high grafts, pruining the rootstock ?

benfisherFebruary 1, 2014

I planted Siberian crabs and let them grow 5 years. I then grafted the main stems 3 to 5 feet high, leaving some of the rootstock limbs as insurance life. the grafts have done well. I have kept this rootstock growth under control, and low. I'm wondering if my continual controlling of this low growth is invigorating my top good apple limbs. they are growing well, but not fruiting. I have learned to stop pruining for vigor on the tops, but wondering if this low rootstock trimming is haunting me somehow? I hoped to leave the brushy trunk of the rootstock so the deer won't rub their antlers on them and kill the tree. they have killed a bunch of my stuff that way and I'm getting to old to start over!
we also have bear trouble here. they tear off entire limbs. last year I replaced a limb that the bears tore off. i used a grape technique like a t-bud, but added a 6 inch two bud scion, assuming I could train it away from trunk, if it grew. it did grow, but poorly. i hope it takes off this spring to fill out this scaffold.
the real question...will trimming this low rootstock continue to invigorate the top of the tree? ( they are limbs, not suckers)

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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Too much bottom growths, [vigorous root stock] can hinder top growth,..better would be to cut all off, [except the first year when grafting] and put some chicken wire around or a loop of farm fencing, [picture]. Fruiting will come, a little patient needed for some cultivars.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 12:57PM
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benfisher

thanks . I suspected that from my reading. my concern was promoting vigor, like heading cuts do , but I guess it's time. I was hoping not to have to fence them forever, but I guess with the efforts to get them this far I better. thanks for the note.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 2:31PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Guess, some branches on the bottom you can let them be, if not done anything over a long period of time, they might take over and you'll end up a ton of root stock. I battle with animals too, figured, when tree is trained to a single trunk and when getting older, then you'll have virtually no more bottom growth, a large trunk hardly ever gets knocked out by a deer or moose. I find chicken wire is very effective against antler rub.

Have the same idea a you..
I let new growth on the bottom carry over into spring, these branches can sometimes safe the tree, especially when young.
It gives rodent something to eat before they attack your main trunk.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:01PM
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