Apple Rootstock Observations

Sitting around bored and figured I would give some reading material. When I planted most of the trees I went with a combination of dwarf, semi, and standard rootstocks. The dwarf were put in to get the ball rolling while I waited on the others. Many of the rootstocks are unknown other than dwarf, semi, and standard and this will not apply to all variations of that stock. This is also only observing the 25 apple trees that I have. So, I’m not an expert.

Dwarfing- Produces billions of flowers pretty quickly. Unfortunately they also seemed to have the most insect and disease issues. Weak branching. The largest downside for me was they all stopped growing at 6-8 feet. That meant that with a fruit load they dropped right into deer picking height. Which also in the process of their theft broke branches.

Semi- Produces easily managed trees that would be great for the back yard grower. Minor issue with insect and disease. Not as bad as the dwarfing stock, but the branching is still a little on the weak side. My primary issue with them is their fruiting time. Semi had about the same years to flower as standards.

M111 and Standard- A couple true standard, but most are on M111. Most flowered in less than 6 years. No signs of issue other than insect. Rapid sturdy growth. Easily shaped. Endless positives. Every apple tree should be on M111.

I am giving the dwarfs a few more years to make me feel like I got my moneys worth out of them and they will be replaced with something else. Basically what I learned over the years was the more standard the rootstock was the less problems you had.

As a side note. Pears seemed to excel on any rootstock.