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Rootstock Evaluation - A Midwest Perspective. February 16, 2012 2012 TWGGA Annual Conference R. Keith Striegler Jackie Harris. Why Use Rootstocks. Resistance or tolerance to biotic soil stress Soil Pests Phylloxera Nematodes Grape Root Borer Viruses – ex. nepoviruses Soil Fungi

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rootstock evaluation a midwest perspective

Rootstock Evaluation - A Midwest Perspective

February 16, 2012

2012 TWGGA Annual Conference

R. Keith Striegler

Jackie Harris

why use rootstocks
Why Use Rootstocks
  • Resistance or tolerance to biotic soil stress
    • Soil Pests
      • Phylloxera
      • Nematodes
      • Grape Root Borer
    • Viruses – ex. nepoviruses
    • Soil Fungi
    • Pierce’s Disease
  • Resistance or tolerance to abiotic soil stress
    • Soil physical and chemical characteristics
    • Soil moisture content and availability
  • Improved viticultural utility
biotic stress phylloxera
Biotic Stress: Phylloxera
  • In 1860’s phylloxera was responsible for the devastation of vineyards in France
  • Phylloxera is still responsible for vine decline and death on susceptible root systems
  • It is present throughout the majority of the United States and the world where grape production is present
  • Grafting V. vinifera to American rootstocks has proven to be the best solution to the phylloxera problem

Photos courtesy of

Dr. Donn Johnson; U-AR


Photo courtesy of

Dr. Donn Johnson; U-AR

biotic stress nematodes
Biotic Stress: Nematodes

Direct Feeding

Root knot – Meloidogyne spp.

Ring – Cricionemella spp.

Lesion – Pratylenchus spp.

Citrus - Tylenchulus sp.



Root lesion

Root knot



biotic stress nematodes1
Biotic Stress: Nematodes
  • Vector of Viruses
    • Dagger – Xiphinema spp.
      • Xiphinema index
        • Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV)
      • Xiphinema americanum
        • Tomato ring spot virus (ToRSV)
        • Tobacco ring spot virus (TRSV)
        • Arabis mosaic virus (ArMV)
        • Peach rosette mosaic virus (PRMV)
biotic stresses diseases
Biotic Stresses: Diseases

Soil Fungi

Cotton Root Rot

Phytophthora Root Rot

Armillaria Root Rot (Oak Root Fungus)


Crown Gall

Pierce’s Disease

abiotic stresses
Abiotic Stresses

High pH (calcareous soils)

Low pH

Soil mineral content (Mg++)

Soil moisture conditions (drought prone or water logged soils)

High salinity content

enhanced viticultural performance
Enhanced Viticultural Performance

Improved fruit composition

Achieve vine balance by controlling crop size

Advance fruit ripening period

Fruit set manipulation

interpretation of rootstock literature
Interpretation of Rootstock Literature
  • Must be cautious in interpretation of rootstock information
  • Most of the information comes from France, South Africa, Australia, California
  • Conditions under which rootstock experiments were conducted will influence results
    • France – non irrigated and control of pruning and cropping levels by legislation
    • South Africa – non irrigated
    • Australia and California – irrigated
  • Regional or local information is best
choosing a rootstock
Choosing a rootstock
  • Variables to consider when selecting a rootstock
    • Pests
    • Soil
    • Past history of the site
    • Knowledge of conditions in which the rootstocks are adapted to
    • Grower management preferences
rootstock parentage
Rootstock Parentage

Rootstocks may be broadly described in terms of their parentage (species and crosses between them)

However, each rootstock has horticultural differences and characteristics

Most common rootstocks used include:




v rupestris
V. rupestris
  • Deep rooting habit with narrow root angle
    • Able to grow on hillsides and well drained sites
    • Native habitat is stony soil
    • Requires deep soil without impermeable layers
    • Early budburst
    • Long vegetative cycle with late fruit ripening
    • Excellent phylloxera resistance
  • St. George
    • Historically been used in dry farming situations in California
v riparia
V. riparia
  • Shallow root systems with wide root angle
  • Performs best in cool, fertile, and deep soils
  • Performs poorly in calcareous, dry, unfertile, or sandy soils
  • Well adapted to cold temperatures
  • Produces good crop that ripens early
  • Riparia Gloire
    • One of the first rootstocks used after the phylloxera outbreak in Europe
v berlandieri
V. berlandieri

Native to limestone hills of Texas

Produces deep root system

Adapted to calcareous soils

Drought tolerant

Rare in fertile soils

Excellent phylloxera resistance

Very difficult to root and propagate

v riparia x v rupestris
V. riparia x V. rupestris

Includes some of the most widely planted rootstocks

Prefer deep and fertile soils

Intolerant of calcareous soils

Not well adapted to drought stress

Low to moderate vine size

High phylloxera resistance

3309C, 101-14 Mgt, Schwarzmann

v berlandieri x v riparia
V. berlandieri x V. riparia
  • V. berlandieri is highly adapted to calcareous soils and high pH soils, but does not root well
  • When crossed with V. riparia:
    • Roots well
    • Adaptable to calcareous soils
    • Adaptation to cool regions due to shorter vegetative cycle
    • Phylloxera resistant
    • Low to moderate in vine size
  • 5C, 5BB, SO4, 420A
v berlandieri x v rupestris
V. berlandieri x V. rupestris

Both species adapted to drought stress

Large vine size with more laterals and bushier growth habit

Adaptability to deep and well drained soils

Tolerant of calcareous soils

Phylloxera resistance

Tolerance of drought conditions

110R, 1103P, 140Ru

vitis x champinii
Vitis x champinii
  • Provides rootstocks resistant to:
    • Root-knot nematodes
    • Drought
    • Harsh conditions
    • Infertile soils
  • Medium phylloxera resistance
  • Overly vigorous when it receives excessive water and nutrients
  • High uptake of potassium from the soil solution
  • Freedom (V. champinii with V. riparia, V. labrusca, V. vinifera, and V. solonis)
  • Ramsey, Dog Ridge
new complex nematode resistant rootstocks from usda and university of california
New Complex Nematode Resistant Rootstocks from USDA and University of California
  • Peter Cousins (released 2010) – Root knot nematode resistance
    • Matador (101-14 Mgt x (V. mustangensis x V. rupestris)
    • Minotaur (101-14 Mgt x (V. mustangensis x V. rupestris)
    • Kingfisher (V. riparia x (V. x champinii x V. rufotomentosa)
  • Andrew Walker (released 2008) – Broad nematode resistance
    • UCD GRN-1 (V. rupestris x Muscadinia rotundifolia)
    • UCD GRN-2 (V. rufotomentosa x Dog Ridge)
    • UCD GRN-3 (V. rufotomentosa x Dog Ridge x V. monticola)
    • UCD GRN-4 (sibling of GRN-3)
    • UCD-GRN-5 (Ramsey x V. champinii x V. monticola)
  • Michael McKenry (released 2001) – Broad nematode resistance
    • RS-3 (Ramsey x Schwarzmann)
    • RS-9 (Ramsey x Schwarzmann)
selecting an appropriate rootstock hypothetical example
Selecting an Appropriate Rootstock: Hypothetical Example
  • Parameters
    • Planting a new vineyard of ‘Tempranillo’ near Fredericksburg, TX
    • Deep sandy clay soil; pH 7.5; Organic Matter <1.0%; High Ca and low Mg soil
    • Trellis/Training system: Bilateral Mid-wire Cordon
    • Drip irrigated but water supply is limited
    • Virgin grape site, nematode population = ND
selecting an appropriate rootstock hypothetical example1
Selecting an Appropriate Rootstock: Hypothetical Example
  • Considerations
    • Phylloxera & CRR resistance is important
    • Soil chemistry is slightly alkaline and calcareous
    • Moderate vine size desirable
      • Moderately high yielding scion with medium clusters and moderate scion vigor (own rooted)
    • Drought tolerance required
  • Rootstocks with appropriate attributes
    • V. berlandieri x riparia hybrids; V. berlandieri Xrupestris hybrids
    • 5BB, 5C, SO4; 1103P,
need for rootstock evaluation in the ozark mountain region
Need for Rootstock Evaluation in the Ozark Mountain Region
  • Increased planting of interspecific hybrid cultivars with high levels of Vitis vinifera parentage such as Chardonel, Chambourcin, and Traminette.
    • Failure of own-rooted hybrid vines with high populations of phylloxera in VA.
    • Failure of own-rooted hybrid vines due to multiple stresses in IL and MO.
  • Potential manipulation of fruit composition by rootstock selection.
    • Rootstocks with champinii parentage can have high K+ uptake and must pH.
  • Little information available on performance of grafted hybrid cultivars.
previous rootstock studies
Previous Rootstock Studies
  • Chardonel – Fayetteville, AR
  • Cabernet Franc – Altus, AR
  • Sunbelt – Fayetteville, AR
  • Chambourcin – Fayetteville, AR
  • Vignoles – Fayetteville, AR
  • Location: Arkansas Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AAREC) in Fayetteville, AR
  • Treatments: Own rooted Chardonel and Chardonel grafted onto Cynthiana/Norton, Freedom, 5BB, and 110R
  • Soil type: Captina silt loam
  • Training/Trellis system: VSP
  • Drip irrigated
  • Length of study: 1997-2000
  • Greatest benefit of rootstock use was increase in yield
  • Grapes grafted to 110R had significantly lower pH than own rooted vines
  • Wines made from 110R had the lowest juice and wine pH and lowest wine potassium
cabernet franc
Cabernet Franc
  • Location: Altus, AR
  • Treatments: Cabernet Franc grafted onto 3309C (control), 110R, 44-53, and Freedom
  • Soil type: Linkers fine sandy loam; pH 6.2
  • Training/Trellis system: cane pruned 4-Arm Kniffen
  • Non-irrigated
  • Length of Study: 2000-2002
cabernet franc1
Cabernet Franc
  • Few statistically significant differences between rootstocks were observed during the three year study period
  • Pruning weights were highest for vines grafted to 110R and Freedom; growth of vines grafted to the latter may benefit from canopy division
  • Fruit from vines grafted to Freedom were of higher pH, but equivalent ° Brix and T.A. when compared to the other rootstocks

Note: vines grafted to 3309C suffered winter injury during the winter of 2000, likely due to severe moisture stress in the fall of the same year

  • Location: AAREC, Fayetteville, AR
  • Treatments: Own rooted Sunbelt and Sunbelt grafted onto 3309C, 1103P, and Extra [(V. lincecumii Big Berry) x (V. labrusca x V. vinifera (Triumph)]
  • Soil type: Captina Silt Loam
  • Training/Trellis system: High Bilateral Cordon (’00-’01); Geneva Double Curtain (’04-’05)
  • Drip irrigated
  • Length of study: 2000-2005
  • Vines trained to High Bilateral Cordon were unbalanced; conversion to GDC in ’02 and ’03 improved vine balance while maintaining adequate fruit quality in the ’04 and ’05 seasons.
  • In 2005, vines grafted to 3309C produced the greatest yield but low pruning weight and hence the highest Ravaz Index.
  • Few statistically significant differences of practical importance were observed between own-rooted and grafted vines. Under the conditions of this study, grafting Sunbelt to Extra, 1103P, and 3309C appeared to be of marginal benefit.
  • Location: AAREC in Fayetteville, AR
  • Treatments: Own-rooted Chambourcin, and Chambourcin grafted to 3309 C, 5BB, 1103 P, 44-53, and Freedom
  • Soil type: Captina silt loam
  • Training/Trellis system: Geneva Double Curtain
  • Drip irrigated
  • Length of study: 2002-2006
  • The choice of rootstock had limited impact on yield. Yield was lowest for 44-53, but all treatments produced very high yields.
  • Cluster and berry weight were reduced by use of 44-53 rootstock.
  • Rootstock selection had limited influence on fruit composition. 44-53 displayed greater fruit maturity than own-rooted vines.
  • Must color was not affected by rootstock treatment.
  • Location: AAREC in Fayetteville, AR
  • Treatments: Own-rooted Vignoles and Vignoles grafted to 3309 C, 5BB, and Freedom
  • Soil type: Captina silt loam
  • Training/Trellis system: Geneva Double Curtain
  • Drip irrigated
  • Length of study: 2002-2006
  • Almost no statistically and viticulturally significant differences were observed between own-rooted and grafted Vignoles vines for the parameters measured during this study.
  • Future studies are warranted to determine if grafting has other or longer-term benefits.
  • Comment: the resistance of Vignoles to phylloxera and nematodes is not well documented. Like many French-American hybrids, it’s long-term health and productivity may be preserved by grafting to resistant rootstocks.
limitations of these studies
Limitations of these studies
  • Short term experiments
  • For most experiments, a limited number of rootstocks were used
  • No enological evaluations with the exception of the Chardonel study
current rootstock research in the ozark mountain region
Current Rootstock Research in the Ozark Mountain Region

White Varieties


Augusta, MO

Ste. Genevieve, MO

Purdy, MO


Rocheport, MO


Ste. Genevieve, MO

St. James, MO

Most studies included in Jackie Harris “Thesis Research entitled “Effect of Rootstock on Mineral Nutrition, Productivity, Fruit Composition, and Vegetative Growth of Selected Wine Grape Cultivars in Missouri” to be completed in summer 2012.

Red Varieties

  • Chambourcin
    • Hindsville, AR
    • Mt. Vernon, MO
  • Norton
    • St. James, MO
  • Cabernet Franc
    • Purdy, MO
  • Based on research from Magoon and Magness (1938), Mortensen and Randolf (1940), and Loomis (1952)
    • Recommended Champanel, Dog Ridge, and Ramsey (Salt Creek)
  • Lipe, W.N. and R.L. Perry. 1988.
    • Couderc 1613, Dog Ridge, and own-rooted treatments were tested.
  • In general main problems addressed were Cotton Root Rot, phylloxera, and nematodes. Some emphasis on viticulture performance
  • Recommendations for newer rootstocks based on information from other regions.
  • Continued emphasis on Cotton Root Rot, phylloxera, and viticulture performance.
  • Evaluation of rootstocks for their ability to influence the tolerance of the scion to PD has begun.
  • Ungrafted Rootstock PD Study
    • Most Tolerant: Dog Ridge, Ramsey, and Champanel
    • Moderately Susceptible: 1103P, 5C, 110R, and SO4
    • Most Susceptible: Harmony, Freedom, 1616C, 1613C, and 5BB
  • Major emphasis on rootstock/scion combination response to Pierce’s Disease and viticulture performance
    • 2008 Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon
      • Uvalde, Stonewall
    • 2011 Sangiovese Rootstock Trial
      • Real County, Galespi County
    • 2011 Blanc du Bois Rootstock Trial
      • Austin County
    • 2011 Tempranillo Rootstock Trial
      • Lubbock
protection of graft unions from low temperature injury
Protection of Graft Unions from Low Temperature Injury

Mounding or hilling of soil to cover graft union in fall

Soil conducts heat from the Earth which insulates covered portion of trunk

When low temperatures injure trunks, cordons, etc.; vines can be retrained from shoots arising from covered portion of trunk above graft union

Uncover in spring to avoid scion rooting

Avoid mechanical damage

procedure for protecting graft unions
Procedure for Protecting Graft Unions

Cultivate row middles immediately after harvest and first rain

Plough or throw soil to the trunks of vines (soil needs to be ≥6” above graft union)

Follow up by hand to insure mounding is complete (for young vines, more hand work required to avoid mechanical damage)

Plant cover crop

Mow cover crop in early spring before first frost hazard

Kill cover crop with cultivation or herbicide

Uncover graft union

sources of information
Sources of Information
  • Rootstocks for Grape-Vines (1983) by D.P. Pongracz
    • May be out of print
  • Grapevine Rootstocks: Current Use, Research, and Application. Proceedings of the 2005 Rootstock Symposium
  • Winegrape Varieties in California
  • UC Integrated Viticulture Online
  • Rootstock Seminar: A Worldwide Perspective (1992)
  • Grapevine Rootstock: Direction and Management for South Australian Vineyards (2007) by Nick Dry
  • Using Grapevine Rootstocks: The Australian Perspective (1994) by Peter May
    • Winetitles
  • Funding sources: Missouri Wine and Grape Board, University of Missouri Cooperative Extension, Missouri Grape Growers Association (scholarship), and ASEV-ES (Student Scholarship)
  • In kind support provided by Vintage Nurseries, Double A Vineyards, Jim’s Supply Company Inc., and Plantra Inc.
  • Research projects done in collaboration with Justin R. Morris, Gary Main, Renee Threlfell with the University of Arkansas
  • Technical Assistance provided by Eli Bergmeier and Satisha Jogaiah
  • Photo credits: Donn T. Johnson, University of Arkansas