Bud.9 Rootstock

 

Everything about the tree is red; the flower buds are red, the leaves have a reddish tint, the wood is red, and the apples are red (inside and out).  It is only suitable that this dwarfing rootstock was developed in the former Soviet Union by the late Dr. Budagovski at the College of Horticulture in Michurinsk.  It is a cross between Malling 8 and Red Standard.  I discovered these red attributes after a graft failed and I allowed the rootstock to grow out and fruit.  The limbs are long and spindly, and the apples weren’t bad; rather small and a bit tart, would make good pies and cider, as well as interesting jelly.  The fall foilage gives us a bit of color in an otherwise bland Southern California autumn, although they don’t turn until late December, so can you call that fall?

But where the tree is most valued is as a rootstock.  It is very dwarfing, making a tree about 10′ tall.  It is hardy down to 50 below zero (not that we care about that), and starts producing apples the second year.  It bears heavy crops after that, making it an up and coming favorite for high-density training systems like tall spindle. 

The shallow, tender roots require staking for the life of the tree, and it is suceptible to drought.  Our trees produce well with it, but it does have an odd habit of wanting to resist topworking where you graft a new variety onto a stump of a 2-3 year old tree.  The graft just sits there through the spring, tries to leaf out, and dies.  Meanwhile, the tree next to it grafted last year grows fine, as does the 1-year old rootstock planted in a pot. 

If you have room for a few trees or want an ornamental in the front yard, it is worth considering a Bud. 9   

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