Identifying Mazzard and Mahaleb rootstocks

I have been looking for pictures and descriptions of what both Mazzard and Mahaleb rootstocks look like, if they are left to grow out. Bark, leaves, etc.
I have some suckers that grew up around my Montmorency and Stark Surecrop. Both trees came from Starkbrothers in 2014 but they could not tell me what rootstock they were on. They said it was most likely one of those two I mentioned.
Anyone know of a source I can go to for descriptions and/or pics?

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Mazzard is the standard cherry rootstock so Mazzard will get 30 something feet. Generally speaking with rootstock you are more so buying it the the qualities it has ie cold hardiness or dwarfing etc. Generally if it grows suckers you just prune them off. Here is a chart on rootstock types and how big they get Rootstocks for Cherry | WSU Tree Fruit | Washington State University

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Thank you @elivings1. I did see that article already. I didn’t find any actual description of leaves and bark, and no pictures.

I would like to figure out what rootstock I have now, rather than years down the road, for 2 reasons.

The first being that I have dug up some of the suckers and transplanted them. I will graft some cherries to them if they are Mazzard. If they are Mahaleb, I may as well not bother as they will not thrive in our soils. I don’t want to waste time, effort and scions on those rootstocks. I have my cherry trees planted in raised mounds to aid in drainage, but I expected more growth than I currently have, so I am wondering if they are on Mahaleb rather than Mazzard.

So the second reason for wanting to determine the rootstocks now, is to keep good records of what rootstocks work for me here, and which ones don’t. If they are Mahaleb, I will want to think about planting their replacements sooner rather than later.

Mazzard is a variety of true sweet cherry (Prunus avium), so it looks exactly like any other sweet cherry tree wrt leaves and bark. If left to grow it will fruit and produce sweet cherries (yellow-reddish cherries that are small and not very flavorful but completely edible).

Mahaleb is a different species (Prunus mahaleb) with inedible fruit (the fruit has a very bitter flavor). Its leaves are wider and shorter than those of a sweet cherry:


Thank you @Stan I appreciate that. The suckers I had growing did not have a normal looking cherry leaf. Of course all of the leaves have dropped now, and I am going from memory. I am going to go through pictures I took in the orchard this summer and see if I can find any showing the suckers with leaves.

Thanks Stan. I had the same question as the OP and now I know I had some cherry variety on Mazzard. All the fruit was way up high and the tree was hollowed out with rot. I cut down the tree and grafted Bing on a couple of suckers.


Thought you’d be lucky to get fruit on Bing in San Jose. You probably get the most chill hours of anyone in SJ but they don’t fruit reliably even in Morgan Hill. May be you can use it to tell whether we had a high chill winter :slight_smile:

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