In this blog we share with you some historical facts on origin of one of the oldest but still a most preferred pear rootstock by growers in the Western Canada.
In search of a fireblight resistant pear tree around the world Professor F. C. Reimer of Oregon State University made most worthwhile visit to Mr. Benjamin Buckman of Farmingdale, Illinois in 1915. Professor Reimer collected scionwood from Buckman's tree and named the clone 'Old Home.' Subsequent testing showed that not only was 'Old Home' blight- resistant, but the frame developed strong wide-angled branches. This clone was an excellent compatibility bridge for quince, and was also resistant to pear decline. While walking around Buckman's farm Reimer noticed a second blight-free pear tree and again collected some scion wood to take back with him. He later named the second clone 'Farmingdale.' He continued research and breeding with these trees and learned that crosses of 'Old Home' x 'Farmingdale' were also blight-resistant. Mr. Brooks and Drs. Melvin Westwood and Porter Lombard of Oregon State University evaluated more than 500 seedlings from this cross. In the late 1980's Mr. Brooks trademarked the name 'OHxF' Series (Brooks Sellections)®.
Picture 1: F. C. Reimer, Professor Emeritus of Oregon State University in 1967 with the original 'Old Home' tree. Reimer (Acknowledgements: American Society for Horticultural Science).
OHxF 87™ makes a tree slightly smaller (semi dwarf) than Bartlett on seedling root. OHxF 87™ is one of the best producing rootstocks of the OHxF series, compatible with most pear varieties and known for their tolerance to blight and decline. OHxF 87 should be planted 6-8′ between trees within a row. It gives early vigor and is more precocious that OHxF 97. It is also best when paired with a vigorous variety such as Anjou. It is not good for interplanting with less vigorous trees due to competition for light.
Picture 2: Graphical illustration of the overall influence on tree size* by various rootstock combinations compared to a Pyrus pear seedling (Acknowledgements: Elkins, Bell, Einhorn, 2012, J. Amer. Pomol. Soc. 66(3):153-163)
At FloraMaxx we are propagating CFIA certified virus indexed OHFx87 starter plants. If you are interested in using OHxF87 as your new pear rootstock, or would like to learn more, please don't hesitate to contact us. We speak plant!