Good ol unreliable Raintree

Back in October I decided to expand our cherry planting and order 10 more cherries in bare root. Normally I would order them thru Bay Laurel but noticed that for some reason they werent carrying the variety I wanted (Royal Lee) on the rootstock we grow on (Z-Dwarf). I even called to inquire why they didnt have them this year. They just said they didnt. Ok then. So I look around and see that Raintree has them. Now I was a little leery of using Raintree this year due to a very mediocre experience last year, but it looked like I had no choice. So I placed the order and crossed my fingers. Fast forward to yesterday when Raintree calls me and informs me that there has been a crop failure at Dave Wilson on this rootstock and they cant fill the order. Ahhh now it all makes sense. This was obviously the reason Bay Laurel didnt have it, why in the hell didnt Raintree know this also? Its just frustrating because I just gave away cherry rootstock that I didnt have room for because I was holding 10 spots in the field for the bare root trees that Raintree told me was coming for MONTHS! Grrrr. Fricken Raintree.

I noticed that Bay Laurel was not offering Royal Lee or Minnie Royal on the Z-Dwarf anymore and then I noticed this post in davewilsonforums and it explained why.

I have both of those trees on z-dwarf in pots right now and am wondering if/when I will see the failure?

I guess this is what happens when there is only one supplier.

Between Raintree and Arboreum what is up? Arboreum is notoriously slow in communication, but no communication at all is just not good. Raintree? I have still lucked out with them over the past ten years. Arboreum I am concerned about as they have always been overly slow to respond, but I placed an order this year and I wait for a confirmation before I send my check. No confirmation so far and the order was placed in Nov. Besides, they don’t ship to me until May or very end of April. They are either overwhelmed with orders and under-staffed or under-whelmed with inventory.

Actually the thread says the failures have to do with the interstem Zee-Stem, NOT Z-Dwarf.

Note that in the thread there on DWN forums that there is one second hand report that Tom Spellman supposedly said that they were having incompatibility issues with Z-Dwarf. Then the resident commercial cherry grower came in and said that they are having issues with the old commercial interstem (Z-stem) plantings.

Regardless it sure looks like Dave Wilson is doing what they do best, letting us the hobbyist be their beta testers. Of course when it goes tits up they arent gonna refund us our time and money right? Unbelievable.

Z-Dwarf has been excellent here. In fact its the one of a very few cherry roots that has been able to withstand our conditions.

I received the same phone call yesterday from raintree about my order for Minnie Royal & Royal Lee on z-dwarf.
They told me they only had them on Mazzard rootstock, so I ended up picking a Craig’s Crimson & Stella on z-dwarf. I WAS PISSED…

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I have Craig’s Crimson on Z-Dwarf. Smallish tree, but it has survived 2 years in-ground here. No fruit yet. Maybe this June…

I believe the Z-Dwarf is not the issue…just the Z-Dwarf paired with the Minnie Royal or Royal Lee.

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Well if thats the case we sure havent seen it here. Ive got 4 royal lee/minnie royals on Zdwarf that are 3 years in the ground and super healthy. Also have 3 yr old lapins on ZD. I wish DW would just come out and say what the damn deal is.

DWN is developing a new dwarf rootstock. I also heard on a Sacramento farmers report that rootstocks good everywhere are the main goals of some developers. Rootstocks that work in CA and Michigan (actual quote), or any soil or environmental conditions.

Eric, what do you think about Gisela rootstock? I have two cherry trees on Gisela 5 and I like very much the way they grow. I actually specially ordered cherries from Raintree, because they sell trees on Gisela. Overall I liked Raintree, except that they sent me tiny whips of apple trees, which needed at least one more year of growth.

Gisela works great for me too, although Eric has some unique conditions. I myself would only buy cherries on Gisela I know it works here. If you are in the Midwest or Northeast I would look at Grandpa’s nursery for cherries too.

I’ve been using G6 in the northeast for probably about 20 years. It has consistently performed very well and produces a perfect pedestrian, but adequately vigorous tree. It can be a little loosey-goosey when it’s young but stabilizes by the time it is in full bearing mode (more quickly than M7 does for apple).

Of course that says little about what it would do in a dessert climate, but it is much more widely tested than anything out of DW, I suspect. Of course, if you can’t get the varieties you want on it it’s not necessarily useful to you.

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The other part of my order from Raintree is a couple cherries on G5 and G6. Id love to trial just rootstock and graft my own varieties onto it but Gisela isnt available anywhere that I can find to the retail market. So yes ive had my eye on trying it here. The stats for Gisela look really good…we shall see. @Drew51 is right, my conditions are really different than most. Cherries on traditional rootstocks (mazzard, colt, mahaleb) collapse in August for us. The heat just destroys them. Z-Dwarf was the first root that we have ever had that can handle it. We are trialing Krymsk 5 for the last year also and its looking really good so far.

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Which cherry varieties have you successfully fruited in your low-chill locale?

So far just Minnie Royal, Royal Lee, and Lapins. Working on a bunch others but it takes years to know.

I know I recently sent you Royal Rainier to try.

Have you tried regular Rainier for a while unsuccessfully?

I passed on trialing regular Rainier because it appears to need far more chill than we can provide. Cultivars that we are working with right now is Royal Rainier, Royal Lee, Minnie Royal, Lapins, Stella, Montmorency, English Morello, Kansas Sweet, White Gold, Vandalay, Danbue, Tulaire, Brooks, Coral Champagne, Cristobalina, Craigs Crimson, Romeo, Juliet, Crimson Passion, and a few others I cant remember.

Its just a shame that cherries take so long to produce fruiting wood.

Thanks. Very helpful. I have a brother-in-law who wants to grow cherries in the deserts of Lemoore, Calif (near the military base, where he lives and works). Perhaps not the best location for accumulating chill hours. I suspect you just saved us many a wild goose chase.

I told him to get Lapins on Gisela from Raintree for now, and to look for Minnie Royal and Royal Lee on Z-Dwarf or Gisela stock next year.

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