Exposing the truth about standard versus dwarf fruit tree rootstock

I meant open center trees. Yes with intensive management you can make some fruit bare just as well on a large tree, but there just simply isn’t enough labor out there to carry this out.

We used to crank out a few thousand pounds of our full size cherries every day during harvest, but we also had about 12 people picking for us. I’ve seen labor efficiency studies using WSU students that could achieve this with 5 students on smaller management systems, who I don’t imagine are as quick as professionals.



That is good production! Bings?

Oh sorry if I wasn’t clear. The pears are on standard roots, but they are planted at 8x16 spacing so they won’t produce 6 bushels as there just isn’t enough room for that, we have to be able to get tractors don’t the rows, keep the trees shorter for u picking, etc. They produce about 4 but that’s pretty maxed out without causing other problems.



We have to watch branch breaking as well. We get a lot of wind here.

Van and Lambert, yeah it was crazy when I was young. I was on the sorting belt and we would do about 3000 pounds before lunch. Then the swd came…never been the same.



Had hoped some bird would enjoy dining on swd , it has not happened yet. We don’t get them here at my place yet. Have seen them in other places. The jb and green june beetles are hard on my first pear crops. That is a different thread.

1 Like

Supposedly hummingbirds can keep the population down. I’ll try to find the article, but I think in someone’s blueberries the pressure was cut in half when they added a lot of hummingbird feeders. Also, OSU just started releasing parasitic wasps for it, so hopefully they spread fast.

I forgot to mention another issue with commercial standard sizes trees, which is spray waste and drift. Getting thorough coverage on large tree is difficult especially early in the season when there is not much leaf cover. It requires using an excess amount of spray, which is clearly less than desirable. Those guyot orchards you linked to can cut spray usage dramatically. Which is precisely the reason why I’m converting an orchard to guy right now :wink:

This is also a concern for backyard growers that don’t have the ability to spray larger trees. Plus easier to spray trees mean you can even use less harsh chemicals and have less disease pressure in the first place due to increased airflow.

Hummingbird SWD


I would imagine sprays depend on pears. A Bartlett or Comice will have to be sprayed more than a Seckle, Warren or Ayers pear. I also know sprays can be location dependent. Coddling moth is only an issue is the Grand Junction or palisade area here in CO for example. On the flip side where coddling moth is prevalent is ironically one of the best places to grow peaches or other fruit. I have had the thought of moving there but want to be able to buy in cash so I don’t need to worry about foreclosures and what not.

I just meant in general across all fruit types. Smaller trees equals easier to spray, organic or synthetic. Commercial growers cannot takes the same risks backyard growers can since our livelihood depends on having a marketable crop and since the market wants pretty fruit, our hands are tied. Same reason we need to have labor efficient trees.

The orchard I have been talking about is Bartlett and Comice though haha. An ideal backyard tree is resistant to local disease and pest pressures, but with some fruit types that is impossible in a given location. It is even illegal to have unsprayed backyard trees of certain types in some parts of Oregon and Washington and probably California as well since they will host commercial pests.


I have one full sized tree. it’s all I got room for, I’ve got an eighth acre lot in town so I also need to think of concrete, wires, the house foundation. one big guy and the rest are dwarf for me, just from space issues.

I do have other big trees- two huge fir out front, a big hickory or two. but for fruit I’m out of space

I would love more big trees. I want them to live long.


We know not many years ago people would intentionally bury their grafted tree deep. The idea was to bury the tree 2 feet deeper than the tree was grown by the nursery. By doing this they turned any tree into a standard tree. The scion portion would eventually root and the rootstocks roots would feed it in the mean time. I’m bringing this up because many have told me it is impossible to buy a standard tree or an apple on it’s own roots etc… i’m only bringing this up for those who might face that problem.


I have tried that method. I noticed the tree was struggling in a day of doing it and the tree bounced back a day after doing that. When I buried the graft my tree became extremely wilted. I noticed this and did not want to replace it so undid the digging under and it stopped being wilted so that was what caused the issue. I have found places selling standard pear rootstock but they were not cheap and not places I would normally want to go to after previous experiences. I found a Comice on Callery with Nature Hills but I found my service from them never leafed out that was dormant. This year the Comice pear I bought from them is the only pear I have left yet to leaf out. I found standard pears on edible landscaping but expensive and they charge me crazy prices for shipping. Not to mention they have you enter your credit card information on their website and every time I buy a plant from edible landscaping my credit card get unauthorized charges on it and I have to dispute them. If I could do PayPal where my information remained unknown to them or my card information was not stolen every time I ordered from them I would be more keep to buy from them even with their crazy prices. I think I saw somewhere selling some pears on OHXF standard rootstock size. I have found you can get standard sizes from Stark Bros. Stark Bros will be small unless you can get the bigger size trees though. I think they call them supreme size. They did not have as much selection a few years ago but have been adding to their selection it seems. Like they have a Ayers pear now for example. Trees Of Antiquity sells apples on M111 which may as well be standard size trees. I think M111 is something like 90% of a standard size tree.

1 Like

Standard root pears that are kept small. Oldest photos I can find pits them at older than 70 years. About 10 feet tall.

Same roots, we ripped out the rest of the orchard, left this one as a shade tree. It’s about 25-30 feet tall.


Beautiful! Is that moss growing on the trunks?

The lower picture looks like a tree with trees growing out of it.


Nice looking pears trees. Great job keeping them small. I will try, try mind you, to keep my pears trees small like that. Mine are only about 4 years old. It looks like I may get some pears for the first time from two of them this year.


Due to request, I moved posts about jokes and discussion about relativity in this topic to the Lounge, under the topic “Jokes and Relativity”


This link will help expose the truth about dwarf rootstocks (watch the video). The experts do dwarf standard trees frequently by pruning.
Pear Orchard maintenance - psylla - Pear Decline ohxf87 - longevity - labor shortages - pest control - silver award pear growers - consumer focus

In pear growing regions the link will expose the use of standard bartlett seedling rootstocks pruned down to 12 feet. Many pears come into full production in 8 years if well cared for. Dwarfing rootstock can be subject to decline in 15 years eg. ohxf87. The truth is exposed by the silver award winners who live in a place that grows 2/3 of the pears in the USA. I dont think ohxf87 will die for a home owner who has 3 trees in 15 years. If you have an orchard of 15-30 trees consider some other options if psylla is present. Found it interesting they combine both strategies not really sticking to standard or espalier but somewhere in between. 12 feet tall trees are not much smaller than many of mine.


Dwarf pear OHXF rootstocks have long been controversial and perform differently in different regions. apparently. The majority of pear trees sold by my suppliers have always been on fully vigorous rootstocks. I think your title should have been more specifically addressed to pear rootstocks. It seems only quince really performs well as far as bringing about early fruiting, which is very useful for some varieties of pears. No one without trees already in production wants to wait 8 years for fruit.

Some rootstocks for other species have genuine benefits that recommend them to some growers, although I usually prefer the most vigorous roots on the stone fruit I grow and I only want full dwarf apples when the purpose is espalier.

In all my years of planting thousands of fruit trees, I’ve never planted a single dwarf pear tree. I only grow one variety that can take 8 years to bear on vigorous roots, and it’s a great tasting pear fairly resistant to fire blight- Magness.


I think how much someone is willing to wait also depends on the person. When I was 18 telling me to wait 3 years for fruit bearing seemed like a lot of time. I think it is the same on the opposite end of the spectrum where if you are older you don’t want to wait because you don’t know if you will be able to wait that long. Farmers also don’t want to wait that long. Middle aged people can wait that long though and 8 years does not sound that long when you are working as a middle aged person.


Plenty of my customers are middle aged and more impatient than I am. Lucky for me, or they wouldn’t pay my exorbitant prices for bearing age fruit trees. Most of them don’t want to have to sit out one growing season without being able to harvest fruit from their trees.

The age of Amazon only increases cultural impatience for instant gratification.