So in my quest to get a proper wet soil tolerant rootstock to graft a sweet cherry to (or anything really), I’ve once again run up against the retail versus wholesale issue.
I’ve made numerous calls and emails both to wholesale and retail nurseries trying to source Colt rootstock. The answer is I can’t buy it.
So my though is I’d have to buy an already grafted tree of some type on Colt and simply remove the graft and regraft what I want.
Has anyone done this? My first concern would be you usually only have a few inches above grade where the rootstock wood is. Is this a reasonable way to go about obtaining colt?
My guess would be to get as small of a whip of a grafted tree on Colt as possible so the caliper would be close to matching the scion I want to add. From what I can see cherry has a pretty thick caliper first rat year scionwood.
I also have read here that cherry does not do very well with cleft grafts so I would not want a bigger tree.
Lastly of course I wouldn’t want to pay more for a larger tree in really throwing away except for the rootstock.
You could always top work it. Keep the main trunk and cut it back to where you want to graft. If you let your tree establish first, it can store enough energy that when you grow to graft, it should regain most of the biomass you cut off.
So that would leave me with an interstem of whatever variety tree I bought. It would be a crapshoot to know if what I am grafting is compatible with the tree.
Let’s assume I can find a high chill sweet cherry that is grafted on colt. How would I know if the low chill variety I want to graft will be compatible with the other cherry variety?
Perhaps that is an ignorant question and the answer is you can graft any cherry variety onto another?
OK so let’s say the answer is I can do so, will the top worked low chill variety be affected by the higher chill interstem?
I’m asking because I’ve not found any retail nursery (yet) that sells the very few low chill sweet cherry varieties on colt. I’m only assuming I could find a high chill on colt since it is a common cherry rootstock for the commercial industry.
So long as it’s the same species of cherry, it’s all but guaranteed to be compatible. There’s a stone fruit compatibility chart on here somewhere that will help you sort out other scenarios. You can also use interstems to bridge otherwise incompatible combinations. As for high vs low chill, that all happens at the bud level. So long as the low chill variety’s hours are met, it will grow.
Also, have you considered myrobalan? I don’t know from personal experience, but they’re supposed to be quite tolerant of wet soils. You could also consider cultural practices like planting in mounds about 6" high, which should keep the root crown out of the wet enough to avoid problems.
Thanks for your replies @jcguarneri
As far as plantings, yes, I always mound plant for that purpose.
In fact I’ve even got a few fruit trees planted in 36" galvanized fire pit rings (open to the ground below) because I can ways determine how much to water but can’t remove water when it rains for trees planted at grade.
Not in stock now but I did find a sweet cherry on colt.
So worst case I just top work this high chill variety with what I want to grow.
Maybe even do some bud grafting in the late summer next if I get it and add several low chill varieties.