Hey Rob, welcome to Yamhill County - and our Forum! Excellent question, here’s my take and experience from likely a similar setting: The YC soil is basically crap.. Grapes love it and will send roots as deep as necessary to find nutrients and moisture. Not so much with fruit trees, though of course fertility varies.
It’s difficult to find anything grafted to ‘Standard rootstock’ anymore. Though I’ve put together many a tree …I’m even too lazy to start from scratch and will buy a ‘base variety’ on as vigorous
a rootstock as I can find (if known) and graft on a number of other varieties. If you order trees from a sound local or mail-order nursery (like One Green World
) you can still get them on standard rootstock …at least apples
If you enjoy pruning, like I do, then go for the vigorous ones. They’ll dig deep and fast to anchor themselves and find the nutrients they need – and
– they’ll get out of the reach of deer and elk faster than a weakling dwarf (if ever). Once up and where you want them, like mine, you can prune to allow only one bud’s worth of growth a year (that’s about an inch). Combined with thinning, they’re no problem. And, if you want the majestic apple, pear and cherries trees of the mature surrounding homesteads – you can have them!
I’ve had such poor growth from several ‘dwarf’ apples that I eventually mounded soil around their base to encourage the ‘scion’ to root. I think it’s actually worked, as the trees look a bit more vigorous than the ..10 to 15 years they spent trying to suck what they needed from pottery capable (Gaston mud
) Yamhill County Clay…
Hey – let me know where you’re at, I’ve had a lot of fun advising folks on fruiting stuff around here. …and don’t forget figs, table grapes, persimmons or hardy & fuzzy kiwi.. We don’t get the mildew problems of the East side, that’s why we grow the grapes and they grow the blueberries
PS, I got to ‘approve’ your post so got first crack at an answer, I shouldn’t be the only one..