South Dakota Agricultural College Experiment Station, Bulletin 87, pp. 54-57 (June, 1904)

N. E. Hansen, Horticulturist

*Iowa Experiment Station, Bulletin No. 22, p. 853. J. L. Budd, N. E. Hansen.

So far as the writer has found any record, the first experiments in in this line were begun at the Iowa Experiment Station in the winter of 1892-3.*

The Bokhara peach was root-grafted on Sand Cherry. The method was side-grafting in a slit at the collar on whole roots, using a wedge-shaped scion. Of fifty-six grafts but one grew. The height attained the first season was ten inches.

It is well known to nurserymen that owing to the hard wood grafting the peach is not nearly so successful as budding. Hence the commercial propagation of the peach is by budding rather than by grafting. In subsequent experiments at the South Dakota Station budding has been practiced much more than grafting.

In August, 1897, under the directions sent by the present writer while on a tour of agricultural exploration in Russia for the United States Department of Agriculture, buds of Bokhara No. 3 peach were ordered from a nursery at Atlantic, Iowa, and inserted in Sand Cherry stocks. It was thought the Sand Cherry would dwarf the peach top sufficiently to permit the trees being bent down readily for winter protection. The buds made a strong growth in 1898. These shoots were laid down and covered with earth in the winter of 1898-9, which will be long remembered for its severity. In spite of the winter protection, with manure over the earth, the peach top killed back to within two or three buds of the point of union. In 1899 these surviving buds made a vigorous growth and were laid down and covered with a heavy mulch of bean vines with earth over the mulch. These shoots likewise killed back during the winter of 1899-1900 to within a few buds of the point of union. To prevent further mishaps some of the trees were potted in tubs and boxes, and have since been wintered in cellar. A few were left outside and made a strong growth in 1900 and in the fall were left standing surrounded by wire netting and protected by a pile of coarse stable manure outside of the netting. These trees budded out early the spring of 1901, but having been girdled by mice which had crawled through a hole in the netting, were dug up and destroyed. Since then the experiments have been wholly with peach trees grown in tubs and boxes.

At the present writing it appears that the Western Sand Cherry is well worth trial as a peach stock further south, where such heavy winter protection need not be given. It is certain that the peach on Sand Cherry is dwarfed in size in dry seasons, especially when headed back as they should be; that the peach will fruit early on this stock; also that the fruit is fully up to standard in size and quality. The Sand Cherry is especially recommended to those who grow peaches for orchard house purposes, and there may be a field for dwarf peaches in the peach-growing regions of the south for the home garden, especially on city lots.

*Garden and Forest, November 4, 1896, p. 448.

In 1896 Professor E. S. Goff of the Wisconsin Experiment Station reported as follows on the Sand Cherry as a dwarf stock for the peach:*

"The chief hope for peach growing in climates where the flower buds are habitually killed in winter, lies in securing a stock that will dwarf the tree sufficiently to render winter protection practicable. For some years past I have been endeavoring to find such a stock. My first hope lay in the dwarf flowering almond, Prunus Japonica(?), but with this I failed to secure a union with buds of the peach. I would not say that the peach cannot be successfully budded on this stock, but repeated efforts here in Wisconsin resulted in failure. I inserted a total of several hundred buds in four different trees without securing a union in a single instance. Budding in our dry and warm summer weather is much more difficult than in the eastern states, and it is possible that the peach may be budded on the flowering almond in a climate more favorable for budding.

"I next tried a form of the Sand Cherry grown from pits procured in western Iowa. This shrub is quite dwarf, attaining a height of only two or three feet. Professor Bailey pronounces it Prunus Besseyi, the same species to which the so-called Improved Dwarf Rocky Mountain Cherry belongs. With this stock I have been more successful. I inserted a few buds in it in 1893, and while I had less expectation of success than with the flowering almond, I succeeded much better. The peach grew vigorously on this stock, and by the second year had attained a height of about five feet. The past season, although the best growing season we have had for some years, the peach trees on this stock have scarcely increased in height. They have branched rather thickly, and at present are well filled with flower buds, from which I infer that they will probably not grow larger than they now are. At this height the trees are readily protected by digging away sufficient earth from the roots, so that the trunk may be bent down readily, when the whole is covered with earth. The trees blossomed the past spring and set some fruit, though the fruit failed to mature.

"I am also trying Prunus subcordata and a dwarf form of P. maritima, but with what success remains to be seen."

CybeRose Note: According to the Journal d'Horticulture Pratique de la Belgique, 10(6):186 (August, 1852): "Bretonneau, pour obtenir des pêchers nains, les greffe sur prunus pumila (Lin.), appelé en France Ragouminier, qui se multiplie facilement par boutures." [Bretonneau, to obtain dwarf peaches, grafted on Prunus pumila (Lin.), called Ragouminier in France, which is easily propagated by cuttings.]

Bretonneau's work was previously described by Pépin in Nouveaux sujets pour recevoir les greffes d'arbres fruitiers. Revue Horticole, (Ser. 3) 1: 210-212 (June, 1847)