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How does Nanking Cherry do in Portland/Vancouver Area?
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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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October 6, 2019 - 7:50 pm

For anyone who has tried, or just knows, my question is as described in the title.  I have two motivations.

(1)  I am trying to create a minidwarf fruit orchard or garden, as shown in this photo.  This was Gene Yale,at about 85 years old, in his mini-apple orchard in the Chicago area.  He died this August, I think, in his 90s.   All I need is a bowl or two or three of fruit from each tree.  I can prune, thin, even spray, and harvest a minidwarf without a ladder or stretching above.  Even maybe cover with a tarp for the winter for leaf curl disease.

Minidwarf Orchard

It would be nice to have fruits other than apples.  I read that Prunus tomentosa can be used as a very dwarfing rootstock for some peaches.  And maybe, some plums?  However, my bad memory is that I tried growing one a few years ago and it died quickly of canker.  I think.

I also tried growing Romeo bush cherry with the same result, but maybe deer ate it.    Hence the question, have others successfully grown P. tomentosa (Nanking Cherry) in this area?

(2)  Actually, it would be interesting to see if these grew as a crop as is, or with another cherry grafted onto them, either sweet cherry or pie cherry.

I don't mind trying the experiment in the dark, but it would be interesting to know if this species can be grown around here at all, or is a lost cause.

Thank in advance for your experiences and thoughts!

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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October 6, 2019 - 10:30 pm

Nankings do well on plums. In Sherwood near Edmonton Alberta at the home of a person that I worked with had a big nanking. So big as to be at least 10 feet tall resembling the size of a local lilac in SW Washington would be. His had to have been grafted upon plum because according to reports by others nankings do resort into plum style when grafted on plum.

Last summer I ended up picking nankings at WSU Prosser WA. I was interested in the seed for future projects I have in mind for screening prunus viruses. This is a chosen type of nanking which are not hypersensitive to viruses and also indicate yellow patterns in the leaf that can indicate what virus is present. And when the seeds of these kinds are grown out they will do the same. But in westen Washington it has been my experiences with northern hardy prunus tenella (bush almond), prunus bessyi (bush plum) and prunus kerrasis (romeo type bush cherry) is the same fate with cankers as you had with nankings. However I had not tried nankings but John S has prunus japonica (a bushy plum stock type) which is reported to be another northern sister species to nanking, hopefully we can get a report from him.

Another thing I know is that you are opening up new ground thinking about dwarfing prunus in Washington the way we do with say m9 apple dwarfing stock like per Chicago above. But let's see what John says because I also am interested in his p japonica possibilities along these lines.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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October 8, 2019 - 9:18 am

@Rooney, thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts.   I also wondered about bush almond, which I read can be highly dwarfing for other Prunus species, but your experiences with those confirm my suspicions.  I wonder if, if the only part of the Nanking or other bush Prunus, is the root and the stem up to about 6 inches, if canker will be a problem.  I think probably yes.

A few years ago I grew some of what I think were Prunus americana from seeds collected from my neighborhood.   That tree grew to about 10 feet tall then died of canker. The original tree is also gone.  I don't know why but maybe canker there too.

It's possible there are other bush Prunus that might work.  Or maybe the majority of Prunus are susceptible to canker.  I've certainly seen it on some peaches, some hybrid plums with P. americana heritage, and others.  One that is not, and seems compact but not as small as I want, is Hollywood plum.   I can start some more of those from cuttings this winter.  Most of the compact Prunus species are still too tall growing for what I want to do, although I have no way to know if they would be more dwarfing to a peach.

Edit:  I am looking to order a genetic dwarf peach.  Those are on Lovell.  Their genetic dwarf character comes from the scion, not the rootstock.  Maybe I could try a genetic dwarf peach that as an interstem and see if that dwarfs a regular size peach scion.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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October 8, 2019 - 11:48 am

Good discussion.  When I get more time, I will consider a Frost peach, as it seems the most likely to produce well here on the wet side of PNW.

I tasted enormous abundant bush cherries that were healthy and delicious in Wallowa County, NE OR.  Their climate is more like Edmonton. I think many bush cherries would do well in E WA or E OR.

I have tried many types of small cherries here. Western sand cherry, sand cherry, tomentosa, the Siberian species, etc.   All have had problems with fungus and bacteria.  The late Lon Rombough told me that they get a disease that aborts the fruit.  Exactly correct in my experience.  I want the plant for the fruit, not the plant.  The only one I'm willing to try is grafting Montmorency onto Northstar. Northstar in my experience gets a lot of disease problems, however, that was with the top of the tree.  Northstar is like a small tree/large bush.  Some of the giselas's or krymsk rootstocks might work for dwarfing as well. If Rooney doesn't have the answer, I'm certain that I won't be able to either.

My wife considers me a borderline lunatic about pie cherries.  I do admit that they are great.  Montmorency is the way to go for me at this time. Produces like a champ, even better with biochar.  It's a small tree, and you can actually pick the cherries with a long stick with a fork tied to the end of it.  Blue-collar? Yes, but it works.  Birds don't really eat a lot of them.  Sweet cherry trees are great if you are trying to feed small, loud, invasive birds. 

John S
PDX OR

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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October 8, 2019 - 1:41 pm

So we are really out there just looking for any evidence from other locals as for evidence on pure-breed apricots as far as finding any age and condition of tree when a plum is grafted upon this since apricots have the same ills. So then "anybody have a plum grafted to apricot ?".

Similar to your northern Americana plum I had a purebreed prunus nigra (Canadian plum) grafted for a few years. It lived and flowered for 3 years with-out ever producing any fruit even though it bloomed lastly of all plums. 

Larry of Lebanon OR in the moist hills praised his nice plum that has bore fruit with good height and health for many years now. It is grafted on 50% nanking root (krymsk-1, same that HOS carries) with a perfect horizontal growing habit of up to 8 feet. I praise it too because I saw it myself. So if the hunt for a healthy dwarfing idea dead-ends your project then look to what is so far this single tree case. 

From a breeding perspective hybrid roots make a lot of sense due to the edge they seem to produce in newer environments when at the F1 generation. And developing clones of new rootstocks for us makes more sense than ever, but I am just basing mostly that on books I read. Which I think states alot of good for Krymsk-1 or breeding together 2 closely related species of nothern bush plum/cherry experimentally. 

My first hand observations prior to receiving the first imported hybrid p kerrasis ('carmine jewel') from Canada were from Lon's pure breed bush cherry of which John explained -they were very ill. Then when (just after) he removed them out altogether, I received one to compete against the hybrid 'carmine jewels', which are actually 50% 'northstar' and 50% 'kerrs easy pick' (the latter a bush cherry). So it was as I expected, many of the hybrids survived the trial and the pure breed single case lost out quicker. 

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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October 8, 2019 - 5:36 pm

John S said
Montmorency is the way to go for me at this time. Produces like a champ, even better with biochar.  It's a small tree, and you can actually pick the cherries with a long stick with a fork tied to the end of it.  Blue-collar? Yes, but it works.  Birds don't really eat a lot of them.  Sweet cherry trees are great if you are trying to feed small, loud, invasive birds. 

I didn't want to go that much off topic and bash your montmorency idea to promote the well being of sweet cherries, but here I go..

Last spring/summer I discovered a home having a large towering sweet cherry with large delicious purely yellow fruit. The tree grew near the fence but it was a corner home on 2 street intersections. So I went there at least 3 times to sample my way into finding the name of the cultivar/varietal clone. The name is 'nugent' and had been listed for sale 8 years ago by Raintree. Which makes sense because Morton WA and Vancouver WA outskirts are not that far. Originally released from NY (I think Cornel), but there are no protection covenants on 'nugent', however is still listed by Raintree.

What harm might it be grafting a branch on 'nugent' on your productive montmorency? Well there is one downhill point to avoiding birds by color confusion/ ..as I had found on my last early morning sample, there were smart crows that had watched me scavenge around the tree about what I was doing and started in on the highest cherries by that time.

However birds are reportedly avoided by decorating red fake cherries early in the season as which birds (foolishly) avoid the location as a learned distraction the whole rest of the season when ours come.

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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October 8, 2019 - 7:36 pm

John S said
Good discussion.  When I get more time, I will consider a Frost peach, as it seems the most likely to produce well here on the wet side of PNW.

I have tried many types of small cherries here. Western sand cherry, sand cherry, tomentosa, the Siberian species, etc.   All have had problems with fungus and bacteria.

Thanks John.   That was my suspicion.  

After looking into it, a genetic dwarf peach won't work.  I read that was tried, didn't dwarf the scion.

By the way, I have a Montmorency and a Surefire pie cherry.  They are so tasty.  I had a Northstar for a while, but it caught a disease called "deer" which did it in.  If I could make a minidwarf sweet cherry, it would be easy to cover with netting or festoon with holographic scare tape, which does work with blueberries and even that Montmorency cherry ????

Rooney said
So we are really out there just looking for any evidence from other locals as for evidence on pure-breed apricots as far as finding any age and condition of tree when a plum is grafted upon this since apricots have the same ills. So then "anybody have a plum grafted to apricot ?".

...

Larry of Lebanon OR in the moist hills praised his nice plum that has bore fruit with good height and health for many years now. It is grafted on 50% nanking root (krymsk-1, same that HOS carries) with a perfect horizontal growing habit of up to 8 feet. I praise it too because I saw it myself. So if the hunt for a healthy dwarfing idea dead-ends your project then look to what is so far this single tree case. 

From a breeding perspective hybrid roots make a lot of sense due to the edge they seem to produce in newer environments when at the F1 generation.

...

Thanks for the thoughts, Rooney.  I did try a supposed dwarf Apricot once, thinking I could grow it in a container.  It died too.  I didn't know Kermsk - 1 was half Nanking cherry.  Maybe that would be peach compatible?  I don't know, plus I'm not the best peach grafter anyway.  However a peach X cherry hybrid sounds wonderful!

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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October 8, 2019 - 9:01 pm

DanielW said
peach X cherry hybrid sounds wonderful

Well it looks like your not aware that nankins are no longer considered proper cherries anymore. The nankings follow about the same story of sand plums where about 60 years ago they guessed it was cherry until it was really hard to long term graft or breed to cherry. The most reliable graft union for sand plum is actually apricot, per G. Botar, et all, in Alberta Canada. Then it's a little easier to remember next time at scion events that krymsk-1 is under plum stock and is not recommended for cherry unless you obtain an interstem plum that by sheer chance of 1 to 1000 is. 

Richard Ashton of Texas, the man that produced "plums of north america" experimented with one of those rare plum interstems that were good grafting to most cherries did privately make tests using the interstem between sweet cherry and a peach root. But I am not aware if in the experiment the union took well on peach. 

There were 2 plums good for cherry and one of them I think you will find my patent link to it if you searched z-stem on hos, or zaiger sweet cherry myrobalan citation plum graft etc, on google. I think one of them is a great idea to have smaller cherry trees on when using krymsk-1 because the patent (if you can find it) is expiring. Farmers still raise these double grafted trees in California by 'minnie royal'.

Another myrobalan plum, not as dwarfing, is freely floating around scion events by the name 'adara',is not protected.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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November 6, 2019 - 2:29 pm

@daniel: regarding the above post #3 (the first sentence);
-If your still wondering how a root-system with 6 inches of upright that is vulnerable to disease then you might benefit reading some of the recent advances regarding plant plasticity and the ability of a plant to farm protective microbes in soils (suppressive soils). In the following link (bottom) are these underground fauna promoters, which is apparently what suppressive soils means. The idea that botanists have discovered plants in certain conditions need certain microbes in the soil in order to use the earth around the roots as a holding agent and production machine and the plant opts to culture what living organisms both they and their offspring need. 

My next suggestion to your comment (first sentence) is "just maybe yes", for fruit trees hampered by PNW bacterial gummosis. Consider the OSU older advice for sweet cherry that during the first 4 years each tree is vulnerable, but then the older after age 4 the more resistant they become, which is plant plasticity. However since the link below here states a plant needs to sense the attack of the airial portions of the plant to start the eventual (of the) 4 year sequence or cycle of operation , in which case don't you agree that the whole plant in both sides of the graft needs to be "PNW bacterial illed of?" -my answer is "I think so".

The sweet cherry is just a sweet thought at this point until the complete pathways are discovered in future experiments with these troubled prunus species. However planting a new questionable prunus in a previously planted trees location that has previously been struggling there now has an opportunity to be proven.

With the newer suppressive soils the location thing concerning the health issues complicates other unwanted conditions such as experiments with root-stocks of peach that need (upon location) to be immune to parasitic nematodes. I know that. So just maybe soils can be imported in new locations from old tree areas that lack most parasites?

https://m.phys.org/news/2019-1.....soils.html

Yuan, J., Zhao, J., Wen, T. et al. Root exudates drive the soil-borne legacy of aboveground pathogen infection. Microbiome 6, 156 (2018) doi:10.1186/s40168-018-0537-x

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DanielW
Clark County, WA
519 Posts
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November 7, 2019 - 7:24 am

Thanks Rooney for the additional information and readings.  Such interesting stuff.

At this point, I gave up on the Prunus tomentosa.  The contributions in this discussion helped a lot, and saved me from some more frustration and expense.

For minidwarf Peaches I decided on a containerized genetic dwarf peach.  Maybe, I will construct a winter shelter for it and plant it in ground, covering during rainy season, or maybe containerize it and move it to winter shelter to prevent peach leaf curl.  I think the former, watering is less challenging if in-ground.  

The suppressive soils references are interesting.  I add multiple truckloads of leaves to my soil each year, mainly maple (local bigleaf and Norway)and Liquidamber.  Maybe those leaves support a lively microbial community.  The soil color has become richer where I do that. 

I really enjoy reading plant and soil science literature.

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Rooney
Vancouver SW Washington
684 Posts
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November 7, 2019 - 11:16 am

Very few of us PNWesterners pay as much attention as us for fruiting apricots and peaches here and these latest soils articles may some day make it possible that California or other dry states are not the only apricot/peach growing district. One of us is the now retired Sam Benowitz from Raintree who who used to promote experiments with the botanical researchers. In the late 90s they tried giving away self rooted 'pugetgold' apricots (a dollar ea.) and sold out. Probably nobody gave any feedback.

Before you get too zealous growing miniature peaches try and establish that the varietals you are getting are productive. Or you may wind up following my footsteps of buying these only later to find them very unproductive as a whole. Mine was 'honeybabe' but as time went on I found that pictures of fruit on these kinds in sales brochures are very misleading pictures.

However it would make a good PNW case for all of us should you find a way to do all that. In which case maybe I failed due to never placing mine directly in the ground.

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John S
PDX OR
2593 Posts
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November 7, 2019 - 7:27 pm

Daniel,

My experience mirrors yours.  I got rid of North Star, Jubileum, and Danube. Jubileum and Danube didn't really get diseases, but I hardly got cherries!   So far, I have kept Surefire and Balaton because I am getting some cherries from them.  Not as many as Montmorency, but enough to keep the trees at this point. 

John S
PDX OR

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