Winegrowers Supplies  -  Rootstocks for Grafted Vines

The main rootstocks used for grafting in Germany and Luxembourg are SO4 and Binova, 5C, 5BB and 125AA. These are crosses between two native American vines (Vitis berlandieri x Vitis riparia) and thus have the highest resistance to phylloxera. Published information on these rootstocks is generally incomplete and occasionally contradictory, so I have compiled data from various sources (German Federal Office for Varieties; Taschenbuch der Rebsorten; Geisenheim publications, French publications etc.):-

These rootstocks are suitable for soils with pH between 6.0 and 7.5. Outside this range it would be beneficial (though not essential) to adjust the pH. In my experience SO4 performs adequately in acidic red sandstone at pH 5.2 and also in almost solid chalk at pH 8.3 (about 20% 'active' limestone).

Choosing a rootstock, for the variety you wish to grow, depends on your soil, on the training system / plant spacing, the strength of growth of the variety and its sensitivity in flowering, on how well it ripens its wood and its resistance to winter-frost, on the susceptibility to fungal diseases and the time of ripening. Some of the points for consideration are :-
1. A training system with 1000 vines per acre (which is wide planting by European standards) needs at least an average (Gravesac) or more vigorous rootstock (SO4, 5C).
2. Sensitive (weak) flowering varieties (Siegerrebe, Gewürztraminer etc) should not be on 5BB or 125AA.
3. Naturally very strong growing varieties (Huxelrebe, Regner, Auxerrois, Dornfelder) should be on a vigorous rootstock (SO4, 5C).
4. Weak-growing but strong flowering varieties (Seyval, Senator) benefit from a very vigorous rootstock (5BB) in order to produce sufficient leaf-wall for optimum flowering and ripening.
5. Müller-Thurgau, Huxelrebe, Reichensteiner, which have only moderate wood-ripening and poor winter-frost resistance, should not be on 5BB, particularly in more northerly districts. Faberrebe, Regner and Würzer should also not be on 5BB.

The main rootstocks now used in France are SO4, 3309, 161-49 and increasing in popularity are Gravesac and 34EM. French vines are relatively close planted so they tend to use less vigorous rootstocks.
In Alsace the vinegrowers say that Fercal is 1 week later ripening than SO4 and up to 2 weeks later than 3309.

Here is a table of rootstock information:-

Rootstock 

Resistance to  chalk/limestone

Strength of growth

Tolerance of badly drained  wet soils

Resistance to drought

Effect on the vegetative cycle

Type of growth

Notes

Active%

Total%

 3309 Couderc   11

to 10

Weak to medium

Medium Weak Advancing Semi-tracing Rootstock with a regular fruitfulness and advances maturation.
Sensitive to nematodes.
Gravesac 12/14

to 20

Medium

Medium Medium Advancing Semi-plunging Good behaviour in sandy and acid ground. Seems to support quality.
 5C Teleki   15

to 30

Medium to Vigorous 

Medium Medium to weak    -     - Good for stony and sandy soils
 Börner   15

to 20

Vigorous

   - High    -     - V.Riparia x V.Cinerea. Geisenheim clone 1 Gm.
Not suited to high chalk soils. Roots are phylloxera resistant.
 SO4 18/20

to 30
or 40

Medium to vigorous

Good Medium Normal Semi-plunging It supports fruitfulness and is sometimes a little too productive, but with control has a good quality potential. It adapts to the majority of soils.
Binova 20/30

to 40

A little stronger than SO4

Good Medium to good Normal Semi-plunging A mutation of SO4. Clone 1 Op.
125AA Kober   30

to 50

Vigorous

    - High     -     - For dry and deep soils.
5BB Kober   20  to 40

Very vigorous

Good Good Delaying Semi-plunging Good behaviour in poor ground and with types of vines with weak production of wood. Lengthens the vegetative cycle. Resistant to chlorosis.
 34EM   20  to 35

Vigorous

Tolerant Good Advances a little Semi-plunging Good resistance to drought, offers a good balance of fruit/vegetation, supports quality but can be too vigorous in rich and heavy ground.

420A

20

to 40

Weak to medium

Tolerant

Medium to weak

Advancing

Semi-plunging

It is used more and more for the production of high-class wines, in particular in Burgundy.

161-49 Couderc   25 to 50

Weak to medium

Sensitive Medium to weak  Advancing Semi-plunging Early and good behaviour in light and deep ground. It decreases the risks of penduncular rot but is to be avoided with Pinots.
Sensitive to nematodes.

 333EM

  40

to 70

Vigorous

Tolerant

Medium

Normal

Plunging

Suitable for limestone while being less sensitive to magnesium deficiency than Fercal is.

 Fercal 40/50 to 120

Vigorous

Tolerant Weak to medium    Normal Tracing The most resistant to active limestone. Fruitfulness average. High sensitivity to magnesium deficiency.

Riparia Gloire

3/6

to 5

Weak

Sensitive

Weak

Advancing

Tracing

Rootstock with low vigour, not for chalk/limestone. For vines with high density of planting; early maturation, mainly used for the production of top-of-range wines.

196-17

6

to 5

High

Sensitive

High

-

-

Sensitive to nematodes.

101-14

9

to 10

Medium

Medium

Medium

-

-

Widely used in USA. More vigorous than 3309C when planted in fertile soil with ample water.

Rupestris du Lot

14

to 20

Very high

Sensitive to tolerant

High to very high

-

-

-

R99

14

to 20

High

Low to medium

Medium to high

-

-

-

R110

17

to 30

Medium

Low to Medium

High

-

-

Suitable for very dry soils. Susceptible to chlorosis.

1103 P

17

to 30

Very high

Medium

Very high

-

-

Tolerant of salty soils.

Ru 140

20

to 90

High

Medium

High

-

-

-

41B

40

to 60

Medium

Sensitive

Medium

-

-

Sensitive to nematodes.

8B Teleki

High

High

Medium

-

-

-

-

Not for very dry soils.


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