Smaller is Better

Smaller BetterA rootstock supplier was having a 50% off sale to clear out last year’s stock, so I ordered some Antonovka apple rootstocks, a hardy Siberian seedling.  I ordered a bundle of 3/8″ caliper and a bundle of 1/2″ caliper, and planted then in the two rows you see above, with the 1/2″ on the left and the 3/8″ on the right.

The 3/8″ has about a 80% success rate, while the 1/2″ has about a 80% failure rate.  They are the same variety from the same supplier grown in the same place with the same irrigation; yet the smaller stock transplanted much better.

I don’t begrudge the nursery for this, as they warned it’s awfully late in the season the they cannot guarantee the stock.  But it is a lesson for when you are picking out a tree at a nursery and automatically gravitate to the largest tree you can find; often its the smaller ones that will grow the best.

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