Nemagard for Z5a?

kokopelli5aJune 5, 2012

I'm venting more than asking, but....Went to reputable old time nursery for a 'Redhaven' peach. They had it alright, on Nemagard. Nem is hardy to about zero, and this is Z5. No way it can make it. They even had 'Mericrest' nectarine--a special cold adapted variety grafted on Nemagard. Just plain stupid.

I asked the proprietor why they had clearly inappropriate stock, and he looked sheepish and said they could order the variety from their supplier, but not the rootstock. So they just sold it anyway and hoped no one noticed, I guess. My wife reminded me that she had bought a Nema Redhaven a couple of years ago that didn't make it through the winter.

We complain about Home Depot, but for the life of me, this is worse, if anything, since the average homeowner would likely blame a perfectly good variety for the shortcomings of the rootstock.

I guess the moral of the story is to pay attention to the rootstock. Plenty of times I've raved about 'Redhaven' on this forum. But if there are professional nurserymen customarily grafting 'Mericrest' on Nemagard, you can't put anything past them.

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Scott F Smith(6B/7A MD)

Kokopelli, there is nothing wrong with grafting red haven on nemaguard, as long as they clearly mark the correct zone hardiness on it. Just because a variety is hardy to zone 5 does not mean all plantings will be in zone 5. Nematodes are a big problem in southern peach country and Nemaguard (with Red Haven etc grafted to it) are popular there. California nurseries also use nemaguard a lot because its hardy where most of the plantings are in that state.

If they didn't properly mark the hardiness on the other hand, that is a big mistake and they deserve to be flamed for it.

Note that I have never seen reliable data on how cold-hardy nemaguard is, only mentions of its lack of cold-hardiness compared to Lovell etc; has anyone had a tree on nemaguard die on them? I have only one tree on that stock and it has seen -2F with no problem, but not lower than that.


    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 12:22PM
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olpea(zone 6 KS)


I've avoided nemagard mainly because of it's reputation for winter kill. It apparently also has some issues with peach tree short life. Guardian is supposed to be a much better substitute.

The local nursery apparently gets their stock from somewhere down south. As Scott mentions, full disclosure would certainly help the situation, but ultimately the local nursery needs to purchase stock that will do well in the area they service.

I wouldn't knowingly plant nemaguard in zone 5.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 9:58PM
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It is not uncommon to have -10 here, and of course it goes lower, to -20 every couple of years. A couple of years ago it got nearly to -30. There's just no excuse to sell Nemagard rootstock in Z5. It can't possibly make it.

Supposedly its OK to five degrees above, although I'm not at all surpised to learn from Scott that it can do a little better. My experience is that the zone listings for the plants are based on the variety, not the rootstock. So the average guy buying 'Redhaven' would see maybe Z5, not the Z7 (more or less) which is the maximum for Nemagard. Its not only an inappropriate rootstock, its actively misleading to put it on such a widely adapted tree as 'Redhaven'
As far as selling 'Mericrest' on Nemagard, well, I just can't see how any thoughtful nursery could put together that combination. The number of Z7 growers who would consciously choose to grow 'Mericrest' but with a rootstock that robs it of its cold hardy advantage is miniscule.

'course, before I knew better, I ordered a 'Gold' cherry and 'Stella' cherry combo from Starks. What genius thought it would be a good idea to combine a second rate self-fruitful variety with a third-rate non-self fruitful variety whose main claim to fame is to act as a pollinator?

I live in New Mexico. A lot of people don't even know its part of the United States. A lot more people figure its the same as Phoenix. How hard is it for a 'big nursery to devise a program that compares zipcode to USDA zone and bas basically says, "don't ship nema to any place colder thatn Z7" ? How hard is it to devise a program to not ship 'Dorsett Golden' a Bahamian apple, to Z5? (at least not without a manual override).

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 2:05AM
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