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  • Grafting Rootstock....what would you choose?

    At first i grafted cuttings onto a mother plant(black mission) so i would not lose the variety because i wasn't so good at rooting cuttings (had 100% success at grafts and 30% with rooting at the time) Now i'm pretty good at rooting (80%) and realized that some varieties grow a lot slower than others. I saw that HarveyC grafted a black madeira onto a brown turkey rootstock and it grew huge! I noticed that out of all my cuttings (25 varieties) my Atreano and Brown Turkey were the most vigorous growers with black madeira being the slowest. My question is......if you were to chose one rootstock and only one which one would it be? I know the answers are going to vary because of different growing regions.....but i just wanted to throw it out there.
    Quy
    SoCal, Zone 9b

  • #2
    In my limited experience, southern BT and Chicago Hardy were vigorous first year growers.
    Phil
    Zone 7A - Newark, DE; Zone 8A - Wilmington, NC;

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    • drphil69
      drphil69 commented
      Editing a comment
      Actually I'm in DE zone 7A and (coastal) NC zone 8A. Nobody in Wilmington, NC protects their figs. It does not stay cold there very long, even last spring (polar vortex, there were ice storms down there) my friends tree only had minimal dieback of the smaller branches.

      In DE, all my figs are potted, and they get TLC - plenty of water and fertilizer, micronutrients, compost tea. In NC my figs are all in ground, they get some water and a dose of osmocote.

      Of the in ground, Smith grew like gangbusters last year down there, from a 16" tall tree in a 3 gallon to 7+ feet with 6 wide (30 - 40") scaffolds. It is in a raised bed with the best nearly all organic "soil" I could get by the truckload (pine bark fines, compost, sand, perlite) HC did not do so well down there but was not in a raised bed.

    • Q*
      Q* commented
      Editing a comment
      Sorry about the zone mix up Phil. Do you use raised beds in NC because your area has a high water table? Maybe Smiths can tolerate soggy soil better. I think its great to hear all the different plants doing well in different places. Thanks again for sharing your growing experiences.

    • drphil69
      drphil69 commented
      Editing a comment
      Actually the soil is sandy and well draining. I put in a raised bed behind the house to deter the dreaded RKN. From what I read, RKN needs light so they stay near the surface (12 inches or so) and they are deterred by organic matter. This was further enforced in my mind by the locals that claim "figs like being near structure." Basically out in the open RKN feast and fig trees suffer, near 'structure' (= concrete slabs in that area) the roots that grow under the structure are protected as the RKN don't venture there, no light. Along with the Smith in the raised bed are White Triana (JM) and Black Triana (JM). They grew well, but nothing like the Smith. I will see if I can add a photo.

  • #3
    I've bare-rooted hundreds of fig trees. LSU Purple stood out for its prolific root production.
    Littleton, CO (zone 5b) - In Containers
    N.E. of Austin, TX (zone 8b)- In Ground.

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    • #4
      For rootstock any healthy prolific cultivar could be used.
      You want to be careful that you don't create a @@@@tail of FMV in the newly grafted tree.

      IMO the best rootstock would be a healthy seedling, but barring that Tissue Cultured trees that are kept isolated (separate) are an alternative. LSU Purple is claimed to be nematode resistant, so cuttings from a tissue cultured LSU Purple grown specifically as rootstock could be the best solution.
      Pete R - Hudson Valley, NY - zone 5b

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      • Bijan
        Bijan commented
        Editing a comment
        I was going to mention that, but I type less when I'm on the iPad.

    • #5
      Thanks for the info in LSU purple guys!....i'm gonna look into it...nematode resistant and grows fast...sounds amazing!
      Quy
      SoCal, Zone 9b

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      • #6
        I am currently trying Florea with the hope that maybe it could transfer its cold-hardy and early ripening traits to the scion. I would be surprised if this is the case but it is worth a try. Another idea would be Alma mainly because it is supposed to be fmv-free. Nematodes aren't an issue for me so I have focused on other qualities. A healthy seedling could be a good choice but I wonder if the delay in fruiting (due to immaturity) would be transferred to the scion?
        Steve
        D-i-c-k-e-r-s-o-n, MD; zone 7a
        WL: Nantes Maroc

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        • jmaler
          jmaler commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm new to the fig world. It's good to know about the Alma being fmv-free.

          When I first read this post I thought Alma might be a good candidate for root stock. Reason being I purchased 10 cuttings off ebay from a fellow in Spring TX. He is on our trusted ebay sellers list.

          I received 11 cuttings, one of which was so long I cut it in half making 12 cuttings. Guess what, so far all 12 cuttings made roots and have top growth. I am thinking this is as easy as growing ivy in a glass of water on the kitchen window seal.

        • Q*
          Q* commented
          Editing a comment
          HI Steve,
          To my understanding the only thing that gets transferred through grafting is energy/nutrient/water flow. Genetics like cold hardiness and being FMV free doesnt transfer. So a strong rootstock pushes more energy to the growth of the scion....and thats it... I know for other fruits they graft onto strong rootstock because the scion taken from mature trees will produce fruit right away without the 5-10 year wait if it was grown by seed.

      • #7
        Here are photos of the Smith (middle tree). I believe it this was its 2nd leaf, as I got it in a 3 (or maybe 2) gallon container. My apologies, I cannot seem to find a photo later in the season. By November, it was taller than the edge of the roof, and the side branches were nearly touching the other 2 trees.
        You may only view thumbnails in this gallery. This gallery has 4 photos.
        Phil
        Zone 7A - Newark, DE; Zone 8A - Wilmington, NC;

        Comment


        • Q*
          Q* commented
          Editing a comment
          Those trees look amazing! Crazy how big they got in such a short amount of time. Thanks for posting the photos.

        • drphil69
          drphil69 commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks. They get good sun down there until afternoon - east side of house, and last year was unusually rainy for that area. I have others down there not in raised beds that did not do nearly as well, so I'm sure the good soil mix was a big help.

          What is the meaning of your handle, Q*?

        • Q*
          Q* commented
          Editing a comment
          My name is Quy....nobody could ever pronounce it so people would just call me Q.

      • #8
        So if one were to graft a black madeira on a BT rootstock such HarveyC did, It would have to be sold as "grafted". Now when that grafted tree is pruned and sold it's sold as a black madeira? Or it will always need to retain the fact it was grafted forever?
        Zone 6a Orange County NY

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        • HarveyC
          HarveyC commented
          Editing a comment
          Sal, if you sold cuttings from my grafted BM tree, you should just sell them as BM. The grafting does not affect the genetics of the branches (although one recent paper showed that genetic changes can take place in some grafts of some other species .... forget what the subject was.... but only at the graft union.

        • COGardener
          COGardener commented
          Editing a comment
          Bare in mind, if you lose the top to winter die back or other damage and the tree regrows from below the graft... it is once again a Brown Turkey.

        • sal
          sal commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for the answers guys.. I wasn't sure if genetics changed or not.. I haven't grafted anything yet This is my first year growing fig trees.

      • #9
        I keep meaning to take a pic of my Alma I grafted last year... It has done great so far. Alma seems to be immune to FMV, but there are other viruses it may not be immune to so there could be some infection.

        Here's a question, does a root stock that is from immature wood have more growth potential than one from mature wood? Or is the vigor only in the original seedling root system?
        .

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        • #10
          I picked BT for the first attempt at grafting about 16 months ago because when I went to a nursery to buy some trees for this purpose they were generally larger (more vigorous) than other varieties available. That worked out very well for me so I continued to use it.
          My fig photos <> My fig cuttings (starts late January) <> My Youtube Videos

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          • #11
            I like the idea of using off color figs when grafting... that way if two years down the road you get green figs on your grafted black madeira, you know you missed a sucker or pre graft branch when pruning
            Youtube: PA Figs eBay: tdepoala
            Wishlist: Galicia Negra, Paritjal Rimada, Black Ischia UCD

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