How to determine species of rootstock

lakewoodfarm(7a)March 18, 2013

I have a few plum and peach trees purchased in Lowes and home depot 6 years ago. The Plums are "Santa Rosa" and "Burbank". The peaches are "Hale Haven" and "Elberta". They are semi-dwarf. Is there any way to determine what Rootstock they are grafted on? Specifically, I would like to know if the rootstocks are peach or plum. the specific variety is not important.

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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

The only way I know of is to contact Home Depot and Lowe's, and ask who they buy their bare root trees from. Then, contact those growers to ask what semi-dward rootstocks they use for their trees that they sell to the big box stores.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:01AM
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thank you.I believe that when the trees were purchased, we asked the salesman in Lowes regarding the nursery where the trees were grown and he had no clue. Do you know of any physical signs to differentiate peach from plum rootstock?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 11:45AM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

I swear every tag says "semi dwarf"...i wonder if its just a generic label they put out and the roots could be anything (seedlings)>??? I know i have some 7 year old WalMart apples on "semidwarf" and while pruned hard, are still very big trees.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I wrote a huge post and gardenweb blocked me for spam naming a garden site... Anyways...


I was ready to make the same mistake you did until I realized I can get better quality trees for the same price, and actually know what I'm getting! Matter a fact, I was just at home depot yesterday, not for fruit trees, but if course I had to take a run to look at them! The employees knew exactly were they got them from, a local nursery... Icalled a different home depot to double check, and same answer.. That being said, even if you did run down the nursery and they gave you an answer, I still wouldn't be to sure... I just don't understand why they don't label rootstock, at least species look you're saying... I think to get around patents and not pay for expensive stock... Least you only bought a couple trees an know better next time! How are your trees growing?

Best of luck,

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:39PM
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Ed Laivo, who was one of the propagators/horticulturists at Dave Wilson Nursery, had a really good article, years ago, on rootstocks. "Dwarf Tree? But, it's so BIG!!!" or something like that...
It pointed out, as most of us here know, that there's nothing magical about rootstocks and size control - they don't just stop the tree from growing when it reaches 6-8-610-12-18 feet - YOU, ultimately, are responsible for how big or small your tree is - they grow until they die; prune, prune, prune.

One thing Ed pointed out, is that the terms dwarf, semi-dwarf, standard, don't mean much to most folks - or if they do, they don't fully grasp the concept. For example, if the 'semi-dwarf' tag says, " tree will be 12-18 ft", how many folks realize, that that's potentially as tall as a 2-story home? Or, that the apple on 'standard' rootstock should come with a tag reading "May become as large as an apartment complex, please purchase additional property."

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 12:51PM
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Trees are doing great . They are large and healthy. One of the Semi-dwarf santa rosa plums is 16 foot high. I have yet to harvest edible fruit from these particular trees due to brown rot and plum curcilo, but I am well equiped with pesticides this year and hope to get a decent harvest.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:27PM
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franktank232(z5 WI)

True... only genetic dwarfs (peaches) and some apple rootstocks remain truly "dwarf"... but these apples i have are huge...

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 2:52PM
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