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[nafex] Air layering of apples

Hello all:

I cannot tell you very much about the success of the Jonafree I air
layered.  I did it last summer.  I separated it from the mother tree
in October.

I just want to relay a few conversations I have had with others.  I
will try to credit the proper people ;-) to avoid infringement.

Prof Ron Perry at Michigan State says that own-rooted apple trees have
been studied.  The economic advantages associated with sticking
cuttings vs. grafting was found to be more than offset by the loss of
productivity relative to Malling and Merton-Malling rootstock.  If
memory serves, they looked at two cultivars.  Golden Delicious was one
and I cannot remember the other.

Tim Boland, now with Morton Arboretum, batted around the idea of using
cuttings to propagate ornamental crab apples (OCA).  Seedling
rootstock under OCA sucker profusely.  It was assumed that the
suckering was caused by some degree of incompatability between the OCA
and the rootstock.  OCA are even more mixed up, genetically, than
domestic apples.  The hope was that landscape maintenance could be
reduced (in other words, groundspeople could spray with Round-up and
then mulch without killing the tree).  At least one wholesale nursery
now grafts all OCA on MM111 to get out of the sucker problem.  My take
on the situation is that suckering often correlates to early bud-
break.  Many OCA have early bud break and own-rooted cuttings would
not eliminate suckers.  MM111 has other advantages.  It can handle a
wide range of adverse soil conditions.  No guarentees with the 1000s
of OCA cultivars.

Having written all that, I do agree that own-rooted is a slick way to
go if you expect the baby trees to get whacked by bunnies, snow-
mobiles, freak test-winters, gnawed on by voles or weed
whacked.....and need to bring it back from the roots.  Just don't
expect a 12' (3.5m) tall tree.

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