The good soil and best farms are taken so where does the person just starting out buy their farm when the good land is gone and very expensive to get? The secret is in the rootstocks. As many of you know this is my long term belief to adapt plants to live on marginal property. I believe in 100% self sufficiency. Callery rootstocks adapt which is thought to be bad but its not its actually very good. They are only bad in areas where they are an invasive. Imagine you can afford to buy land that is constantly covered with an inch of water and noone does because you can grow no food. Now imagine callery pear rootstocks can adapt to live under those conditions and you now can buy land noone wants and raise pears! Same with drought stricken regions callery can adapt. Soil that is infertile callery can adapt to and flourish. Want to be rich? On your flooded property grow callery rootsocks and sell to people in similar environments. The need is coming and gmo or callery will get us there. The world is becoming more populated so as fruit growers we need to become smarter and use the resources we have rather than worry about what we dont. Like the callery we need to learn to adapt to a changing world.
Once we figure out (and get over the fear of) GMOs, things are going to get really crazy. You won’t even need rootstocks because you can just insert those beneficial genes into whatever variety you want.
My concern is greed. Gmo’s have a history of favoring the rich. Lets say we make round up ready pear rootstocks and we just spray the orchard killing all but the trees it takes more poison, wipes out beneficial insects etc. . The benefits are 5x growth in pear trees, trees resistant to any disease etc… your right @dimitri_7a in principle it sounds good but it might be used to extort money from you instead of help you. Callery pears have adapted already in most cases but read more here Wild callery pear rootstocks . If nothing else callery should be what is genetically modified. Im also concerned what impact will gmo trees have on nature? This is a great question on callery rootstocks in the thread Pears and black walnut? . There is a lot to think over prior to planting an orchard Pear rootstocks influence on Fruit size
Do the pear trees grow large on callery? I suppose one could do an interstem with amelanchier, or hawthorne, or something.
This week I grafted pear onto Chinese haw and Thiessen Serviceberry. It will be a while to see if they take.
Pears do obtain a good size on callery rootstock and thats a great question better answered here Pear rootstocks influence on Fruit size. Here are some links back to older threads that shows fruit size. About the closest thing i have to a list of my results growing them by year is here Pear buds, blossoms, and fruit or here Here comes the 2016 apple and Pear harvest!
or here Here comes the 2018 apple & pear harvest! or here Here comes the 2019 pear harvest! . Another thing that should be brought up is when the severe drought showed up my pear trees produced when every other pear tree failed to produce fruit in my area. My general method of topworking can be seen here Top working Pears weather permitting - #32 by clarkinks . More on growing fruit eg. Pears in less than desirable soil If you had to choose for wet sites: apple, pear, chestnut, or persimmon - #10 by clarkinks
It’s interesting to read developments and experiences. For my own orchard, I’m focusing all of my new efforts to dwarf and miniature trees. I can prune, spray, thin, pick them without ladder etc.
It’s a challenge figuring out the alternatives - Amelanchier for example has many cultivars and growth habits, and these are not the same as the German developed Amelanchier rootstocks. So I chose one on Raintree that has the size I want. Chinese Haw Red Sun stays about 5 feet tall in my garden, at 7 or 8 years old, so I chose that as my hawthorn rootstock experiment. They are expensive to buy that way, so I’m just doing one. I stuck the pruned part into the ground to see if it will root, like quinces are reported to do, but I doubt it will.
I also have an aronia on order. I don’t know when / if to expect that. I looked for cottoneaster, but it’s too expensive.
If callery gives really good root adaptation, I could see it as the roots with one of those others as interstem for a small dwarf. I don’t know if the other types need better roots.
I set 3 grafts of Winter Nellis on Callery last spring with all successfully growing. There is a lot more work keeping the rootstock from suckering, but the top growth is excellent.
IMO, there is a lot more benefit to breeding/modifying callery to produce edible fruit. I know where one callery hybrid tree is growing near Scottsboro, AL. It produces fruit in the 1 to 1.5 inch diameter range. I’d love to combine the survival traits from this tree with larger and sweeter fruit from a good European pear.
Someone posted on the forum a year or two ago about finding a wild callery that produced moderately large fruit. It would not take much to find a few more such trees and start breeding callery hybrids for fruit production and/or rootstock.
That was me that posted those callery pear photos in this thread Callery pear as rootstock? and others. Here are the photos i took of the anomoly fruit adapting to attract more animals to carry more seed.
This is normal callery fruit
Ive tried every rootstock you can imagine and always find myself using bet and callery My favorite pear rootstocks
Biology and Biophysics is the future. This pear gets approximately 12” of rain per year in sandy soil. It gets kitchen scraps to eat sometimes. It’s a complete mutt lol and about 3 years old. On own roots.
Pic taken just now.
@clarkinks and anyone: when top-worked does Callery rootstock sucker badly (from roots or trunk) for years and years? Some NAFEX growers say yes, but I had read the opposite somewhere. If so could be big drawback to my topworking plans. Is this a random trait that can’t be generalized?
Correct most callery only sucker when you dig them up not when you cut them down to a single trunk. They will send out lots of new foliage all over the trunk so be prepared to remove it for 2 -3 years.
I grafted 10 Callery trees of various sizes nearly a month ago using between 1 and 3 scions on each stem. It looks like 2 of them won’t make it. That is out of about 20 total grafts. I can live with 90% take rate, especially when each of the 10 trees grafted has at least 1 growing scion.
A friend believes if we topwork enough eating pears on wild callery out in fields, hedgerows, forest edges that eventually the eating pears would cross with wild callery creating hybrids with fruit too large for birds to eat and distribute far and wide. Mammals could still distribute though. Might just be a drop in the bucket.
Hybrids are already everywhere. Short answer is that the traits of Callery are overwhelmingly dominant. This means that there will be occasional callery cross trees but they will never catch up with the number of pure callery trees.
Slightly tangential, but an interesting read:
I have found pears topworked to wild callery pears to be strong, surprisingly precocious and sturdy, with extremely fast growth due to the huge undisturbed root system. I first did this 5 years ago and the trees are in bloom now. They bloomed even 1 or 2 years ago but the late freezes got em’. This year we look to be in the clear so far. They are all at least 11-12 feet tall now from a cleft graft about waist high 5 years ago. I just cut off the tops, split the trunk in the middle with an old fashioned cleft graft tool and inserted 2 scions on each side, waxed it, and thinned to the best one.
Blake- Same experience here with precocity, vigor. Have you seen a lot of root or trunk suckers on the topworked callery?
We need to spread this information around. My friends, even gardeners and fruit growers are always stunned to learn of this conversion. We need more grafters- a lot more grafters.
2023 I hope to train a bunch of local master gardeners to graft using callery conversion as bait: gourmet eating pears from wild monsters. Makes sense to them, unlike my more esoteric reasons to learn to graft that haven’t resonated with friends over four decades.
All you grafters out there: I think this is our best opportunity in a long time to recruit new grafters.
I have noticed zero suckers around my grafted calleries. But, I also mow around them. But no trunk suckers. They are gold as far as rootstock and grafting opportunities go. Here in KY we have whole fields of them. You could just bulldoze or mow them down into organized rows and graft them all and have an instant pear orchard. Pretty neat idea. I have also noticed they take to Asian pears and European pears equally as well. I have Art’s Bosc, Shinko, and Burford in full bloom now on them. I should get some photos up.
Been using callery for many years as rootstocks and it has not always made me popular because people hate callery. It’s an invasive in many places so I can’t blame people for how they feel. It’s easier to work with nature than against it which in my area only BET and callery rootstocks fit all my needs. Ohxf are very good rootstocks and I have lots of them. Callery adapt easier to soil, weather, disease, animal browsing extremes than other rootstocks.
I’ve been putting off learning to graft but it’s on my priority list now. I’d come out to Easton for a lesson!