Emla-106, G-890 rootstock hardiness confusion

I’m looking at a Montana State Extension “MONTGUIDE” that lists EMLA-106 among the cold hardy rootstocks recommended for use in Montana. I have a few multi-graft frankentrees on this fast-growing rootstock I was planning to do away with…because I thought I read somewhere they are not very cold hardy(?) Can anyone tell me if EMLA-106 will “thrive” at my Zone 3 Montana location?

I also have two frankentrees on G-890, which is NOT listed on the MONTGUIDE as being recommended (only G-41, 214, and 935).(?)

So-o-o, keep the EMLA-106, do away with the G-890? Currently I am transitioning all my trees onto B-118, Baccata, Antonovka, and Ranetka rootstocks…and I only planned on keeping the others–on EMLA and Geneva–to enjoy the fruit in a couple years–until the others begin to produce.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

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Do M106 and G.890 meet the demands for your soil and rainfall/drought, etc? Have both rootstocks seen a typical winter there, yet? Those are the two questions you’re asking essentially. Zone 3 Montana means nada to me or most anyone, or likely as much to you as zone 6 Michigan near the lake would… ya know? Soil composition means a lot with rootstocks as do environmental factors such as temperature/rainfall/pests when matching up rootstock.

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Well, you’re gonna make me work for this I see. Okay then. Looking at the Web Soil Survey for my location, I see the following:
Elevation: 3,600 to 5,000 feet
Mean annual precipitation: 10 to 14 inches
Mean annual air temperature: 37 to 45 degrees F
Frost-free period: 105 to 120 days
Farmland classification: Not prime farmland
Crago and similar soils: 50 percent
Musselshell and similar soils: 40 percent
Minor components: 10 percent
Description of Crago
Setting
Landform: Escarpments, plains, alluvial fans, hillsides
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Gravelly alluvium derived from limestone; gravelly colluvium derived from limestone; gravelly slope alluvium derived from limestone
Typical profile
A - 0 to 4 inches: gravelly loam
Bk1 - 4 to 32 inches: very gravelly clay loam
Bk2 - 32 to 60 inches: extremely gravelly loam
Properties and qualities
Slope: 4 to 35 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.57 to 1.98 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 70 percent
Available water capacity: Low (about 3.8 inches)
Interpretive groups
Land capability classification (irrigated): None specified
Land capability classification (nonirrigated): 6e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B
Ecological site: R043BP804MT - Limy Grassland
Hydric soil rating: No
Description of Musselshell
Setting
Landform: Hillsides, plains, alluvial fans
Down-slope shape: Linear
Across-slope shape: Linear
Parent material: Coarse-loamy alluvium derived from limestone; coarse-loamy slope alluvium derived from limestone
Typical profile
A - 0 to 4 inches: gravelly loam
Bk1 - 4 to 34 inches: gravelly loam
Bk2 - 34 to 60 inches: very gravelly sandy loam
Slope: 4 to 35 percent
Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
Drainage class: Well drained
Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.57 to 1.98 in/hr)
Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
Frequency of flooding: None
Frequency of ponding: None
Calcium carbonate, maximum content: 60 percent
Maximum salinity: Non-saline to very slightly saline (0.0 to 2.0 mmhos/cm)
Available water capacity: Moderate (about 7.5 inches)
Interpretive groups
Land capability classification (irrigated): None specified
Land capability classification (nonirrigated): 6e
Hydrologic Soil Group: B
Ecological site: R043BP804MT - Limy Grassland

All this seems to indicate I am in a cold desert region (directly on the Eastern slope of the Continental Divide). And according to Washington State Univ. Ext., the rootstock, G890 " seems able to scavenge for water and nutrients making it a successful replacement tree rootstock. It is considerably more precocious than Malling stocks of similar vigor." On the other hand, Michael Phillips’ Apple Grower book has a comparison chart which gives MM-106 a vigor rating of 7.8, and G-5935 a rating of only 4.4 (which is of similar size to G-890, I believe). That is confusing, however, since the Montana Ext. Service guide does recommend the G-935, but not G-890(?)

To your question about surviving the winter, all have survived the first winter in pots buried outside, but the first winter was mild and this winter much colder. I’ll know in a couple months if they survived this second winter.

And since they’ve only been in large pots thus far, the soil in my pasture has not yet been a factor. My soil test results indicate I have a high PH of 8.3, however, the County Extension agent says I can bring down the high alkalinity number by using iron fertilizer and sulfur, and she also adds: “Nitrogen and phosphorus are very low and you can also use some potassium. I would do a fertilizer like a 17-17-17 (or something comparable), so you are delivering all three of the nutrients in addition to the iron fertilizer. Your micronutrient levels look good.”

I am switching over to the larger Bud-118 and Antonovka rootstocks for their size and vigor, and for their ability to reach further down for water and nutrients…as well as their size will help prevent the deer from browsing once established. The Baccata and Ranetka rootstocks (also recommended by MSU Extension) are more about extreme cold-hardiness survival, and their sizes are still questionable to me at this time. (The MSU guide shows them as being full/standard size trees, but I am not so sure that is correct.)

Anyway, I do try to discover what I am doing right and wrong and figure all this scientific stuff out, but I’ve always preferred someone else’s knowledge and experience over the trial-and-error process which finds me taking equal numbers of forwards and backwards steps, along with considerable amounts of stress and heartache, if you know what I mean.:sweat_smile:

Thanks in advance, again, for your help.

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It might recommend 935 without mentioning 890 because 935 is slightly older and it could be out of date?

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What you want is a strong amount of vigor. That makes sense for both the production of wood but also roots. The more vigor the better for you.

I have to be honest - that I don’t know wooly apple aphid or the other major pest for rootstocks but canker I’m sure is likely one. Obviously you live in dry air. I live in humid and rootstocks might struggle more to stay void of cankers and problems that develop from birds pecking at trees or mechanical injury… in my humid climate of Illinois.

Yeah, I can’t comment either on ph’s that high. I know how to bring them down or raise a ph just like your extension helper is suggesting… so it seems you are at a lifetime battle to keep ph’s correct for the apples you are planting and whatever else you choose; you’re going to be playing a ph game all your life unless there’s a natural way to do it that I don’t know of.

vigor, vigor, vigor, there’s a reason people look for it when selecting cultivars or the best seedlings to plant. it tells a lot about a tree’s potential the crops it’s going to bare, too; size of fruit/seed, leaf-size; these all tell a big story. have a look at lenticel denseness on wood sometime. the most vigorous seedlings or cultivars showing excellent vigor have lenticel lines on their wood in dense quantity compared to less-vigorous hardwoods in the same class or any another. You can see a story forming from the get go with lenticels, bud size, & leaf size… they all tell a very telling/strong case for the tree or shrub its’ to become.

good luck, Johnny.

Dax

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The publication date is January, 2020, and G-890 has been out since sometime between 2013 and 2015, I believe, So,…(?)

Thanks for your advice. Yes, I have also learned (finally) that length of season is as important as the many other factors in apple orcharding, and that is why I am eliminating some of my later harvest varieties and adding a large number of short-season, alaskan and Canadian-type early varieties to my list this year.

As for the high PH here, it may be a hassle to fertilize with iron and sulfur every year, but it is better than having no apple orchard at all. And with the dry, northern climate, and short seasons, the disease and pest problems are pretty minimal compared to most other locations. So I think it evens out, right!? :joy:

Best growing wishes to you!

University of Washington puts G-935 at M-26 size, and G-890 at M-7 size. Both are listed as cold hardy.

Yeah but 935 is older than 890 and I know some growers aren’t up to date.

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Johnny brotherman, lay low on a warm Montana summer day w flip flops & rum. You don’t need to be in Jamaica if ya understand.

Dax

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Provenance. Pick a good provenance for seedling-rootstock. Find the climate most similar to yours and there’s your rootstock.

Best regards-

Dax

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Budagovsky 118, Antonovka, and maybe Poland. The Bud118 is quicker to bear than most. Perhaps as quick or quicker than G890…I can give a more definite on that in a year or two.

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G 890 is newer than G 935. I don’t think you can use those dates for length of time on the market. In many cases Geneva rootstocks have limited availability in the early years and backyard grafters are often the last ones to be able to get rootstocks. This is the first year I have seen G214 available in small quantities and it’s been in the literature for a long time.

Zone 3 is a lot colder than the local climate for many of us so it’s hard for us to offer advice. I don’t know if the NC-140 testing program planted G890 at any zone 3 sites since most apples are commercially grown in zone 5 or higher. You may have to contain the Geneva program directly. Their contact info is at the bottom of the last page of this link.

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If you are looking for cold hardy rootstocks I would recommend the Antonovka and the MM111. Both have study rootstocks and also cold hardy.
I tried the Geneva series rootstocks and the ones I tried all split about the ground. I am not going to risk trying any more of them. I do not want to waste precious growing years on a rootstock that splits and may or may not survive.

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Can the Malling roots really handle zone 3?

Good question. I had thought I had read this was one that could stand that cold of a temp. I know the Antonovka can. I had a friend of mine that had some M111 is Minnesota that produced fruit. He moved away so I cannot confirm with him about how well they did.

Mike, here’s a Canadian link some might find useful.
https://ruraldreams.ca/16-hardy-apple-trees-for-zone-2-3

They recommend Antonovka and B-118.

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Years ago Lawyers Nursery in Plains, MT offered apple rootstocks. I know as I bought lots of them for the large nursery I worked at. M. ranetka and M. prunifolia were two that did well for those who needed cold hardy rootstocks when living in such areas (MT, WY, ME, ND, ect). Antonovka was good too.

I recall Ottawa 3 was super hardy also. Not sure if that is available anymore. I remember it had weird root structure so better for planting in field and budding on to the in Summer than for doing bench grafts.

Sorry but no help on your question about hardiness of MM106. MM106 worked ok in SE WI in the 1980’s as far as hardiness but only zone 5 in my area. It sure did not perform well in heavy clay soils (lots of collar rot). Not sure what your soil type is but I would never plant MM106 in heavy clay soil again. Tried it again a few years ago on Ginger Gold and got collar rot after 2 years.

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Excellent advice.

And I was a Lawyer Nursery patron several
years, mid 90’s to the 100 Antonovka roots I got the last year they were in business.
Hated to see 'em go.

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Not sure if of any help. But the orchard I worked at in the 1980’s would send bare-root apple trees to a relative in North Dakota and they always died. All on MM111. Not sure though what the varieties were. Perhaps the varieties were not hardy enough.

We have had reports of M7 working ok in Northern WI most years (zone 4) but then we get super cold weather and they got winter damage. Heard this from several people selling apple trees in Northern Wisconsin. One finally stopped using M7 as he had severe loss to cold injury about 1 winter in 5.

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