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What is your opinion on planting grafted trees like this?

 
elle sagenev
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Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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I bought some antique trees and the instructions say place graft 4" above the soil like OR plant below the soil line so the scion wood will root and the tree will be healthier. I've never seen that suggested before, though I have been playing with rooting fruit tree cuttings. Opinions? I like the idea of rooting the scion wood.
 
Patrick Mann
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If you root the scion you will lose most of the benefits of the rootstock, such as dwarfing, early fruiting, and disease resistance.

However, there may be some benefit to burying the first graft on an interstem grafted tree - in this case you are rooting the interstem graft which is usually a dwarfing rootstock (but leaving the second graft of the actual cultivar above the ground). This is said to reduce suckering.
 
John Wolfram
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Kinda depends if you want the attributes of the rootstock for your tree. If you think woolly aphids and collar rot might be a problem, and your trees are on EMLA 111, then it would be good to keep the rootstock. If you want to negate the dwarfing characteristics of a Bud9 rootstock, then absolutely plant below the graft.
 
elle sagenev
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Honestly, if I could get a tree that wasn't grafted, I'd do that. I'm fine with standard. I have the space. I'm not sure about pests what with no one in this state thinking growing trees is possible. So, deleting the dwarfing root stock would be just fine to me!
 
Patrick Mann
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What rootstock do you have? 111 is only semi-dwarfing, producing a tree about 80% of a seedling.
 
Ann Torrence
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Like Patrick said, it depends on what rootstock it was grafted onto. With Wyoming wind, anchorage is critical. What'd ya get?
 
elle sagenev
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Well I'm not positive. I'll have to call and ask. I requested M111. I know that is supposed to be good for my climate. They had some issues with their root stocks and the weather though. So I think I need to call and make sure.
 
Ann Torrence
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If it's MM.111, I wouldn't bury it:

"Introduced in 1952 from a cross of Merton 793 x ‘Northern Spy’ by the John Innes Horticultural Institute and the East Malling Research Station in England. MM.111 EMLA is one of the more vigorous semi-dwarf rootstocks, producing a tree about 85 to 100% the size of seedling. It is resistant to wooly apple aphid and is quite tolerant to fire blight and crown and root rots. It is fairly winter hardy and produces moderate amounts of burr knots and root suckers. MM.111 EMLA produces a free-standing tree and does not need support, and it is more precocious than seedling and is fairly productive when trees are mature. During the 1970s and 80s MM.111 EMLA was the standard rootstock in the mid-Atlantic region and in California because tree survival was good and trees did not need support. MM.111 EMLA is being planted less heavily as commercial growers plant higher density orchards that require precocious dwarfing rootstocks." (extension.org)

"MM111 is one of the most adaptable of all rootstocks, and will grow in a very wide range of soil conditions. It is a good choice for a traditional orchard. MM111 is also noted for its good drought tolerance when mature - thanks to its extensive spreading root system. "(Orange Pippin)

You'll get nearly a full-sized tree, with the added benefit of fireblight resistance, relative precocity for size, drought tolerance and exceptional anchorage. It's the preferred rootstock used in Capitol Reef National Park's historic orchards managed for cultural heritage when they have to replant. We used a lot of it, as well as MM.106, because they tolerate our alkalinity on top of their other virtues.
 
Ann Torrence
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If you haven't planted, I've seen two contradictory advices for orienting the tree in the hole

1) there will be a dominant root, bigger and longer than the rest. That one grew southward in the previous location. Point it to the south in the new hole.

or

2) plant the tree so that the dominant wind blows such that the stress on the graft is compressed rather than stretched. Hard to describe without a picture, but if there's a bit of a crook at the graft, you want the pointy end of the crook in the lee of the wind, so the leader is being pushed back onto the crook.

I've done both methods. With MM.111, the roots don't have as much of a dominant root as some other rootstocks we've planted so I'd probably go for option 2.
 
Ann Torrence
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And while I'm giving unsolicited advice....

when you prune back the leader, try to find a bud on the north or windward side to be the new leader. A southward-facing bud is wont to grow toward the sun at an angle, where a north-ward one sort of self-corrects toward upright. Same idea with the wind-assist.
 
elle sagenev
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So they use 3 root stocks, M111, M106 and M7. He said they use M7 more than the rest but he can't exactly say which rootstock my trees are on. So, now what? lol
 
elle sagenev
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Also, I put the trees in tree pots while I made up my mind on what to do. When I told the nursery that on the phone he said I have to leave them there now until next spring. Opinions?
 
John Wolfram
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elle sagenev wrote:So they use 3 root stocks, M111, M106 and M7. He said they use M7 more than the rest but he can't exactly say which rootstock my trees are on. So, now what? lol


elle sagenev wrote:Also, I put the trees in tree pots while I made up my mind on what to do. When I told the nursery that on the phone he said I have to leave them there now until next spring. Opinions?


So they don't know what rootstock they used on your trees, and are suggesting a tree would be better off in a pot for a year than planted in the ground. My opinion would be that I hope you tell us who you ordered from so we can all avoid buying from them in the future.
 
elle sagenev
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John Wolfram wrote:
elle sagenev wrote:So they use 3 root stocks, M111, M106 and M7. He said they use M7 more than the rest but he can't exactly say which rootstock my trees are on. So, now what? lol


elle sagenev wrote:Also, I put the trees in tree pots while I made up my mind on what to do. When I told the nursery that on the phone he said I have to leave them there now until next spring. Opinions?


So they don't know what rootstock they used on your trees, and are suggesting a tree would be better off in a pot for a year than planted in the ground. My opinion would be that I hope you tell us who you ordered from so we can all avoid buying from them in the future.


He said they don't keep track of what root stock is used on each tree so yeah, can't tell me which I have.

As for the other, he said it's because it's out of dormancy now and planting it would be a poor idea. I planted a ton of trees in July of last year. Only 3 survived. So, perhaps he's onto something there. Or perhaps I should water more.
 
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