Revving up the Mustang®: A New Prunus Rootstock
It is a common practice around the world for fruit trees to be made of two parts that have been joined together by an ancient technique called “grafting.” The lower part, called the rootstock are selected and bred for cold and drought tolerance, soil adaptability and rooting capability, disease resistance, growth habit, and fruit yield efficiency. The top part is called the scion and is the part of the plant what we typically see when looking at a tree. It is the flowering and fruiting part of the grafted plant and is important for traits such as taste, fruit size and colour. These two parts need to be closely related for grafting to work. The scion has been the main interest to breeders for developing and improving varieties as it has more direct and observable impacts on fruit qualities. However, recently the rootstocks have been given more attention as their traits give them more adaptability and survivability, which is becoming increasingly important with issues such as climate change and the decline of arable land pressuring our food system.
Breeding new varieties the traditional way through many generations of cross-pollinating takes time. Over 20 years, breeders at Jefferies Nurseries Ltd., Canada have been working on a rootstock that is compatible with many Prunus, including fruiting and ornamental plums, apricots, and potentially peach. Mustang ® is the result of that hard work. It is a complex Prunus hybrid(Prunus x “Jefchum”) that is cold hardy through Canadian zones 2-6 and is certified virus-free out of tissue culture. It has minimal basal and understock suckering and a fibrous root system providing strong anchorage, which are qualities that have been improved compared to the standard rootstocks P. americana and P. besseyi.
FloraMaxx Technologies Ltd. is a licensed propagator of certified virus-free tissue cultured Mustang® plants. Each plant comes in 2.5" x2.5" x3.25" plug.
If you wish to give this widely-graftable rootstock a try, please contact us for more information via our Contact page.