March 2022 - 13
have pretty different minds on G.41s and
935s. I will probably plant them again at
Mountain Ridge Farms. That's probably
something we will not continue. I don't
see enough benefit, either. The ones that
did live didn't produce to what a regular
337 or M.29, to be honest with you. So
why pay extra for it?
" Bud 9 on Honeycrisp is a great
combination, " Slaybaugh said. " It keeps
it timid and everything in check, with
great color. Bud 10 might be better if
you're looking for a more medium-sized
fruit for Honeycrisp and Evercrisp.
" Gala is something we're still trying to
work on, " he said. " We definitely want
to get one size bigger. Is keeping with
337 the way we want to go or Bud 10
with Gala? I think Bud 10 in Gala could
be pretty good. That's definitely what
we're seeing. "
G.41 presents obstacles because it
generally arrives from the nursery
without roots, along with having brittle
wood that makes grafting a challenge.
Harsh said despite wondering " how in
the world is this tree going to survive?, "
they do manage to flourish but are not
moveable once they are grafted.
Select rootstock by location
By staking G.41 when it's planted,
Jason Mattson of Saunders Brothers
orchard and nursery in Nelson County,
Virginia, about 30 miles south of
Charlottesville, has found it works
better when tying both the rootstock
and scion when using a vertical post.
Without that security, " the wind can
blow it, and you can lose a bunch of
trees, " he said.
Bud 9 and Bud 10 work well when
growing bitter pit-susceptible varieties
such as Honeycrisp, Mattson said.
The key is not allowing those trees to
produce a big crop early on. The fruit
should be stripped off for the first three
to four years in order to allow the tree
to fill its space.
" If you're going to grow Honeycrisp
on a Bud 9, just be ready to be patient, "
" There's a lot of new rootstocks out,
but you really want to find one that suits
your soils and your growing conditions
the best. The new roots that we've
planted in our orchards include the M.9
clones. We've done some Bud 9. We've
done quite a bit of G.11 and G.41. I
think all in all, G.11 is probably the one
I'm leaning toward.
" There are some varieties I have some
hesitancies about, " Mattson said. " I think
the M.9 is sort of the perfect tree we're
all looking for in size, structure and just
wants to bear fruit. But, there's some other
concerns in that, at least early on. I've
had some decline in that root. All in all,
I think the G.11 is the one performing
the best and is the one I'm comfortable
planting large blocks of right now.
" The Bud 9, Bud 10 seem to be a
really good combination for Honeycrisp,
Evercrisp, Jonagold - any of those bitter
pit-prone varieties, " Mattson said. " They
really give you a superior apple quality.
You really have to be cautious about that
variety early on. You don't want to fruit
it heavy, especially with Honeycrisp. You
want to strip the fruit off those trees,
especially the first three to four years
or you won't ever get to fill that space.
At least that's how it is for my growing
region. You have to go into it with your
eyes wide open and be aware of what
you're getting into.
" If you're putting Honeycrisp on a
Bud 9, be patient and strip the fruit
off of there the first three to four
years and then you should be able to
fill your space. I like M.26 in Gala, "
Mattson said. " I don't have any of those
growing in my orchard right now, but
just looking at what other growers are
doing, it's been a good experience. I
think that's a really good rootstock
combination for Gala. Although, it
seems like more and more M.26 might
be a little bit harder to find.
" G.41, in general, in our area seems to be
compatible with just about anything we're
trying to grow - whether it's Ambrosia,
Crimson Crisp or Evercrisp - it does
well on it. I have no hesitation about
those combinations. "
All about support
The consensus of the panel members
from four different Mid-Atlantic states
was that whatever modern rootstock is
used in an orchard, it most likely will
need support from posts and wires.
Doing that work can be difficult and
Harsh said he uses a post pounder to
set the posts.
" The first time you see that thing put
those 12-foot poles in, it's just like a
miracle, " Harsh said. " All of a sudden I
can do this. "
Suckers produced by the rootstocks
also need to be addressed. Mount said
he has his crew cut off the suckers in the
offseason as early as November.
" It kind of ticks me off that it takes so
long, but that's the way it is, " Mount said.
Mattson tried to use glufosinate to
manage root suckers, but no longer
takes that approach because he lost
some trees doing it that way.
He now prunes root suckers when the
regular orchard pruning is conducted.
Mattson still does trim his Asian
pears prior to dormancy because those
trees produce thorns that become
a management issue prior to the
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FGN | MARCH 2022 | 13
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