Dwarf Apple Root Stock Propagation

I bought a Dwarf Golden Delicious last year, and it ended up not really even breaking dormancy. It just died above the graft.

However, the root stock survived, and it is my understanding (correct me if I’m wrong) that dwarf root stock produces more dwarfs if it sends up suckers.

Wouldn’t I be able to take one of these, and, if need be, root it out, then plant it and graft another variety onto it? I have a little spot picked out for it : :slight_smile:


PS : Should I have used the term “cultivar” (instead of “variety”–because “cultivar” doesn’t produce true-to-seed (and most apples don’t)) here?

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That’s right. Your suckers are all clones or more properly, part of the rootstock clone. You can go into itdeeper if you want to by searching “stooling rootstocks” one this forum.

But basically each sucker is trying to establish a new plant. Cut one apart and plant it out with new scions of your choice and voila!


Excellent! Thank you!

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Consider potting it in a huge tub. Take a second identical tub and trim half the bottom off.

There are a lot of good videos of how you can re-use them for more rootstock. But Kevin at Kuffel Creek makes a good one:


AKA “Applenut” here, though we don’t see him often. Excellent source.


You mean place the cutting in a large pot?

I saw a really encouraging video on rooting cutting out in a plastic shoebox with sand. I’ve had so many cuttings (Apricot) die on me, I’m really not confident yet, and I put a tiny branch that had broken off of one of my hazelnuts in there and it has actually survived and leafed out (though I think I’m supposed to tear those leaves off).

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Oh, you mean to create a stool bed.

OK, that’s a different story.

I think I like that idea. I could help a lot of people.

Hmm… this video has made me ask a new question: how do I do a “bud graft”? :joy:

Search “budding” here. Fruitnut has a good one. They’re very basic, very easy, and I suck at them. Have fun.


I just saw a video of it. Is this method preferred over “regular” grafting?

I’m very interested in the bud chip grafts. Still not confident in my knife handling. Decades of heavy rotatory hammer operating has not left my hands so steady.

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It is neuroprotective.

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Not necessarily. Many, many nurseries bud to rootstock because it is fast, easy to learn, and you get maximum use of buds. If you have dormant buds and the bark is slipping you can bud. And you can bud in late summer using bud sticks from the current year’s growth.

“Regular” grafting (cleft, whip, whip and tongue, bark, etc.) use dormant scions with at least a couple of buds each and actively growing rootstock. That means they typically have to be done in the spring. They usually take a little longer and use more buds per graft. They make strong unions and grow straight in line with the rootstock, unlike buds and chips which add a little dogleg to the union.


I have multiple roots growing from my dwarf root (the tree had died above the graft–never broke dormancy after I received it from Stark Bros).

I plan to graft to one of these, but I also want to be able to harvest dwarf roots continuously, so I want to repurpose one of these as the new root from which I will be able to collect these dwarf roots using the technique shared with me above.

Can I just take one of these, and root it out, and then have that send up new root stock, and harvest from it?

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You should do exactly as the Kuffel creek video shows. I do it the same way and harvest 8-10 graftable M111 rootstocks a year.


Yeah, except it’s in the ground in a sunny spot (we don’t have many–instead, we have Ponderosa Pines), so I want to grow it out with a bud graft, but I also want to be able to grow out and collect dwarf root stock. Would I be able to take one of them, root it out, and then have that one be the new source of root stock?

Yes. Dig up one with as much root attached as you can and use it to start your stool bed. In a pot as I’ve done works well to chase what sun you have


Pile up some potting soil against one of the shoots (or all of the shoots) so it roots into it. Then dig it up in the fall, severing it at ground level.

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Thank you.

The one challenge is that I actually want an apple to grow there (probably via bud graft)–that is why I want to start a new root stool bed.