Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Selecting the best rootstock for your fruit trees

The rootstock you select for your fruit tree determines the size of the tree, how soon they produce fruit, their susceptibility and resistance to disease and insect pests, what type of support they need, and their tolerance to heavy clay soils. Some rootstocks are even said to increase the cold tolerance of the scion grafted to the rootstock. 

The rootstock is the root system;  the scion is the apple, peach, pear, etc. that will produce the fruit. Very few fruit trees are grown on their own roots.

Dr. Ramesh Pokharel and I have compiled a list of what we feel are the best fruit tree rootstocks for western Colorado.  We have also included rootstocks on our list that we do not recommend even though they are often sold by area nurseries and garden centers.  Research reports and personal experience of the authors have been used to generate this list.

Neglecting to consider the rootstock when you chose a fruit tree can result in a sick tree and little fruit production.  You can find our list at

When you go to the nursery this spring to buy a new fruit tree, be sure to take this list with you.

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