE apples

This post was edited by scottfsmith on Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 9:34


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 5, 14 at 11:38

The place to get Geneva rootstocks is Cummins. Per their site, they have G11, G16, G202 and G30. But, they likely have some of the others, if you ask. I was able to some G65 from them last spring.

You can also find a few Geneva rootstocks at Grandpas Orchard and Raintree, though they are a bit more expensive and with fewer options. James Cummins, the founder of Cummins nursery is one of the Cornell researchers involved with their development, so it makes sense that he would specialize in them...

Here's my favorite rootstock chart. If you want semi-dwarf, G202 looks pretty good. For a smaller tree G11 or G41 seems good. For a tiny tree, G65.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

The question becomes how many do you need? If you need hundreds buy from Lawyer nursery for 5 times less the price but it you need 10 any of the above mentioned and others are fine. Some of those new rootstocks require staking and they are not as proven in my opinion as mm111. The advantage is they produce apples twice as fast and are probably as good or better than mm111 but no one really knows. MM111 takes twice as long to produce apples as some rootstocks but long term it's disease resistant and adapts well to most any soil. For me getting the apples twice as fast using new rootstocks sounds like a great idea but I know Mm111 and would still use it.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

I'm still trying to figure out how many I need.

I've got a pasture that the previous occupants fenced off. I think they misread the deed/survey, and put the fence up 16 feet from the property line. There's an easement that's 16 feet wide, but only half of it runs on my property, so basically there's 8 feet of utility/drainage easement, then 8 feet of just empty space, and then the 6 foot horse fence.

I'm planning on putting sheep in the pasture, but i've basically got a 8' by 325 feet area between the easement and the fence where I'd like to put some trees. The area runs east to west, and the pasture is on the south side, so it gets full sun.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Property lines and fences are a challenging problem. I would go off the county survey and move the fence to their specs and then plant the trees. If you have 8' to work with mm111 is a bad choice because the get wider than that so the above mentioned dwarf rootstock will be a better option.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

This guide should give you the information you need

Here is a link that might be useful: Rootstock info


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

I am not sure that the Geneva rootstocks are superior for home growers to something like 111. Have any of you seen a 111 tree killed to the ground by fireblight ? I haven't.

I've seen no research to convince me of the general superiority for home growing, although this may be ignorance on my part. 111 is generally the best rootstock for home growers that I use. M7 will often blow over in wet soils- often when trees don't even have fruit in the fall- this is more than an occasional problem and most often comes into play when you think trees are well established and bearing full loads of fruit. It is not a problem with the more vigorous and later fruiting varieties, however.

Is there a Geneva rootstock as efficient at pulling water from dry soil and also surviving wet conditions as 111?

From my reading, where the Geneva's are mostly being touted is in commercial production on the more dwarfing rootstocks.

Cummins himself considers the main advantage of 30 over 111 being the lack of burr knots, but burr knots have never been an issue for me and you can always pile the soil up to the union if you live where it is a problem.

I don't claim to have enough experience with the Geneva rootsocks to be an authority but I'd like to hear from someone with direct comparative experience chime in. I have some, but not enough- maybe precocity is a big advantage with G 30, but that would only matter with later bearing types.

G30 may have compatibility problems with Kidd's Orange Red. Had one snap off cleanly at the union without tearing anything- it was a bearing tree. I wonder what other varieties this may pertain to.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Harvestman I absolutely agree mm111 in my opinion sets the standard when it comes to healthy long lived fruit trees the drawback is the time it takes to get fruit. Geneva rootstock will produce fruit twice as fast as 111. They grow so fast that as I mentioned they get spindly and require staking. I'm going to grow half and half this year and do some experimenting. The 111 will be the rootstocks I count on 20-30 years from now staying alive and producing in my old age. Geneva will be what I count on producing 2-3 years from now. 111 in my area does not come into production for 5-12 years. Like the saying pears for your heirs the 111 is not to different in this heavy clay soil of Kansas. 111 is what I recommend but I'm always willing to try new things but I'm smart enough to not count on them. I already have over 5 acres of mature fruit so I can afford a little experimenting. At this point to me Geneva is a novelty until I see them in action for the next 10 years. I plant some kind of fruit every year which is sometimes a few trees and other times we plant a few acres. Due to the drought the last several years we have been planting conservatively.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Fireblight definitely does not bother my 111's but I have seen it kill a manchurian apricot and Hansen cherry to the ground during a wet hot spring. It killed 1 out of an entire row both times and the trees only feet away were tip burned. Since we have had a drought we have not seen blight damage in years


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 9:07

Fire blight doesn't occur in apricot or cherry. They are totally immune. In those species it's going to be bacterial canker or something akin, not fire blight.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Thank you for letting me know because I misidentified what caused the problem. The trees turned brown top to bottom as if the y had been hit with herbicide . We had sprayed with captan every 7-10 days that year so now I'm at a complete loss to the cause. I noticed the tips of new growth on other trees died back as well. We used dormant oil spray that winter. We used multipurpose insect spray before and after bloom as we always do. We assumed it was Fireblight due to the symptoms . So it affects pome fruit only?


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 11:14

I've only heard of it in apple, pear, and quince. It could affect other pome fruits. But never stone fruits. Bacterial canker is somewhat similar in stone fruit. But it doesn't travel through the plant like fire blight does.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Ideally I'd like to put the trees up between the fence and the easement, with the fence protecting the trees from the sheep. The county hasn't touched the easement at any point (and I don't think they will unless another development gets put in behind me), so wider than 8' may be ok, but not too much.

I think M111 is going to be too big.

In that 8-12 foot wide size, what am I looking? G202 was recommended earlier, and says 35% size tree. Is that about what I'm looking for sizewise?


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 13:00

Yes 35% is about right. I've had good luck with M9 and M26. Of the new rootstocks G41 is highly regarded.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Thanks.

I'm operating with very little frame of reference here, so some of these basic things are new to me. Prior to buying some land, all of my fruit growing was either in pots, or pulling pears from my grandmother's pear tree as a kid (Which I think was a full sized tree). So 35% doesn't mean much to me, as I don't really know what a normal sized apple is.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Tue, Feb 11, 14 at 16:32

My M9, M26, and G16 have been about 8-10 ft tall and wide. To me that's about 35%. They could easily be kept smaller here. Your site might well be more vigorous.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Remember that the variety of apple is as important an issue to precocity and vigor as rootstock. There are varieties that can set fruit on the second year on 111 while others might take 6

Fuji on 26 is about as vigorous, as Goldrush on 111..


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Fruitnut canker that I have seen gives visual clues such as oozing etc. The trees that died gave no symptoms except sudden death. No oozing or slow death as would happen with canker. Whatever it was is still a mystery to me.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

"Fuji on 26 is about as vigorous, as Goldrush on 111.."

This doesn't mean much to me. Are you saying Fuji is more vigorous than Goldrush, or vice-versa. I just don't know enough.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Joppa as you know mm111 is rootstock that produces as I mentioned in Kansas within 5-12 years which is dependent on the scion wood grafted onto the rootstock. The dwarf rootstock produces apples faster aka 26 is dwarf rootstock. So if you graft Fuji on 111 and 26 the 26 will always produce faster. So goldrush produces faster than Fuji always if all things are equal. I have a green gage plum for example that is 20 years old and 25 feet tall and never produced a plum. It will but it takes time for some plants to produce.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

It's not all about the rootstock because the scion wood is just as important. For example if you live in an area where Fireblight is common you would plant a resistant rootstock and use a resistant scion wood. Let's say for example you want a cooking pear and you live in Texas in a Fireblight area then Bartlett might not be considered a good choice of pears. European pears such as Bartlett are not known for their resistance to Fireblight. Kiefer pears and other oriental pears are known to be resistant to Fireblight and good cooking pears but far to grainy for fresh eating. Back to apples for a second if you graft yellow delicious on mm111 yellow delicious is an excellent pollinator for other apple trees but that has nothing to do with the fact that it's on 111 it's because the scion wood (yellow delicious) has those properties of being a great pollinator. The mm111 however is highly resistant to Fireblight as mentioned before so if you live in a Fireblight area with so so soil mm111 is a great choice for rootstock but the scion wood you graft on the 111 you want to chose wisely. Hope that helps


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Trees unlike vegetables when we buy them say very little about the plant. When we buy tomatoes for example the tag may say 85 days, indeterminate, vfnt so that tells you the tomato produces in 85 days continually until frost and is resistant to verticillium, fusirium, nematode a and tobacco mosaic. With apple trees they don't give you relevant info which is why fruit growers wind up frustrated at times. You need the bloom time to know if it blooms late or early because in areas such as mine that info is critical in raising fruit. You need to know how soon to expect fruit and what diseases a particular plant won't get. To be completely honest none of us no all that at times.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

When you chose your apple varieties I would google bloom time and find out what diseases they do or don't get. Develop a plan on treating for disease and insects. Most of all decide your purpose you are growing them for. This year I'm grafting a cider apple I grew from seed to mm111 because it's a great cider apple . Since it's a one of a kind I'm grafting so I always have that sweet tart variety. I'm also grafting a Arkansas black because I need late season apples that store well through the winter so we have another source of fruit in the winter. I am also starting several other varieties for other purposes such as they are sweet or tart depending on if we are drying them,making pie,jelly, selling them etc.. So if I were you maybe use the idea of growing a goldrush as given above and get fruit in two to three years and maybe grow a Fuji that will take longer to bear but is up there in the top of the charts for flavor like honey crisp,Winesap,pink lady,gala and others.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

joppa, Fuji is a vigorous, slow to bear apple, Goldrush bears young and growth is slowed by this habit. 111 is considered about twice as vigorous a rootstock as 26, yet a Fuji on 26 grows about as vigorously as Goldrush on 111.

Much more is said about relative vigor of rootstocks because, with apples, that is their main point. The vigor of a variety is often not even discussed in catalogues, but people need to know this as much as rootstock when determining spacing as well as precocity.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Harvestman wouldn't it be nice if that information and more was widely available. Unfortunately most of us found this forum after we learned the basics things through trial and error. I learn from this forum every time I'm here . I'm told by many people Bramley apples trunk always grow to the side and this year I found some scion wood to try out. I will let you guys know if it's true or perhaps you know already. Pruning could be interesting. I still go with what my grandma always said as well and don't put all my eggs in one basket by planting a wide variety of things. Fireblight taught many people that lesson the hard way when it wiped out entire orchards of European pears etc.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by olpea zone 6 KS (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 9:56

" I have a green gage plum for example that is 20 years old and 25 feet tall and never produced a plum."

Clark,

It may be a pollination issue. Without looking at my notes, I'm thinking my Green Gage started producing year four.

"Fireblight definitely does not bother my 111's but I have seen it kill a manchurian apricot and Hansen cherry to the ground during a wet hot spring."

Of course Fruitnut is correct, fireblight doesn't affect stone fruits. My experience with apricots on Manchurian roots is that they like to die in KS clay soil from wet feet.

Peaches will tolerate a few days of wet feet during the growing season, but apricots can take even less water on their roots. They collapse showing some of the symptoms of fireblight (i.e. the leaves will turn brown/black and hang on the tree).

I've never grown Hansen cherry so I can't comment on it.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Thanks Olpea that makes a lot of sense on the apricot. The green gage has a sand plum and wild plum in close proximity 15 feet. It could be just old clay Kansas soil making them produce late. I mixed a truck load of old manure in with them when I planted them and mulched them down with woodchips a few inches thick it ha bloomed once and the blooms were frost nipped . It is not uncommon on standard stock for them to be slow to produce.thanks again


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Clark, one of the best tricks I've learned to speed E. plums to bearing is to pull branches down below horizontal in early spring once trees are 3 or 4 years old. These branches will usually fruit the following year and once the tree is in fruiting mode it will usually stay that way.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Do you stake down the branches or weight them down or slightly break them? Good to know harvestman thank you.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Usually I tie them with string connected to the trunk or tape them to lower branches. It doesn't really matter how you do it as long as they are below horizontal- just make sure you rub off the water sprouts as they develop so energy all goes to making flowers.

Historically it was called festooning and you can probably find an illustration of it if you search for it.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Thanks again that plum will taste pretty sweet after all these years!


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by eboone 6a - SW PA (My Page) on
    Wed, Feb 12, 14 at 21:46

Clark, sand plum and wild plum will not pollinate a Green Gage which is European. GG is supposed to be partially self fruitful but weather and climate and the strain of GG and ?other factors affect that. My GG is a wonderful fruit but I only had a couple dozen set fruit on my large 8y old tree last year, which was covered in blossoms. I'm putting in another variety this year to get better pollination (and cause I love plums)


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

If I buy a whole bunch of rootstocks, how long do I really have to splice things on them? If I don't have a good source of scions this year, would it still be worth it to purchase a whole bunch of (say, g202), plant them, and then graft next year?

Or should I just suck it up, spend the money, and get the scions somewhere.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Eboone, are you sure? At the time gurneys sold it as self pollinating but recommended the sand plum as a pollinator . Joppa, I have grafted over 15-20 year old trees when changing varieties from one to another. The older trees are grafted with a technique known as rind grafting. That being said I recommend you spend the $3-$6 on good scion wood. In most cases getting scion wood from pros pays off. If you do buy individuals or trade with friends etc to avoid picking up diseases make up a mild bleach water solution to run the scions through. Google search prepping and handling scion wood and you will find additional info. Research everything prior to doing it. The ideas we give you here are the basics but there are people out there that write thousands of page books on this stuff. Apples and pears are forgiving things to graft. Expect 50 percent or higher take rate of the grafts. As your skill improves so will your take rate. Rind grafting is a favorite technique of many orchards.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Eboone, are you sure? At the time gurneys sold it as self pollinating but recommended the sand plum as a pollinator . Joppa, I have grafted over 15-20 year old trees when changing varieties from one to another. The older trees are grafted with a technique known as rind grafting. That being said I recommend you spend the $3-$6 on good scion wood. In most cases getting scion wood from pros pays off. If you do buy individuals or trade with friends etc to avoid picking up diseases make up a mild bleach water solution to run the scions through. Google search prepping and handling scion wood and you will find additional info. Research everything prior to doing it. The ideas we give you here are the basics but there are people out there that write thousands of page books on this stuff. Apples and pears are forgiving things to graft. Expect 50 percent or higher take rate of the grafts. As your skill improves so will your take rate. Rind grafting is a favorite technique of many orchards.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

I'd buy a few "pre-grafted" trees just to hedge my bets. I didn't find grafting all that easy and it can be quite frustrating for a first-timer.

gary


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 13, 14 at 10:12

Planting rootstocks this year and grafting next year is a good way to increase the success of your grafts. I grafted for the first time this past spring and I had a much better take rate grafting onto an established tree than I did on bench grafts which I then potted. The 50% estimate was pretty close for the established tree, as 11 of 20 grafts lived. For the new rootstocks, I had 16 (10 G65, 2 M27, 1 B9, and 3 quince for pear) and even after re-grafting some of the failures, I only yielded 2 trees. But, I've now got a bunch of 1 year old rootstocks to graft, as most of the rootstocks lived. This isn't to say that you wouldn't do better than me- my grafts were pretty ugly...

From what I've read, it is better to graft early (April), but I had success (2 of 3 on the established tree) even in mid-June, when I used up the last of my scionwood.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

I have better success with grafts on established trees of good vigor. Usually nearly 100%, with robust growth and fruit as early as the second year when I graft as soon or right before first growth.

I can see why rootstocks would not work well just after being dug up- how are they supposed to have enough energy to heal and grow a new shoot when desperately trying to replace roots? Maybe that's why commercial nurseries tend to bud graft in summer after rootstocks have recovered.

If bench grafts are left in the green house while the grafts establish the high humidity will allow the grafts to survive much longer while the rootstock recovers, I believe. Similar to being able to root a tomato plant from a shoot.

I think that the problem with late grafts may be that their growth is the most tender on the tree by the time they begin to grow and leaf hoppers here do a number on them difficult to control. Late peach and plum grafts that aren't susceptible to LH's do fine late for me although not much better than 50%. If I graft at first growth for them I get hardly any takes.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Bob and HM, your comments are making me second guess my grafting plans. I have in the fridge now my scions from USDA and other sources and will be receiving from Cummins my G-11 rootstocks next month. My thoughts were to bench graft everything. This is my first real attempt at grafting, as a newbie grafter, would I be better off planting the rootstock and attempting bud grafting? Can you bud graft a failed bench graft? Really dont want my scions to go to waste.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

  • Posted by bob_z6 6b/7a SW CT (My Page) on
    Thu, Feb 13, 14 at 18:20

Chris, If you've already ordered everything, definitely give it a try. The USDA sends plenty of wood, so you've probably got enough to try bench grafting and still bud it later if it fails.

My success rate may also have been decreased by planting the new rootstocks in (fabric) pots, as potted plants are generally less vigorous than if grown in the ground.

Another option is to graft the leftovers onto existing tree(s), which is what I did last year. Then, assuming you label everything well, you can graft back to the 1 year old rootstocks the next spring.


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Harvestman,
I did what you said on the green gage and its blooming like crazy! Thank you!


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Ok, just saw this pop back up.

The rootstock is all in the ground, and most of it has started to leaf out.

What are my options here? What's the best way to get some scion wood at this point, and get these things grafted up? Or should I wait a while.till further into the year?


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

JoppaRich,
Its getting late to get apple scion wood this year but you might try http://www.nuttrees.net/scion.html or try Bob Purvis purvisrc@msn.com. Also anyone in a colder area might have some to ship you since they are just coming out of dormancy

This post was edited by ClarkinKS on Sun, Apr 20, 14 at 5:46


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RE: Apple rootstock suggestions

Thanks Clark, I'll check those out.

If we're getting to be too late in the season to get scion wood, how do people get material for later season bud grafting?


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