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EMLA 7 and rootsuckering

Posted by Joanne Patton 
EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 08, 2016 12:21AM
Looking for real world feedback on EMLA 7 please, specifically as it concerns suckering. I have one tree currently on EMLA 7 and there's not a sucker to be found but 1 tree does not make a good sample size.

Would appreciate any feedback!

Many thanks in advance,
Joanne Patton
Squire Oaks Farm
Lovettsville, VA

P.S. I'm a new member to the community and happy to be here! My husband and I live in Northern VA, zone 6A. This spring we are planting a new orchard destined to be a U-Pick for our small town (Lovettsville). We'll have ~25 apples (including 'Bonkers'), 25 pears and in 2017 50+ blueberries. In 2011, we planted our first fruit trees, apples pears and peaches (less than 20). Guess I like starting out with baby steps. smiling smiley



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 01/15/2016 03:53AM by Joanne Patton.
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 22, 2016 09:41PM
I have seen a fair amount of suckering in M7 orchards, but EMLA 7 is touted as less problematic. Something to keep an eye out is the propagation method for rootstocks when purchasing, since tissue cultured rootstocks can increase both suckering and burr knots in the field. Tissue culture is pretty new for rootstocks, but it will likely be widespread soon. Seedling rootstocks, on average, will give much more resistance.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 02:14AM
Thanks Todd for the reply, good to know your take on EMLA 7. The trees I'm getting from ACN on EMLA 7 I believe are chip budded. Is that what you're referring to when you say 'propagation method' or are you talking about something like mound layering for growing rootstocks?

Still digging out from Jonas,
Joanne
Squire Oaks Farm
Lovettsville, VA
Zone 6A (although zone charts say we're in 7)
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 04:43PM
I'll chime in for good ol' M.7 as we know it. And here I do mean quite old ... this so-called Malling rootstock actually dates back to around 1688 in France and was originally known as Doucin vert or Doucin Reinette. Guesses are monks discovered this less vigorous rootstock for espalier in walled gardens. Flash forward to the 1960s era and virus indexed (heat-treated) versions of rootstocks were released. The EMLA (East Malling-Long Ashton) series with viruses removed are slightly more vigorous than their "dirty" predecessors.

Anyway, I've worked with a few M.7 orchards and the upshot is that rootsuckering is just not that prevalent. I have maybe eight trees here on this root, and of that, only the two Melrose have a suckering thing going on. Such are readily dealt with with hand pruners as I'm going to inspect trunks for borers at some point regardless. One such orchard is at Rodale in Pennsylvania where Don Jantzi maintains open ground cover with a Weed Badger ... and I don't recall seeing tons of suckers as a result of that surface treatment. All in all, I like M.7 here in Zone 4b.

Lost Nation Orchard
Zone 4b in New Hampshire
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 07:46PM
I've grown and managed a LOT of trees on M7 over the years. I only have two misgivings about the rootstock. 1) it suckers and 2) it leans as it gets older. As Michael suggested, the suckering isn't a huge problem, you just need to be religious about cutting the suckers off flush with the ground to avoid any issues with borers. As well, rootsucker stubs can catch a lot of leaves and detritus, some of which could harbor overwintering scab inoculum. Consider suckering a part of good orchard sanitation. Fortunately, M7 isn't fireblight susceptible, so the suckers won't lead to that issue. The leaning problem can be an issue on taller more spindly (columnar) trees as they get older. Staking can eliminate this issue as can pruning them in more of a bush style to keep them lower to the ground. Or not. Other than these two "problems," I love M7. Of the older rootstocks, this is the more manageable one: MM111 is big and not very precocious, but hardy and stalwart as they come. MM106 is susceptible to wet feet/collar rot and isn't the most cold hardy of the rootstocks, but is precocious, so if you have a dry/well-drained orchard, this can work as well.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 09:13PM
You guys are great - thank you! I have asked ACN to switch my trees to EMLA 7 (from G41 and G11) where available and I too feel good about putting them in the orchard. I try VERY hard to select roots and scions that are 1) disease resistant 2) taste good 3) eliminate combinations that increase maintenance and of course, hardy in my zone. Here is what we're getting from ACN and Cummins for the new orchard:

APPLES
Honeycrisp (red strains as well as the original)
Grimes Golden
Melrose
Pristine
Pink Lady
Red Yorking
GoldRush
Florina Querina
Pixie Crunch
Sundance
Bonkers
Calville Blanc d'Hiver
Winesap
Granny Smith

PEARS
Doyenne de Comice
Harrow Delight
Blakes Pride
Bartlett Harrow Sweet
Seckel
Magness
Potomac
Shanandoah
Sunrise

Joanne Patton
Zone 6a in Northern Virginia
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 09:34PM
Nice list! The red strains don't have as much flavor as the older strains of Honeycrisp. Magness and Comice can be hard to set a crop, so be prepared.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 09:49PM
Thanks Mike! smiling smiley

In 2011 we planted Magness, Harrow Delight, Anjou, Flemish Beauty and Moonglow (all espaliered) and in 2012 a couple of Comice. Last year, we had a nice crop of Harrow Delight and Moonglow but I picked Moonglow too soon. Comice set like 2 fruits but boy were they incredible after ripening!!!!! Magness, as you said, hasn't given us a single bloom so I'm hoping this will be the year.

This spring I'm going to try growing a few of the Harrow Delight and Moonglow in bottles for one of our local restaurants - will be fun to see how that goes.

Thanks for the heads up on the red strains. I hope I won't be disappointed I planted them...
Joanne Patton
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 10:01PM
Joanne,

The comment about propagation method referred to the stock. Not the chip budding, that doesn't play into this. The layering methods you mentioned relate, as they will apparently show a difference (lower suckering likelihood) than tissue culture material. This is all relatively new, and I think it unlikely the material you are getting originated with tissue culture. It will surely have variability with different stocks. Also, tissue culture is a means usually to get original material, especially virus free material. Stooling and other layer methods using that stock conceivably will have the same negative aspects as the original t.c. plant.

To be sure, the various 7's have a place in Virginia for all their benefits. It was once the most widely planted size reduction stock on the market for a reason. I will echo Mike's comment about leaning, as I have seen this in older orchards, especially in low swales where it is softer (ie wet). My opinion is that this variety's vigor on top exceeds the root's anchoring ability, and that this inequality could be remedied with good pruning technique.

Also, the EMLA 7 is likely to be more tolerant of any latent virus in the scionwood they are using, compared with a lot of Geneva stocks.

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
Zone 3 in Vermont
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 11:25PM
Thanks Todd for the additional info. I have no clue if ACN is using roots grown from tissue culture but I just read that G41 is commonly produced via tissue culture and I originally had a bunch of trees on G41 before switching to EMLA7.

We can get pretty intense winds here so I have a feeling I'll be staking the trees in the new orchard but at least (hopefully) I won't have to worry about brittle wood and snapping at the graft. My one Honeycrisp planted in 2011, on Bud9, has lost so much bark at and just above the soil line that it's almost completely girdled save for maybe 20% of the diameter. It could be from voles (it's now protected) but I don't think so because the bark pieces are still around. I think it's the brittle wood. I'll be curious to see how it does this year but I may ultimately need to replace the tree. I think it's also impossible to graft in pieces of bark to get the transport system flowing as the surface is way too uneven (VERY knobby) and I don't have the expertise to do it anyways. Sorry, so easy for me to get off topic and going in different directions....

My one tree on EMLA 7 (Liberty) is doing great, as far as lack of suckering. It's espaliered (has 4 really nice strong tiers now!!) and one of the prettiest trees in the 250' espaliered line, besides Enterprise, and the pears which seem to be perfect espalier candidates.

As for now, we're still "enjoying" 3' of snow....

Joanne Patton, Squire Oaks Farm
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 26, 2016 11:47PM
There is some concern about brittle graft/incompatible graft unions with Geneva rootstocks. Still unclear with stocks have the worst problem, but G41, G935, and even G890 have been most often mentioned. G16 has long ago been tossed on the burn pile because of too many problems. Be especially careful with G stocks if you're budding or grafting untested scion stock. I am a fan of staking trees for at least the first few year no matter what rootstock they are on. All young trees don't have much of a root system when planted and will benefit from the added support. With larger stocks you can always remove the stake after 4-5 years. For others, like Geneva, where breakage could be a concern, just leave it in.

Mike Biltonen, Know Your Roots
Zone 5b in New York
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 27, 2016 01:00AM
Hi Mike,

One of the Honeycrisp strains I'm getting, Cameron Select, is on G41 and I think she told me they were bench grafted because of the brittleness issue. I'm going to plant them with the other espaliered trees as if they were in a high density planting, this way I can take advantage of the wires I already have mounted (for the arms) and I will provide add'l support for the trunk. I'll be taking out a couple of grapes and transplanting a Goji berry so I have room for these. Hopefully once in and secure, they will be good to go for their life. The other strain I'm getting is on EMLA 7 so they will just go in the orchard.

I'm not doing any grafting... yet. I wanted to create a copper beech hedge and failed miserably. Not only with germinating cold stratified seeds but with Fagus seedlings I ordered so I could practice grafting. None took but I suspect it was more because I did it at the wrong time of the year. Oh well - I'll try again sometime.

So glad to see the activity on the board! Thank you again for all of you input as I may be the only "Freshman" here! I do appreciate the help!!!

Joanne Patton, Squire Oaks Farm
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 27, 2016 03:52AM
The knobbiness on the bud 9 is more than likely burr knots- which I see plenty of on both bud 9 and 118. It is possible the flaking is a disease issue, and also damage from sunscald can do this. Concerning your grafting, most of the nut trees can be tricky compared to most fruits. They really like heat on the graft union.

Maybe you are a "freshman", but taking the time to ask some questions is a whole lot better than veterans being mute. Your efforts are appreciated.
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 27, 2016 05:48PM
Correction Todd. In looking back at my 2011 order, the Honeycrisp is on G16, not Bud9 and looks exactly like the picture on the right.

The Cornell sheet on Geneva Comparisons says G16 has low suckering and burr knots. Not sure what 'low' means but my Honeycrisp definitely looks just like that picture without the bark. Wish I could post pics.

Guess I can't put so much trust in these comparison charts.... input from the field is definitely the best!

Enjoy the day and thank you again!!!

Joanne Patton, Squire Oaks Farm
Zone 6A, Northern Virginia
Re: EMLA 7 and rootsuckering
January 27, 2016 06:09PM
The spherical swelling on the right hand side of the right photo is a burr knot- the thing with the little spikey projections (these will become roots if contacted with soil). If your trees have sloughing bark like the one on the right, you will see that it is riddled with borer channels and added to the bark loss in that particular case. As an unrelated comment to folks viewing the photos, that root system on the left is the reason that trees left in a pot too long is a sure way to failure, and why starting with a small, proportioned tree is more logical and more economical.
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