Apple rootstock

What’s the best apple rootstock suited for a dry climate like the High Desert?

Probably EMLA.111 (or MM.111 or M.111).

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Here its use in arid So Cal is discussed by @applenut

M111 has been the rootstock of choice here in Phoenix for a very long time. Its puts up nicely with our conditions. In our orchard we are starting to move away from M111. The reason is that in our extended hot summer our apples go into whats best described as “summer dormancy”. They simply shut down most all growth from June 1-late September. The stunting isnt so bad with our typical summer apples (dorsett golden and anna) because they come out of winter dormancy early and grow quite a bit before summer dormancy sets in. But fall apples that may not leaf until April just dont have enough time to put on any real growth before they shut down.

We are now putting in trees on full vigor seedling rootstock and are pleased so far with the early results. Growth pushed nearly all summer on our seedling grafted trees. I dont know if you have the same issue there in the high desert that we do here in the low desert, but something to think about.


It has become hard to find apples on seedling apple rootstocks. Lack of demand has nurseries taking them out of production.

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Anyone have any experience with Bud118 root stock? It is supposed to be similar in size and vigor to M111 perhaps a bit hardier.

I planted a a few trees on it this spring, and so far so go (they did grow vigorously), but I have yet to see how they fair over a winter or the long term.

Hello, I am relatively new to the high desert here in Albuquerque, and have the same concerns. I planted apple trees on M26 about 6 years ago and they are growing fine, just no fruit except for the Black Oxford. Last year I added 14 apples from Century Orchard, all on M111. They established well, which says a lot as my orchard is in a vacant lot backfilled with urban debris (gravel, cement, broken glass, etc) with only a whisper of organic material. Soil pH is between 7.2 to 7.5. What bothers me is the pronounced chlorosis during first year in. So I am hoping to find really alkaline tolerant rootstock.
I did find 2 apple trees just north of ABQ growing along a creek with a pH 8. I am going back after some frosts to sample the abundant apple crop and collect for growing on. In Feb-Mar, I will try for budwood.
Somewhat related, I visited the Centennial Orchard in Dixon a couple of weeks ago. It was set up in 2002 to collect heritage apples from the early days of the Spanish along the Camino Real. There are about a dozen trees on site, but it is very poorly maintained and came nowhere near the 100 specimens that had been planned. The librarian in charge of the property has misplaced the site plan so identification is impossible. Sad, a nice thought but not a good enough follow-through.
Anyway, I will keep you posted on alkaline tolerant rootstocks during my ramblings.

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Lawyer Nursery in Montana still sells seedling rootstocks: antonovka, baccata, ranetka and a couple others. They aim for northern climate clientele. Ranetka crab is growing well here in Albuquerque.

@abqspeachless antonovka from Lawyer have been strong trees that grow fast for Kansas. I’m growing the rootstock out awhile prior to grafting them but when I graft them I will let you know how well they take scions.If you want a secondary source for rootstock when they are out try FRUIT TREE SEEDLINGS | Willamette Nurseries rootstock clonal seedling fruit tree ornamental seedlings

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