PACIFIC SOUTHWEST: The above picture is of a field of dormant Freedom rootstock in Shafter, CA. Due to its high vigor and yielding capabilities across many soil types within California, Freedom is a very popular grapevine rootstock. This is a field of rootstock supply where it is wildly grown so that it can later produce cuttings used to root individual grapevines in the future.
If you are new at planting permanent crops or are switching nurseries from one you’ve used in the past, it is important to ask specific questions such as:
- Where does your rootstock come from?
- Where does the parent material for grafting come from?
- What are your sanitation practices and what is your guarantee policy?
The answers to these questions can be used to justify transplant prices and quality, as the price is not always an indicator of quality. If the price is high there should be some justification and if the price is low, there may be a catch – and that’s important to know about.
Before making a large purchase from a new nursery, I encourage a field visit or nursery tour if within driving distance. This way you can get firsthand experience with the routine operations and get some quality face-to-face time with the people behind the operation.
When planting a permanent crop such as vines or trees, you are creating a long-term marriage between you, the field and the nursery, so extra steps and homework in the beginning can make for a much better and profitable future.
All photos are the property of Syngenta unless otherwise noted.
Reporting from Shafter, CA