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Influence Of The Stocks On The Cion

Up to the present, the growing of grafted grapes has been carried on
with little thought of the mutual influence of stock and cion; grapes
have been grafted only to secure vines resistant to phylloxera. Yet
there can be no doubt that stock and cion react on one another, and
that any variety of grapes is influenced for better or worse in
characters of vine and fruit by the stock upon which it is grafted. A
plant is a delicate mechanism, easily thrown out of gear, and all
plants, the grape not the least, are more or less changed in the
adjustments of stock and cion. One could fill a large volume on the
supposed reciprocal influence of stock and cion in fruits. Space
suffices, here, however, to mention only those proved and those having
to do with the influence of the stock on the cion when the grape is

Influence of stocks on European grapes summarized.

Common experience in Europe and California indicates that varieties of
Vinifera grapes grafted on resistant stocks which are perfectly
adapted to soil and climate produce not only larger crops but sweeter
or sourer grapes; that the crop ripens earlier or later; that the vine
is often more vigorous; and that there are some minor differences
depending on the stock used. Wine-makers assert that the character of
their product may be affected for better or worse by the stock. Often
vines are so improved by grafting that the extra expense of the
operation and of the stock is paid for; although, to be sure, about as
often the effects are deleterious. The successes and failures of
vineyards on resistant stocks make plain that the vine-grower must
study the many problems which stocks present and exercise utmost
intelligence in the selection of the proper stock.

Influence of stocks on American grapes.

No doubt American species of grapes may be as profoundly modified by
stocks as the European species, but there is but little evidence on
this phase of grape-growing to be drawn from the experience of
vineyardists. One rather conclusive experiment, however, shows that
American grapes may be improved by growing them on stocks which give
them better adaptations to their environment. The experiment was tried
in the Chautauqua grape-belt in western New York by the New York
Agricultural Experiment Station. The test was carried on for eleven
years, during which time many interesting possibilities in grafting
grapes in this region came to light. It was proved that the stock
materially affects the vigor and productiveness of the vine and the
quality of the grapes. The following brief account is taken from
Bulletin No. 355 of the New York Station:

In this experiment a number of varieties were grafted on St. George,
Riparia Gloire and Clevener stocks, and a fourth group on their own
roots. The varieties grafted were: Agawam, Barry, Brighton, Brilliant,
Campbell Early, Catawba, Concord, Delaware, Goff, Herbert, Iona,
Jefferson, Lindley, Mills, Niagara, Regal, Vergennes, Winchell and
Worden. The planting plan and all of the vineyard operations were
those common in commercial vineyards.

Yearly accounts of the vineyard show that the vines passed through
many vicissitudes. The experiment was started in 1902 when St. George
and Riparia Gloire stocks from California were set and grafted in the
field. Many of these died the first year. The winter of 1903-04 was
unusually severe, and many more vines were either killed or so
severely injured that they died during the next two years. The vines
on St. George, a very deep-rooting grape, withstood the cold best.
Fidia, the grape root-worm, was found in the vineyards early in the
life of the vines and did much damage in some years. In the years of
1907 and 1909 the crops were ruined by hail.

But despite these serious setbacks it was evident throughout the
experiment that the grafted grapes made better vines and were more
productive than those on their own roots. As an example of the
differences in yield, a summary of the data for 1911 may be given. In
this year, an average of all the varieties on own roots yielded at the
rate of 4.39 tons to the acre; on St. George, 5.36 tons; on Gloire,
5.32 tons; on Clevener, 5.62 tons. The crops on the grafted vines
were increased through the setting of more bunches and the development
of larger bunches and berries.

The grapes on the vines grafted on Gloire and Clevener ripened a few
days earlier than those on their own roots, while with St. George a
few varieties were retarded in ripening. Changing the time of maturity
may be very important in grape regions where there is danger of early
frost to late-ripening sorts, and where it is often desirable to
retard the harvest time of early grapes.

In the behavior of the vines, the results correspond closely with
those given for yields. In the growth ratings of varieties on
different stocks, the varieties on their own roots were rated in vigor
at 40; on St. George, at 63.2; on Gloire, at 65.2; on Clevener, at
67.9. There is no way of deciding how much the thrift of the vines
depends on adaptability to soil, and how much on other factors. Since
all of the varieties were more productive and vigorous on grafted
vines than on their own roots it may be said that a high degree of
congeniality exists between the stocks and varieties under test.

The experiment suggests that it would be profitable to grow fancy
grapes of American species on grafted vines, and that it is well
within the bounds of possibility that main-crop grapes can be grafted
profitably. In the general tuning-up of agriculture now in progress,
it may be expected that soon American as well as European varieties of
grapes will be grown under some conditions and for some purposes on
roots other than their own.

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