Ultra Dwarf Blenheim Apricot Question

hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)March 14, 2011

I picked up a very nice Ultra Dwarf Blenheim Apricot at Lowe's in Vista, Calif yesterday. Wasn't planning on buying any fruit trees, but this little Blenhein had my name on it (as did the darling little Sanguinelli Blood orange, lol!) Trying to find out a bit more about what sort of rootstock the grower might have used to make this an "ultra dwarf". Usually, my Lowe's uses La Verne Nursery in Piru for their fruit trees, but this fruit tree did not have the La Verne label on it. On the SKU label it had Lowe's info, but also said, "grown by: NBNSY", so that must be some acronym for the grower's name. Not familiar with any grower by those acronyms, so can't contact the grower directly. But thought some of our very experienced members might have an idea about what kinds of stone fruit rootstocks a grower might use to create an "ultra dwarf"?

Patty S.

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Patty:

The only ulta dwarf apricot rootstock I'm familiar with is Krymsk 9. I've got about 20 apricot varieties budded on that in 2nd leaf. So far they look good. They might be using Krymsk 1. It has been around a lot longer but for me wasn't very good for anything but plum/pluot.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 12:43PM
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steve_in_los_osos

Both Lowes and Home Depot in this area sell "ultra dwarf" trees from Pacific Groves: http://www.pacificgroves.com/

I bought one of those Blenheims last year or the year before (also could not resist....) and it has done well so far. I've got limbs pulled down to wide crotch angles and lots of blooms on lots of (hopefully) fruiting twigs.

Anyway, their website section on rootstocks suggests (but does not specify) that the rootstock might be "pumiselect".

So far I'm pleased because we don't get near enough chill for what's usually quoted, but there are people around here who seem to grow them and I love apricots, so I decided to play around with it. Of course, flowers are not what I want to eat :-)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:03PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Thanks fruitnut. I did a little bit of searching on the Internet. Found that Pacific Groves has these ultra dwarf Blenheims and on their web site they mention a "Pumiselect" rootstock that is from Germany and very dwarfing. Are you familiar with this rootstock?? I've asked Pacific Groves what rootstock they're using to make their ultra dwarf Blenheims, so we'll see what they use. If I could decipher the code for the nursery that Lowe's bought these from, I could contact them, just have no idea who it might be.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pacific Groves Fruit Tree Rootstocks

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:08PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Pumiselect is probably what they are using. I got some about 6 years ago but then was adviced to pull it all out because one tree somewhere was infected with plumpox or some such. Since then they've decided it wasn't from the pumiselect.

It should be a good tree for you. But you never know what a new root will do until you try.

I guess Pacific Grove knows their stuff but EMLA 111 is listed as EMLA LLL or looks that way to me. Picky picky:)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:52PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

I'm wondering if this is the nursery that Lowe's got these from (kinda far to go for San Diego county, and the initials on the Lowe's label for the nursery don't match: NBNSY), or if it is the same rootstock perhaps from another nursery. Glad to hear your's is doing well! Mine has two branches that are creating a pretty narrow crotch, so I will be trying to spread those branches as the tree grows. But otherwise, it looks really great. And the Blenheim is kind of the "gold standard" for those of us in California with low chill hours. So, I'm hoping by putting it in the coldest part of my yard, it will make it a happy little camper. It's self fertile too, so your blossoms should turn into little apricots :-)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 8:54PM
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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

I have some pumiselect and have found it too dwarfing for my tastes, it doesn't impart enough vigor to the tree and the fruits run on the small side. If you want dwarfing it will certainly do that well! My preference is to get a fullsize stock and prune to keep size under control; apricots are so precocious that such an approach is not hard to implement. I still have about half a dozen trees on pumiselect.

Scott

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 9:40AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Well, hoping in S. California, where everything grows like mad, that this rootstock will perform satisfactorily. Our semi-dwarfs here become standards so I'm hoping an ultra dwarf will end up being a semi :-) And yes, I can just prune anything down to be "walk and pick" which is what I plan on doing anyway, so I guess we'll see how it does.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 11:00AM
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rasputinj

I bought one last year from HD or Lowes, it is not a vigorous grower, and so far after 2 years of blooms that have not gone above the crotch and small fruit I might take it out next year. That is what I get not buying a Dave Wilson tree from my favorite place in Ventura county Jons Fruit Trees in Somis. My friend bought a semi dwarf Blenheim from DW and it has more vigor, bigger fruit and more blooms.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2011 at 10:51PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

I'm happy with my plums and pluot on Krymsk 1. I don't think the fruit is as big as on citation but the eating quality is there. And the difference in fruit size could well be the crop load. The smaller the tree, and these are pretty small, the more tendency to leave too much fruit. That seems to be the case for me anyway.

It's good to have different rootstocks. You never know when even the standard might fail.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:19AM
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rasputinj

Maybe I will just graft scions of Royal Rosa and my friends Blenheim on the tree to see how they do.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2011 at 11:49PM
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cebury(9)

Hoosier / Patty:

I didn't read this entire thread but I've documented all the stuff from Lowes Pacific Groves fruit trees in another post around here somewhere.

The NB stands for Necase Brothers. Lowes has been using them for several years now. In regards to fruit trees, they are the middleman wholesaler and Pacific Groves is the grower selected for some varieties of trees . In the past, the trees from Lowes that are bareroot (in the plastic packages) are passed directly from PG. The NB folks will also plant some of those same trees into the peat/biodegradable paper containers (about 3 gallon in size) and they are sold retail from Lowes for double the retail bareroot price. At the start of the season, the ones in the containers are no bigger/better than the bareroot. But of course they last on the shelf retail much longer and then command the price as the shoppers see trees in leaf and are tempted.

Necase have answered my questions before via phone, but usually not very quickly and forward me to PG. The owner of PG has been quite responsive to me in the past regarding such inquiries via email, but as of last year (2010) their website was accurate and the Blenheim is on Pumi. I got that directly from PG.

My Blenheim is growing in a container and is on it's 2nd leaf and has apricots already.

The vigor seems fairly low, but I lack the experience and control cases to determine the amount limited by the container tree or rootstock. Since the apricots are growing now, neither can I attest to the fruit size.

It's the only apricot I own (so far) so my experience is limited compared to Citrus.

-- Chris
(C4F / CEbury)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 11:31PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Perfect, Chris, you could not have answered my question better! I am trying to get my side yard set up to plant my stone fruits and apples (check out the Citrus Growers Forum -- Off Topic Forum for my little excitement down in that part of my yard, today!!) We'll see how this guy does for me. Picked up a Flavor King pluot, which I tried to decapitate today on its ride home from the nursery, as well as a Spice Zee Necta-Plum and a Cot-N-Candy Aprium (all DWN trees of course). All on Citation. I also came across a Snow Queen ultra-dwarf Nectarine and a Fuji semi-dwarf from Lowe's yesterday, when I went to pick up some drip supplies (that's what I get for entering through the nursery, I know better), also from Neucase/Pacific Groves. Wonder what SD rootstock PG uses for their apples, M-7 or maybe M-111? I think I'll plant my little Blenheim and Snow Queen right at the front of my walkway I'm planning, then the rest of the stone fruits and apples as I go. I am going to have a walkway with planters on either side for my stone fruits, so I sort of "walk through the orchard". I'm going to keep everything at 8', so I can just walk and pick. I'm not an expert at all with stone fruit - always felt they were a lot of work, but my hubby was bemoaning all the citrus and "where's my nectarine and plum tree?" So, in they go. Really excited for it to develop. Just need to make it snake-free, lol!!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 12:29AM
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cebury(9)

The orchard sounds like fun Patty. Yeah, stop going through the Nursery doors! It's too easy to pick them up, esp. if they get marked down half price as the season ends. And they still honor the 1 year warranty, just keep the original packaging + receipt, they are picky about requiring both for the warranty.

My records show my Ultra Dwarf apple from PG was on EMLA27. The UD cherries are on GM 61. The UD nectarines are on Pumi also. My notes also show the Semi-dwarf nectarines were on St.Julian but if my memory serves correct PG said it was possible it was Citation that year, but more likely St.J. So don't know for sure which they are on now.

I killed my UD Fuji last year =( I did a 15" trunk prune and it couldn't handle our heat. The other PG trees I have are all doing just fine. Just do the trunk painting and use shade cloth if your area gets to 100+ and the little dwarf trees are in direct sun. They don't tolerate drought but as usual, will just as quickly drown from over-watering. Shade cloth is their only savior until they get more established and their canopy is much larger.

BTW "Ultra-Dwarf" is just a brand/marketing name registered by PG. It doesn't guarantee the item is dwarfed, which is why you do the research. Case in point, the PG pears are on OHFx333. Really more of a semi-dwarf tree. The growth rate is certainly reflecting it also. Prune prune prune (if in the ground) on these suckers.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 7:07AM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Yeah, figured that was a marketing term. Interesting about the semi-dwarfing rootstock. I have a Minnie Royal and Royal Lee, both on Colt, which his supposed to be dwarfing. Well, not in my yard! Everything is still in pots, and my cherries are about 2 feet taller than everything else, and growing like weeds. I'm going to have to prune those leader branches, or I'm going to have 20' tall cherry trees. I'll have to check out St. Julian against Citation. Not familiar with that rootstock, but sure do appreciate the info, Chris, extremely helpful!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 9:55AM
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brotherjake(5A UT)

I read that colt rootstock will only semi-dwarf a cherry tree in heavy soil. In California you may be lucky to get any dwarfing. I believe Dave Wilson offers the Royals on 3CR178 which is very dwarfing (easily maintained at 10 ft). Tom Spellman told me that cherries on this rootstock will produce 40-50 lbs when established.

Citation, as I understand it, is preferable over st julian. It is more precocious and the fruit is larger and sweeter. It is also slightly more dwarfing. I've read a thread where someone said that citation runted out their peaches. Maybe better to let peaches/nectarines on citation go fruitless for the first three years and put a little extra nitrogen in the soil. Where precocity is not really an issues with apricots, dwarfing may be the primary consideration. I also checked out a study where they grafted an apricot onto a nanking cherry rootstock using a peach interstem. They were able to hold the apricots at 10 ft. I don't remember the fruit production numbers on it. Sounded like a fun experiment.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 3:54PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

Yea. Definitely NOT the case for my yard. Vista, California has the reputation for having "the best weather in the United States". We have very temperate, even temps. Rarely goes over 90, rarely drops below freezing. And we have about 325 days of sunshine. So, everything grows, and it grows all year 'round. I had to do some SERIOUS summer pruning on both the Minnie Royal and Royal Lee. And, my Blenheim apricot is growing very nicely and staying compact (it is about 5' tall and filling out nicely). Compared to my Autumn Glo Apricot, which is directly across the walkway and I believe also on Citation, and needs serious pruning attention (getting the Felcos out today). It's doing the typical apricot thing here in S. California, and growing at a nuclear rate. So, so much for Citation being dwarfing here. Not. But, it is a good, sturdy, vigorous rootstock, and will make nice trees for me. It just means pulling out the pruners or loppers a little more often. I did fertilize this early summer, and plan on one more application here either today or this week, and was planning on a higher nitrogen app just to help get the canopies in good shape, since these are all 1st year trees with no fruit (except the crazy Anna apple, which will fruit at any given time, at any size, and frequently twice a year here.)

I'll snap more pics of the Pick & Walk orchard and post to my previous thread. Things are growing very, very nicely. Even some of my really puny trees are doing very well. Everything is thriving and will make it through the winter, as long as I don't have any underground gopher stealth attacks, or ground squirrels girdling my trees. With 6 bait stations, the ground squirrel issue is pretty much under control. And shockingly, have rarely have gophers (I'm saying that under my breath, so as not to jinx myself.)

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 4:30PM
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melikeeatplants

Bump,

How are peoples Ultra Dwarf's performing now down the road? I see them back at Lowes (Pacific Groves), got a Honeycrisp apple on Ultra. They had it on semi-dwarf as well. Wonder if I should get semi instead. Gonna keep it small either way...

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:42PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA(10b Sunset 23)

melikeeatplants, my ultra dwarf trees are staying much smaller, and also are producing less fruits than my other stone fruits on semi-dwarfing rootstocks. Not necessarily a bad thing - much less pruning, and when you have a lot of stone fruit and pomes to prune, less is more, lol! Will see how they perform this year for me.

Patty S.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:51PM
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