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Prunus Cultivar: Mahaleb

Cultivar Name: Mahaleb
Type Cherry Rootstock
Patent Not Patented
Species Prunus mahaleb
Usage Rootstock
Seed Available Seed available from Foundation Plant Services
Scion Vigor Influence Slightly dwarfing
Soil Adaptation Intolerant of wet heavy soils but adapts well to droughty and calcareous soils.
Climatic Adaptation More drought tolerant than Mazzard.
Resistance Traits Resists bacerial canker. moderately resistant to crown gall and root-lesion nematode, shows buckskin infection quickly. Some root-knot nematode susceptibility. Very susceptible to Phytophthora crown and root rot and stem pitting. Susceptible to Oak root fungus.
Graft Compatibility Incompatibility of some sweet cherry cultivars (Chelan and Tieton) can be a problem with Mahaleb as this condition has been detected up to six years after planting.
Propagation Notes seed, FPS Recommended Method: 24-36 hour soak in water, 60 day stratification
Propagation Method Seed or Vegetative
Anchorage Excellent
Suckering High
Description Standard rootstock for sour cherries. Slightly dwarfing rootstock for sweet cherries. Best fir sweet cherries on lighter soils. Hardier than Mazzard and more tolerant of drought and sandy soils, but shorter lived. Requires well drained soil. Hard to grow in areas of high rainfall. Widely adaptable. Makes a good bird cherry. hardy to Zone 4. A traditional seedling cherry rootstock which produces a large standard cherry tree, with a mature height of 16ft - 20ft. It is perfect for traditional orchards, although it is quite slow-growing and the large trees might be difficult to harvest from. Mahaleb is suitable for a wide range of soil conditions. If you have drought conditions this is the best cherry rootstock. Conversely, if you have heavy wet soils it is one of the worst. In the Northwest, Mahaleb rootstocks are generally used only in light, sandy-loam soils as it readily dies out in gullies and other low lying areas where water collects. It also has the advantage of producing a slightly smaller tree than the Mazzard rootstock and is generally more disease resistant and has slightly better cold-hardiness. Mahaleb is attractive to gophers; control measures must be pursued with diligence.