Our Mission:

Our Mission: To enable individuals and communities to take an active part in the cultivation of systems that provide the highest quality fruits, vegetables, herbs and other yields, in a way that benefits themselves, cares for the land and environment, and provides a surplus to use, share and reinvest into the system.

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Keeping Rootstocks in Check

Suckers growing from the rootstock

Grafted fruit trees are wonderful additions to the landscape.

Grafting lets us know which variety of fruit we are growing, assuring we get our favorite flavors and other qualities.  This top part is known as the Scion wood and is grafted onto a known rootstock.

The Rootstock is the part of the tree that will grow in the ground, and also chosen for its characteristics.  Rootstocks can be seedling grown for economics but are typically cloned with reproducibly known qualities.  These may be chosen for size, disease resistance or performance in a specific soil type.

While trees are young, "root suckers" and other branches on aggressive rootstocks have an easier time growing as the graft scar takes some time to heal completely.  This reduces nutrient and water transfer, hindering the scion's ability to grow until it heals completely.  These branches and suckers can sometimes grow rapidly and overtake the slower grafted portion.  If left unchecked this can eventually cause the grafted part to atrophy and die, losing your chosen variety.

In the video we'll visit the Food Forest at Drake University to demonstrate sucker pruning on a young grafted American Persimmon tree.

Branching and suckering of the rootstock is one way to lose your grafted variety from trees and you will be left with lesser quality fruit, if any fruit at all.  Removing these vigorous suckers is necessary for the long-term health and productivity of the tree.