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CONIFER GRAFTING: ROOTSTOCKS OF CHOICE

Dr. Hannah Mathers, Assistant Professor, OSU and James Beaver, Private Plant Breeding Consultant Over the last several years the nursery industry in the Pacific Northwest has been producing a wide variety of conifer cultivars. Unique high quality conifers, has become one of the “trademarks” of the nursery industry in the Pacific Northwest. Public demand for new and interesting plants, especially dwarf and semi-dwarf conifers, has been very high. There has also been a tremendous increase in demand for vertical or pyramidal conifer forms. Increasingly, big houses are placed on ever-smaller lots. Vertical conifers help to bring the landscape into perspective with the lot. Grafting is a technique used to unite “parts” of different plants by bringing the cambium of each into contact and then creating a situation under which the cut surfaces grow together (Macdonald 1986). Grafting is the main reason why so many unique conifers with unusual forms can be offered in today’s retail market. Conifer grafting usually involves bench grafting. Bench grafting covers grafting and budding techniques carried out inside a covered structure, normally a shed or greenhouse (Macdonald 1986). The type of bench grafting most often used on conifers is the side veneer graft. Side veneer grafts are also used for Abies, Acer, Alnus, Betula, Picea, Pinus, as well as the other conifers listed in the table below. Production of Rootstocks The rootstock or understock is the lower part of the graft. It usually possesses a root system, which will support the subsequent shoot development from the scion (Macdonald 1986). The scion is the part of the graft that will provide the new shoot system. Roots, unlike tops of plants, have no distinct period of dormancy and are able to grow whenever temperatures, moisture, and other conditions are favorable (Westwood 1978). The root system therefore can have a tremendous impact on the plant’s over all health and quality. Rootstocks, in fruit tree and ornamental production, are selected for their ability to increase stress tolerance, including cold, drought, heat, flooding and/or salt stress. In the area of cold stress, rootstocks can have several effects including influencing chilling requirements. Chilling requirements in turn effect flowering and time of propagation (Kester, personal communication 1999). Rootstocks are also selected for their ability to impart resistance to pests, including insects and diseases. An example of this would be in choosing an understock for five needle pines such as Pinus strobus. The understock for Pinus strobus cultivars was always Pinus strobus but now Pinus koraiensis is used because Pinus strobus is so susceptible to root rot. Root stock choice can also influence the anchorage ability of the plant. Some understocks can provide better root architecture for certain locations such as street plantings. Dr. Dave Burger is examining these root architecture differences at the University of California, Davis, CA. Rootstocks can be selected to reduce suckering, increase tolerance to different soil conditions and types,

This can be determined by observing signs of budding out or breaking of dormancy. For some standards it may take. if it occurs. Top working is a very effective way to produce unusual forms of plants. The one gallon plants are then placed outside in container beds. After the five needle pines. Tissue damage. Following the steps outlined above. . one or two years longer. Knots should be open or cut to prevent girdling of the union. All knots are checked. These heading backs will continue until late May when potting into one gallon pots will occur. Heavy frosts may lead to tissue damage. To ensure quality understock. growers in the Pacific Northwest have been able to grow nice heavy one gallon liners with well developed root systems. This enables the nursery growers to work on the understock on cold and rainy days. The seedlings are potted in November in four-inch pots and grown for one year so that good growth is obtained. In early January. This one to two inches is left until the following year in order to give the graft union some extra help and ensure a better take of the graft. all the understock for next winter's grafting is brought into the propagation houses. adequate watering and fertilization. grafting priorities are set by which understock exhibits the best root development. Rootstock Heading Back Most scions start to grow. only one to two inches of the understock will remain. Grafting onto standards is a form of top working. pest control. weed control. A well-developed root system is key for optimum growth in field planting. Rootstocks are also selected for ease of propagation and graft compatibility. Generally. Top working is a specialized method of grafting where the scion.increase tree performance including vigor and nutrient utilization. depending on the variety. When plants are prepared for potting. Cedars and Sequoias should be finished before any heavy frosts occur. five needle pines are grafted. either as a stem with single or multiple buds. is worked onto the rootstock one to six feet above the soil. and induce dwarfing. a very thorough check on all rubberbands is important. Summary Follow-up maintenance includes staking of all pendulous varieties. can result in poor graft unions and low growing percentages. These forms vary from globes to weeping to fan-shaped. Timing Most nurseries start conifer grafting in early December with Cedar and Sequoia cultivars. By mid October. At this time growers will start to cut the understock back to one-half its size. cleaning up or pruning of the understock begins in early fall. by early to mid April. nurseries may purchase one-year seedlings from established forest tree growers or produce them themselves. Most grafting is done on two-year-old understock. The grafting strips most nurseries use will start to disintegrate after four to five months. At this stage. depending on the variety.

Scion Abies alba ‘Compacta’ Abies alba ‘Pendula’ Abies alba ‘Pyramidalis’ Abies bracteata Abies concolor candicane Abies concolor ‘Compacta’ Abies concolor procumbens Abies koreana aurea Abies koreana ‘Prostrata–compacta’ Abies lasiocarpa ‘Glauca Compacta’ Abies lasiocarpa daycreek Abies magnifica shasta prostrata Abies pinsapo aurea Abies pinsapo ‘Glauca’ Abies procera aurea Abies procera ‘Glauca’ Cedrus atlantica ‘Aurea Robusta’ Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca’ Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca Pendula’ Cedrus atlantica ‘Fastigiata’ Cedrus atlantica marokko Cedrus deodara aurea Cedrus deodara densata Cedrus deodara ‘Goldstrike’ Cedrus deodara ‘Goldcone’ Cedrus deodara ‘Golden Horizon’ Cedrus deodara ‘Kashmir’ Cedrus deodara ‘Prostrata’ Cedrus deodara ‘Silver Mist’ Cedrus deodara ‘Cream Puff’ Cedrus libani ‘Beacon Hill’ Cedrus libani glauca ‘Pendula’ Cedrus libani ‘Comte de Pendula’ Cedrus libani ‘Green Prince’ Cedrus libani ‘Nana’ Cedrus libani ‘Sargentii’ Cedrus brevifolia Understock Abies grandis or Abies procera ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Cedrus deodara ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ . Listed are the rootstocks that conifer and Salix growers in the Pacific Northwest have found best for the scion materials indicated.Table 1. This list was compiled by Adera Nursery. BC (no longer in business). Sidney.

Larix eurolepis 'Varied Direction' Larix eurolepis ‘Varied Direction' . Juniperus rigida pendula Juniperus squamata 'Blue Star' . Larix laricina 'Newport Beauty' Larix laricina 'Newport Beauty' . Juniperus horizontalis ‘Wiltoni' . Juniperus procumbens nana .Cedrus brevifolia trevoron Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Gracilis’ Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Kosteri' Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Kosteri' + standards Chamaecypais obtusa 'Lycopoides' Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Lutea' .std. Juniperus squamata 'Holger' . ″ ″ Thuja occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Chamaecyparis noot katensis viridis ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Juniperus ‘Skyrocket’ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Larix decidua or Larix kaempferi ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Picea abies or Picea glauca ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ . Picea abies ‘Nidiformis’ – std.std. Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Carpet' .std.std.std. Picea abies acrocona Picea abies ‘Inversa’ Picea abies 'Little Gem' . Juniperus X ‘Medis Old Gold’ – std.std. Larix kaempferi 'Diana’ Larix kaempferi ‘Pendula’ Larix kaempferi 'Blue Dwarf' Larix kaempferi 'Blue Dwarf' .std. Chamaecyparis obtusa nana Chamaecyparis obtusa nana gracilis Chamaecyparis obtusa nana gracilis + standards Chamaecyparis pisifera filifera 'Sungold' Standard Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Stewarti' Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Ellwoodii’ Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Golden Showers' Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Columnar Blue' Chamaecyparis lawsoniana 'Van Pelt' Chamaecyparis nootkatensis ‘Pendula’ Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Green Arrow' Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Variegata' Juniperus conferta ‘Sea Green' .std.std.std.std. Larix decidua ‘Pendula’ Larix decidua ‘Pendula’ .std.

Mary's Broom' . Picea sitchensis 'Papoose' ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ .std. Picea pungens 'Iseli Fastigiata' Picea pungens ‘Nana’ Picea pungens ‘Nana’ std.std. Picea pungens glauca 'Bakeri' Picea pungens glauca globosa Picea pungens glauca globosa .41 std. purpurea Picea omorika ‘Nana’ Picea omorika ‘Nana’ . Picea abies ‘Pyramidalis’ Picea abies 'Rubra Spicata' Picea abies 'Willy Klippert' Picea breweriana Picea brachytyla Picea glauca 'Hudsonii' Picea glauca ‘Tigertail’ Picea glauca 'Little Globe' Picea glauca 'Golden Harber' Picea glauca 'Sanders Blue' Picea likiangensis var.std.std.std. Picea omorika ‘Pendula’ Picea orientalis ‘Aurea’ Picea orientalis 'Bergmann's Gem' Picea orientalis 'Bergmann's Gem' std. Picea pungens glauca 'Hoopsii' Picea pungens glauca 'Koster' Picea pungens glauca 'Moerheimii' Picea pungens glauca procumbens Picea pungens glauca procumbens . Picea pungens 'Thomsonii' Picea pungens 'Thume' Picea pungens 'Thume' .std. Picea pungens glauca pendula Picea pungens glauca 'St: Mary's Broom' Picea pungens glauca 'St.Picea abies ‘Pendula’ Picea abies ‘Pendula’ . Picea pungens glauca globosa . Picea orientalis 'Skylands' Picea pungens 'Baby Blue Eyes' Picea pungens 'Blue Mist' Picea pungens 'Fat Albert’ Picea pungens ‘Globe’ Picea pungens ‘Globe’ std.

std. Pinus mugo mughus aurea Pinus mugo mughus aurea .std. Pinus strobus ‘Pendula’ Pinus strobus 'Sea Urchin' Pinus strobus 'Sea Urchin' .std. Pinus mugo ‘Mughus Standard’ Pinus nigra ‘Hornibrookiana’ Pinus nigra ‘Compact Green’ Pinus parviflora ‘Brevifolia’ Pinus parviflora glauca Pinus parviflora 'Nasu Goyo' Pinus parviflora 'Tempelhof' Pinus parviflora 'Ogon Jenomi' Pinus parviflora variegata Pinus strobus 'Blue Shag' Pinus strobus 'Contorta’ Pinus strobus ‘Fastigiata’ Pinus strobus 'Horseford Nana' Pinus strobus 'Horseford Nana' .std. Pinus strobus 'White Mountain' Pinus strobus 'White Tip' Pinus sylvestris ‘Aurea’ Pinus sylvestris 'Beacon Hill' Pinus sylvestris 'Beacon Hill' .std. Pinus flexilus 'Vanderwulf's Pyramid' Pinus flexilus glauca pendula Pinus leucodermis ‘Compact Gem’ Pinus mugo 'Mops' Pinus mugo 'Mops' . Pinus mugo mughus prostrata Pinus mugo mughus prostrata .std. Pinus sylvestris ‘Fastigiata’ ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus strobus Pinus slyvestris Pinus strobus ″ ″ Pinus sylvestris ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus strobus & P.std. flexilus ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus slyvestris ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus strobus ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ or Pinus koraiensis ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus sylvestris ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ .Picea 'Dantsugi' Pinus aristata 'Sherwood Compact' Pinus 'Bungeana' Pinus cembra glauca Pinus cembra 'Landis' Pinus coulteri Pinus contorta ‘Spaan’s Dwarf’ Pinus densiflora ‘Pendula’ Pinus densiflora ‘Tayosho’ + std. Pinus sylvestris 'Cutty Sark’ Pinus sylvestris ‘Cutty Sark' .

std. Pinus sylvestris 'Sentinel' Pinus sylvestris viridis compacata Pinus thunbergiana 'Banshoho' Pinus thunbergiana 'Oculus Draconis' Pinus thunbergiana 'Porky' Pinus thunbergiana 'Yatsubusa' Pinus wallichiana Pinus wallichiana ‘Zemrina’ Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Fastigiata' Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Fletcheri' Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Glauca’ Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Graceful Grace' Pseudotsuga menziesii ‘Pendula’ Sequoia sempervirens ‘Glauca’ Sequoia sempervirens ‘Adpressa’ Sequoiadendron giganteum glauca Sequoiadendron giganteum ‘Pendulum’ Sequoiadendron giganteum variegatum Thuja occidentalis 'Danica' .31 std.std.std.41 std.std. Pinus sylvestris 'Mitsch weeping' . Pinus sylvestris ‘Nana’ .std. Pinus sylvestris ‘Nana’ Pinus sylvestris ‘Nana’ . Salix hakura 'Nishiki' .41 std. Salix fargesii Salix hakura 'Nishiki' . Salix hakura 'Nishiki' . Thuja occidentalis 'Golden Globe' std.std. Salix caprea 'Pendula' . occidentalis ‘Smaragd’ or ‘Pyramidalis’ ″ “ ″ ″ “ ″ ″ “ ″ Tsuga heterophylla 'Green Spreader' Tsuga mertensiana glauca Salix caprea 'Pendula' . Thuia occidentalis -Hetz Midget. Salix magnifica Tsuga heterophylla Tsuga heterophylla Salix smithiana ″ ″ “ “ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ . Thuia plicata 'Filiformis' std.std. Pinus sylvestris repens Pinus sylvestris repens .std. ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus sylvestris ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ Pinus strobus Pinus strobus Pseudotsuga menziesi ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ ″ “ “ Sequoia sempervirens Sequoia sempervirens Sequoiadendron giganteum Sequoiadendron giganteum Sequoiadendron giganteum T.Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper' .2411 std.

2411 std.Salix purpurea ‘Nana’ .std. Salix purpurea ‘Nana’ . ″ ″ ″ ″ .