HonoluluGirl
Senior Member
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:01 am
Location: Hawaii

grafting heirloom onto rootstock for disease resistance

Has anybody done grafting of heirloom tomato plants onto rootstock for disease resistance? If so what varieties do you use as rootstock? I searched for various root stocks online, and they are expensive!

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11231
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: grafting heirloom onto rootstock for disease resistance

Although tomatoes can be perennial plants in Hawaii, the fact is most of them will eventually succumb to disease.
I don't think grafting will prevent heirlooms from getting fusarium, blight, bacterial spot or any other leaf disease. It may help with nematodes, but it would be easier to plant the tomato in a sterile potting mix in a 20 inch pot kept off the ground. That is what I do when I grow brandywine and some of the other heirlooms when I don't know if they are resistant or not. Even in pots you will still need to make sure the pot is not contaminated by hands or tools.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

HonoluluGirl
Senior Member
Posts: 129
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:01 am
Location: Hawaii

Re: grafting heirloom onto rootstock for disease resistance

Thanks imafan26. Yeah, my tomato plants usually get sick when I plant them in the ground. I always grow them in pots now, and I've learned to inspect them daily and snip off any yellow bits immediately with snippers that have been wiped with rubbing alcohol. Such a bother.

imafan26
Mod
Posts: 11231
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 1:32 pm
Location: hawaii, zone 12a 587 ft elev.

Re: grafting heirloom onto rootstock for disease resistance

In Hawaii we have so many diseases you have to find the plants that survive and taste good. Sometimes you can find one but not the other.

For plants to survive in the ground, they really need nematode resistance, because of humidity you need to find cultivars with mildew resistance (shiny leaves), and resistance to fusarium (3 strains would be excellent) verticillium wilt and resistance to the common virus TMV, CMV, and if you grow corn, maize mosaic virus. Papaya ringspot virus, if you live in a place with a lot of squash and papaya, and banana bunchy top.

It helps to grow plants in sterile potting mix if they are prone to root issues like nematodes, pythium and phythoptora root rots, and especially if your soil does not drain well.

Plants with shiny leaves have fewer fungal issues, but plants with gray or hairy leaves have a hard time surviving when it rains for a week. It helps in high humidity to help susceptible plants by spraying them with a horticultural oil to help them wick off the water droplets and to start a fungicide program when the humid weather conditions are ripe.
The cherry tomatoes get targeted too, but they are more productive than the large tomatoes.

The UH cultivars are very disease resistant, but the tomatoes have tough skins and I don't like that. Most of the UH tomatoes were developed over 20 years ago so they do not have resistance to the newer viruses like tomato yellow leaf curl. Of all of the UH tomatoes Kewalo and Healani are probably the best.

I also like Heatwave II as it was the only tomato that kept producing in 90 degree weather. It was not the greatest tasting but better than anything else available.

The UH does have very good corn UH #9 and #10 are sweet, tight husk, and can be grown all year. They do have a hard kernel. I don't like that part because it gets stuck between my teeth.

Poamoho, Manoa and Hawaiian wonder beans are good. They are similar to Kentucky wonder. Poamoho is a flat green bean that is nematode and rust resistant. The others are nematode resistant but not necessarily rust resistant.

Kaala bell. What can I say, it is a disease resistant plant but produces a bell pepper that is 1/3 the size of a Cal Wonder.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

Return to “Heirloom Tomatoes Forum”