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Rootstock advice for Western MA (5A)  RSS feed

 
Evan Murphy
Posts: 6
Location: Zone 5a - Berkshires, MA
forest garden solar trees
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Hi all,

I'm looking for rootstock advice in order to propagate enough trees for a permaculture orchard, the goal being 9 trees to start and stooling them after they have a year to establish. I suppose it's effectively a rootstock trial for the site if anything doesn't take after a year. My site is on a southwest-facing gradual slope in western MA zone 5A.

I have perc tests for the site so I have a good idea what my soil profile is: It's a slow-percolating, sandy loam with a seasonally high water table for better or worse, PmC Peru-Marlow association for anyone interested. I think I could get by without earthworks, but I think I'll be installing swales fed by a small pond due to the high water table to avoid wet feet as best I can, I have an appropriate slope for it and a friend who can do the work for a reasonable cost. I'd also have a 20x20 shed roof I can collect from nearby to feed the pond.

I'm planting apples, cherries, pears and plums for now. Maybe peaches eventually if I can find anything that will grow here. I'm planting in NAP trios so I'm planning on honey locust and male/female sea buckthorne as my N-fixers for now. I'd like to be able to keep spacing to 10' feet between trees, I'm fine with staking but I'd prefer nothing too dwarfed. I haven't decided on cultivars yet but I want a variety.

So far I've landed on:

Apples: B.118, G.11, M.111
Cherries: Prunus Avium
Pear: Pyrus Ussuriensis
Plum: Prunus Americana

Anyone have experience with similar conditions? If not I suppose I can just post my progress as I go

Thanks!

-Evan
 
Evan Murphy
Posts: 6
Location: Zone 5a - Berkshires, MA
forest garden solar trees
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Welp, in that case I'm curious if anyone has opinions (good or bad) about using the rootstocks I mentioned in the northeast...others I may be overlooking?
Apples: B.118, G.11, M.111
Cherries: Prunus Avium
Pear: Pyrus Ussuriensis
Plum: Prunus Americana

I hope to have extra rootstock eventually so I'd love to connect with anyone located nearby about trading in the future.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 414
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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For apples, I like M111.  Bud 118 sounds good, but I haven't tried it. G11 is more dwarfed than I'd want unless you just want a few to produce faster.  Dwarfs don't live as long and aren't as hardy. I'm trying some Antonovka but there're still tiny. They are supposed to produce a usable apple without grafting. I'm trying a couple ungrafted too.
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 414
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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There is also a variety of crab apple rootstock that can handle very we soils. I can't rember what it's called, but I'll try to figure it out.
 
Evan Murphy
Posts: 6
Location: Zone 5a - Berkshires, MA
forest garden solar trees
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Thanks Ken. I've been leaning away from the G.11 the more I read about it, at least for my site.

How long have you had your Antonovka going?
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 414
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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They are just a year old, so I don't know anything first hand.  Raintree Nurseries has a lot of rootstock selections and good descriptions.
 
Evan Murphy
Posts: 6
Location: Zone 5a - Berkshires, MA
forest garden solar trees
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My plan for this year has changed a bit, as they do.
Doesn't look I'll be doing my rootstock trials this year, but I did graft a number of trees on G.41 and G.935 which I hadn't planned on using.
I'm keeping them in 5 gal grow bags until this fall when we've completed some earthworks.
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 221
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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Let us know how it goes!  As a fellow Western MA resident I'm curious to hear what works for you.  Sadly I have no room for more than 1-2 fruit trees beyond the 3 pawpaws I just planted - if you have any advice on selecting sour cherry trees (especially red-fleshed) I'd love to hear it.
 
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