What's New in Rootstocks?
An abundance of new rootstock options are available for growers to choose from. Many of these rootstocks have advertised benefits that may make them appealing options for future year plantings. For commercial growers, switching rootstocks can feel like a leap of faith. While researchers work hard to provide detailed information on rootstock characteristics, research trials cannot account for the many variable conditions (e.g. soil, climate, scion compatibility, disease pressure) that occur in commercial orchards. It may take well over a decade for growers to feel they have a handle on how a rootstock performs. Despite this, new rootstocks may offer advantages that make it worth the risk, including improved precociousness and productivity as well as resistance to diseases and cold damage.
Below are some resources on new rootstock introductions growers may want to consider before ordering trees.
Bud 10™ was bred by Dr. Budagovsky, who also introduced the popular Bud 9 rootstock. Bud 10 has been advertised as having many of the same characteristic as Bud 9 (fire blight resistance, cold hardy specifically). Bud 10 is more vigorous than Bud 9, landing closer to Nic29 or Pajam2 on vigor charts. Bud 10 is not recommended for a challenging replant site.
New Rootstocks in the Geneva® series:
Geneva® 969 was introduced by Cornell University as an alternative to older semi-dwarfing rootstocks such as M7 or M106. However, growers in western states are finding that it sizes more like an M26 which has proved beneficial on low vigor varieties. Eastern growers should be cautious of these claims, as G.969 is still reported to be an M7 size tree in places such as New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. It has many of the qualities common to the Geneva® series, including fire blight resistance, cold hardiness, and replant disease tolerance.
Geneva® 213, Geneva® 214, Geneva® 222, Geneva® 202, and Geneva® 814
All of these options fall in the M9 to M26 size range and are promoted as fire blight resistant, cold hardy, and replant tolerant. With so many new options from Geneva®, growers often are stuck taking whatever inventory is available at the time. Most of these rootstocks are not planted in great numbers yet, so grower experience is limited. It may be best to trial these rootstocks before moving to a large scale planting.
Here are some helpful resources on Genevas:
A couple other thoughts on Geneva® rootstock:
- Many of the older Geneva® rootstocks (specifically G11 and G41) work well for growers. They have been planted on large scales and information exists on potential challenges.
- While some of the rootstock options fall in the semi-dwarf vigor range, tree support is still recommended.
- Virus free scion wood should be used on the newer Geneva® rootstocks. Certain variety/rootstock combinations have not been compatible.