As I have had no success in locating dwarfing rootstocks in small quantities, I am thinking of buying a dwarf tree to use as a source. Does anyone know of a good dwarf rootstock that suckers or do I need to sacrifice the top and make a stool bed? Thanks.
Basically dwarf and semi-dwarf cherry rootstocks are not available in small quantities.
See this for discussion-
From my experience both Gisela 5 and Krymsk 5 (semi-dwarf) will sucker. For the Gisela 5 tree I induced suckering by burying the graft union. With Krymsk 5, the rootstocks I had suckered I think because I was forced to plant them in wet, heavy, compacted soil. But I think in most cases you will probably want to start a stool bed.
I would also just think about buying trees rather grafting them… what scions are you looking to graft?
Variety selection is the problem. I live in an area cherries do not do well because they don’t harden up soon enough in the fall. I was wanting to trial several varieties to see which survive best.
I think my sweet cherry is on Krymsk5. It only suckers when top was cut off. If the tree is under normal growing conditions , it doesn’t sucker. It takes wet and heavy soils
Well Raintree nursery offers a bunch of tart and sweet cherries on Gisela 5 rootstock. They’re pretty much sold out this year but you could order them next year.
Are you sure that it is a hardening off issue? I see that you’re in zone 6 which isn’t very cold for tart cherries and even most sweet cherries. Are you sure it isn’t a soil issue or rootstock issue as many tart cherries are sold on Mahaleb which can’t tolerate heavy soils.
Tart cherries do just fine here but sweet cherries not so much. It is not the winter cold that hurts them, it is the fall freezes before they are ready. You see the damage before winter really gets here. Branches will split or ooze sap and desicate. Often they die back to rootstock and other times just hang on in a very crippled state with no vigor.