Hi, can you use wild black cherry (P. Serotina) or choke cherry (P. Virginiana) as rootstock for commercial cherry varieties?
Because they are cheap. I guess a better question might be where to get cherry rootstock?
I have some mature cherry trees that had some branches broken this winter. I've salvaged a small pile of scions from these trees and I'd like to do something with them before spring.
I've found year old serotina trees for about $.80 each. I'd like to bench graft about 30 trees and was just wondering if it would be worth the effort. Are they compatible? Would they have a good chance to survive? Yea, I realize they will get huge...I'm okay with that.
Probably compatible- I've grafted italian prune plum to nanking cherry successfully (so far- no telling about delayed rejection after just a few years.) In that single case the result appears to be very dwarfed. Nice little tree so far, though.
A number of years ago I read (in a very old book) that serotina will not work.
My understanding is that P.serotina is not compatible with most fruiting cherry selections. Can't direct you to any published document, but that's what I've always been told.
Nanking cherry is actually more closely related to plums than to true cherries. I've used it as a dwarfing rootstock for peaches and Japanese hybrid plums - and, as marknmt indicates, it is quite dwarfing.
We grow Prunus Serotina and have grown Prunus Virginiana and attempted unsuccessfully to graft both. I tried sweet and sour cherry grafts. Unfortunately I'm unaware of any documentation on the subject. Serotina grafts did not attempt to leaf out but the buds did turn green and swell and then died. Virginiana grafts leafed out and died a short time later. They are incompatible rootstock for anything I have tried so far (not that I'm done trying). Prunus besseyi would be a better wild choice for grafting though if you do stick with grafting plums to it and do not graft cherries to the western sand cherry. Prunus tomentoso I have not tried. If you plan to do a lot of grafting and need inexpensive rootstock try a nursery that sells it specifically and in my opinion stick with Prunus avium aka mazzard cherry. Here is a link to a nursery that sells rootstock at a reasonable price in larger quantity for what you are looking for (cheaper than .80) http://www.lawyernursery.com/productinfo.aspx?productSpecies=Prunus avium.&categoryid=39 Then I would use a whip and tongue graft or something similar to attach the graft to the rootstock like in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7blxoFfJC4I . Been down that road and wanted to save you some trouble based of my experience.
Prunus avium is not your only option but here is a link to all the options Lawyer Nursery (which I would deal with for this purpose) have available http://www.lawyernursery.com/category.aspx?categoryid=100&openid=100
By the way the best time to graft is when the root stock tree is still dormant prior to it leafing out but that's not the only time you can do it. The scions cannot be taken off their mother tree and grafted on the main rootstock tree once they start to leaf out but if the main rootstock is leafed out you can technically still graft dormant scions on the root stock tree. I would let the root stocks get established for a year and then graft to them the second year but some people graft them at the same time they put them in the ground. If a person is in a hurry they refrigerate the scion wood in the spring and let the rootstocks grow for a while and then graft to them (scion wood can keep a couple of months in the refrigerator). Kansas environment is a little to harsh for grafting the same year. We also typically make our grafts shorter (about 2- 3 inches or 3-4 buds sticking up) for a couple of reasons such as wind is extreme here and a taller graft can be bent over time before it takes and It's easier for the plant to take care of 3 inches of graft than 6 inches etc..
Attached is an interesting article on these varieties
Here is a link that might be useful: Information on compatbale plants and uses
I've heard *some* have had success w/P. virginiana, but not serotina.
The North American cherries are not as closely related to P. avium and cerasus as you'd think. I do think P. padus (European bird cherry) might be a bit more like virginiana and serotina, however.
The Asian "flowering" cherries like P. serrulata and P. subhirtella are closer genetically to the European cherries.
Do you know what they grafted to P.virginiana?