Gisela 5 rootstock

I want to grow a sweetheart cherry on g5 and raintree only sells it on g3. Fine, I’ll grow it out myself. I googled for a source of the rootstock and… nothing. It’s not for sale anywhere. Ok, I guess I can clone it, its patent expired in 2015:

This article gives 80-90% success from 15cm root cuttings: “Methods to propagate the cherry rootstock Gisela 5 by using root cuttings and application of micrografting”

has anyone tried that?

Raintree started selling G6 in 2018, patent expired 2012. So maybe things are just slow moving.
Also, the raintree catalog still brags about this proprietary rootstock which costs extra. Why does it cost extra? The patent expired five years ago.


I was thinking the same thing about Sweetheart on G5. Is it possible they are not selling it because of a compatibility issue? I am concerned that G3 may be more dwarfing than I want.

The Gisela series rootstocks are basically not available to buy in small quantities. The only exception I can think of is one year Raintree nursery offered Gisela 6 rootstock in leafed out potted form. You can get the rootstock if you’re willing to buy 50-100 and jump thru some hoops but that isn’t practical for most people.

In general, dwarfing rootstock for cherry is hard to get. Especially compared to apple rootstocks. You may be able to find Maxma 14 and Krymsk 5. One Green World has carried Maxma 14 and Raintree has carried Krymsk 5. You also could ask nurseries that supply trees on these two rootstocks if they would sell you a few rootstocks.

I think the Sweetheart/G5 would be compatible so I don’t think that is the issue. I suspect it’s more of a demand issue and Raintree will sometimes offer a cherry on G5 one year and on G3 another year or sometimes offers the cherry on both.

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thanks, ok, I guess I’ll try root cuttings to see if I can run my own production for a few per year

I propagated Gisela 5 from green cuttings this year. That method did work quite effordless. I took cuttings in july, dipped in rooting hormone and put them in a container. My potting soil is a pine bark mix, which prevents over watering. After that I watered the mix and covered it with a clear plastic bag. The container was placed in a shady spot and not touched for 2 months. 6 out of 8 rooted, so G5 seems to be resonably easy to root fron green cuttings. Don’t know if other methods work as well.


my gisela 5 root cutting just sprouted leaves from below the surface! I used this protocol:

late february cutting, 15cm length, 10-12mm diameter, stuck into medium on bottom heat about 70F with 4-6cm exposed. I used promix HP. I wrapped the proximal end (exposed end) with wax tape and some wax dribbled in to plug up the end. under grow lights. under a humidity dome for the first month then exposed with daily watering. no hormones (the paper tried a few levels of BAP and found that no BAP was best).

leaves sprouted at about day 39

I’m currently reading Hartmann & Kester’s Plant Propagation and I’m in the root cuttings chapter so I’m actually learning about this stuff after the fact. The bit from the paper about not using BAP makes more sense now: In general root-promoting hormones inhibit shooting, and shoot-promoting hormones inhibit rooting. With a cutting like this you need both rooting and shooting. Different species react differently though. This also means I’m not out of the woods yet, it’s possible I have a shoot and no roots, although I think rooting is easier than shooting for gisela from the success % in the paper.


so I just finished reading “sweet cherries” by lang, long and kaiser

they specifically addressed sweetheart on g5: sweetheart is an extremely vigorous and precocious scion so it’s usually inappropriate on g5 because the level of fruit set and vigor get out of control. commercial growers don’t want this level of fruit set because cherries aren’t usually thinned and the high fruit set reduces cherry size and cherry size is the #1 determinant of the price they can sell cherries for. so sweetheart on g3 is probably the correct choice and I’d guess that someone, either raintree or their grower, knew this when they set up their catalog but they didn’t note this in the description


G5 wouldn’t work for sweetheart in a commercial orchard due to fruit sizing issues. It should work fine in a home orchard where fruit size doesn’t matter much. The tendency of over setting may actually be an advantage if you experience problems with pollination or tend to get poor fruit set. If you’re not selling fruit the yield is more important than fruit size… 10 lbs of small fruit is better than 1 lb of large fruit.


I tend to agree. I don’t think over-setting will be a problem in a region that struggles to set fruit in the first place. Is there a place that sells Sweetheart scion? It would be convenient to graft it to my White Gold on Gisela 5.

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Burnt Ridge and Fruitwood nursery offer sweet cherry scionwood but Sweetheart isn’t one of their offerings. I am afraid it’s rather late in the season to buy scionwood… I imagine that most places are out of stock or have really low inventories. You might try starting a thread asking for Sweetheart scionwood or look at Scott’s Reference list for scionwood in the link below.

I am not in a hurry this year. I have too many apples and pear grafts to keep me busy atm. I am still deciding between Sweetheart and Benton. Both are patented, but I have room for one more cherry, at most. I like the later bloom of Benton, but the later ripening of Sweetheart. The later bloom would probably benefit fruit set in my climate, but later ripening means better weather when they are sweetening up. We don’t reliably get 70F+ days and clear skies until about a week into July.
My question is how much support the tree will require on G3, compared to G5. Out of control vigor is probably more of a problem in a trellis.
I was reading about a high density training system for cherries, where they are only grown from the base of last year’s growth. All of the second year wood is pruned away. Supposedly it makes for the largest cherries, but yield per tree is greatly reduced.
Has anybody tried this pruning method? Would G5 be a good rootstock to try it out? I am not too concerned with yields, since the local markets are loaded with 20+ Brix cherries for most of the season. For me, sweet cherries are almost a novelty to grow, but I would love to grow a good pie cherry for yields.

It would help if you were more specific about what training system you are using. There are several high density systems for cherries. SSA, UFO, and KGB come to mind and there are others.

On the forum it seems a fair number of people have tried KGB. The required rootstock varies depending the system with dwarf, semi-dwarf, and standard sized rootstocks being used in high density systems depending on the system.

This publication show the differences between the systems and how train and prune each system. It also shows what size of rootstock can be used with each system (in table 1).

I haven’t used any of these systems but I would like to use the TSA system if I can figure out how to produce enough branching.

from that same book: in the northwest, cherry trees generally grow unsupported on all rootstocks except gisela 6. the training wires in the fancy training systems are not for tree support they’re just places to tie

I don’t think sweetheart is patented. benton is and it expires april 2023 USPP15847P2 - Cherry tree ‘PC7146-8’ - Google Patents

I’ll be getting sweetheart on g3 next year from raintree, after all! I’ll be cutting it low so I might have some extra depending on what I want to do as far as my own future g5 grafting

Sweetheart is patented until 4-7-2025, unfortunately. I would have grafted both by now if they were not.

sweetheart was released in 1994 without US patent, maybe during a time before summerland started getting US patents. this patent grant lists it as a seed parent and identifies it as unpatented

My mistake. I was looking at an offspring.

@carot I found your success inspiring. I combined your method with information I found in an article to start 4 Gisela 5 green cuttings. Hopefully they will root for me too. I am attaching the article below so people without any experience rooting cuttings may give the method a try.

Tested this method again with good success. In fact I am rooting some more right now. If you use a plant container, put in a medium with good drainage, water in the cuttings, cover everything with a transparent plastic bag and place the container protected from direct sunlight you should be good.

I didn’t need to rewater. Its pretty much a do and forget kind of method.

I hope you achieve great results

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I am glad you were able to repeat your first success. I think I need to take a few more cuttings :slight_smile: . I also like as you pointed out it is a " a do and forget kind of method."

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