Major problem with Geneva rootstocks?


(They also probably don’t have a crop of apples on them.)


The only apple here standing on Geneva 41 - Edelborsdorfer - was doing beautifully until last night. It appeared to be a two year old whip when I bought it in 2014, so this was its 8th leaf. A violent thunderstorm swept through, leading edge wind gusts broke it off cleanly at the graft union. I’ll try some chip bud grafting today to save the variety, which was bearing a first crop of 13 fruits.


I just checked the weather records at the airport: nearly a quarter inch of rain over night. The storm edge had 58 & 61 mph gusts.
After the graft union break from Geneva 41, I cut three Edelborsdorfer chip buds yesterday and put them onto Geneva 30 stocks. They had been the upper portion of stocks cut to grafts in '17. I then scored the lower several inches, dusted with Rootone or its equivalent and put them in a four gallon bucket of mixed dirt and potting mix. 4 of 6 took well. Next time I’ll plan to bury even more of the length of each.

Now I need to beat copper wire around the perimeter of the '41 stock to kill it. No use to me.

Regarding this thread, the only problem I’ve encountered with Geneva 30 was a leaning tree (Rambour Franc grew fast) which I should have staked upon planting. That tree no longer stands at all, since I became dissatisfied with RF.
Geneva 11 had the misfortune of carrying Honeycrisp. I cut the budding portion off this spring and tried to graft to it - both scions failed. The only leafy bit to come from the root has not grown more than a rosette of leaves & 1/2 inch twig by now. It appears Honeycrisp offered the root little to work with.


I’m most definitely interested in your experience with what’s happened to your 4-6 year old Geneva rootstock trees. I currently have G11,41,210,935,969 and lastly G890 in my two year old 1 acre Heirloom Apple Orchard. My understanding with this issue was mostly with the G41 but only up to the 3 year period of age. My Geneva trees are chip bud and cleft grafted. Sounds like I could be in for some issues down the road? I’m now thinking I will go back to using M type rootstocks basically focuses on the M111.


Heirloom, if you’re thinking about preserving history and not worried about near term production, why not Antonovka or B-118?


Thanks for the report. This information should help others in choosing more reliable rootstock. Good to see that cleft grafts of the same stock did not break. Before reading your post I would have though that over a six year period the type graft would not matter. Glad most of my grafts are clefts. Thanks, Bill


I’m actually looking forward to the trees bearing fruit within the 3-5 year window and I was going with Geneva rootstocks because of them being created in the US is my reasoning. The B118 and the other rootstock you mentioned will take much longer to starting to bear fruit.


Actually, B118 should be quicker to bear than M7 or M111. Quicker, or at least equal.

I am hoping the G202 and the G890 in particular don’t have the problem…but time will tell.
But, I won’t be grafting any Gala…unless it’s to my ‘Frankentree’.


I have chip budded trees directly from Cummins Nursery that I guess will need extra care I’m thinking into the next couple of years seeing what happened with your trees. My M7 trees are into there 6 th leaf and are they are producing extremely well. My only issue with them is the root suckers they tend to produce.


B118 has shown me a tendency to fireblight and are very upright trees. They will bear a light crop in 3-4 yrs. G202 has snapped for me with bud grafting. Seems to be fine with cleft grafts, my experience. I’m hoping the same for G890 and G969 as I have quit using the other rootstocks.


Ufta expensive experiment is right. I was banking on 890 as well. I think we had 80mph gusts with our spring this year. Not frequent, but normal every few years. What about P18?


Year two for Geneva Root Stock 210 (G.210). First year was 60% death rate of the root stock (of 100 planted). Second year, 62% death rate of the root stock (100 planted). Cummins told me after the first years disaster that 210 requires watering after planting to get established and that they don’t like to be left sitting in a bucket of water. Considering we had an incredibly wet spring I was hoping for better results. I actually only ordered 50 G.210, but Cummins had an “inventory error” and couldn’t fill my G.890 order, so they agreed to double my G.210. I’m done with Geneva root stocks, and most likely Cummins as well. There are 9 other root stock varieties in this nursery bed (apple and pear) and G.210 is the only one with this death rate.


Wow. Bad news all around. Thank you for reporting this.

I had done tons of research and was about to tell a good friend to order Goldrush on G 210 because their last Goldrush on M26 died from collar rot or similar disease at five years old. G 210 reportedly resists “replant disease.”

What’s a good rootstock for replanting in a collar rot spot?


Steve, I would consider purchasing established trees on G.210 but I won’t waste additional time and $ trying to bench graft to it. I purchased 2 established trees from Cummins this spring and they’ve done very well (cherries, not apples), but I won’t buy root stock from them any more.


Lost a Frostbite apple from Cummins on G-11 rootstock. I had picked a not-quite-ripe apple off this tree a couple weeks ago. 4 days without water in this current dry spell in container.
First of 4 trees I’ve lost to dry weather this year so far. (Have over 150 apples in containers and many other plants. Haven’t lost any pawpaws or much of anything else…at last not yet. Watering twice a week currently.) Lost 2 of 2 on G-11.

G202 G30 and G890 doing fair so far. (B9 and B118 doing better though).


Another t-storm last night. Lost the last 6 yr old tree, my beloved Baldwin, on g202, a clean break at the graft. Also lost a 5yr. Ashmead’s on g935, 4yr. Lobo on g935, a 4yr. King of the Pippens on g935, lost a 4yr. Macoun on g30. I haven’t been down to the back orchard yet but I can’t see the 4yr. Ribston on g935. All graft breaks
I can not say that I won’t use Geneva rootstocks again. All my trees are on them except the ones from Stark’s. I’m just numb this morning.

Think twice folks, think twice so you don’t have this heart break. No response to e-mails from the supplier.


I am so sorry about your losses. It’s truly heart breaking.


Well, we do know the Geneva folks have the commercial orchards in mind…where all trees will be tied to wires. So, little guys are doing the ‘testing’ for them where trellising isn’t used.
(And if they KNEW grafts break on their roots…then they might be liable if they didn’t properly disclose this information.)

Still, they can’t all be weak at the graft union can they? Different genetics in some of those rootstocks. It may be the precocious/overcropping at a young age that is causing the little trees to break. Chikn, did any break that had no apples on the trees?

Still, who is going to do research on a large scale…except government and industry subsidized experiments?


Also Chikn, I am curious: Can you describe the staking, or support system you were using?


At this time, I would NOT use any Geneva rootstock until further research is done. I have lost most of my 5&6 yr old trees to graft failure on Geneva stock.

Yes they can! If I could send pictures you would see! I will try to get bud wood from these now dead trees and hope its not to late to bud them.

All the trees were individually supported by stakes with heavy wire cages, Anything left on Geneva root will get a full surround of t-post stakes and wire.