Identifying apple/pear rootstocks


I’d like to get started propagating my own trees and grafting. I have access to a variety of scionwood nearby, but rootstocks not so much. Some options exist, but in general I find it isn’t easy to buy rootstocks in small quantities as a private person (Belgium, Europe).
As a learning experiment, I’d like to propagate some rootstocks from rootstock regrowth on trees nearby. Thing is that I’d like to know what I’m working with though. Although I’m pretty sure they’re of the most common varieties for both the apples and pears, I’m not sure which exactly, which leads to my question:

Given the limited set of options, I’d think there should be a way to determine the variety by properties such leaf shape, bark colour, etc, etc. Do you know of some determination guide (illustrated with pictures) for common apple and pear rootstocks?

All kinds — literally — of apples are used as apple rootstocks from seedlings through virus-free Cornell clonal offerings, so you never know what suckers are springing up under your neighbors’ trees. People will guess, however. You just need to buttonhole a “local expert” who can integrate a little knowledge about likelihood of where the trees were ordered and when they were planted with what the rootstock should look like and the apparent overall size of the parent tree.

Although there’s a great variety of dwarfing rootstock out there nowadays, the types typically used commercially twenty years ago are probably fairly limited so any guesses are likely to be good ones. For instance, red suckers are most likely to be B9. See the exchange of views pro and con about this assertion at “Bud 9 Bloom.”


In “our” part of the world. You can narrow it down a bit if the rootstock suckers have leaves/flowers.

I can reasonably reliably ID Colt rootstock for cherry. And i guess I’d see a difference between Gisela series and a seedling (P. avium)

But ID within the Gisela series would be really hard.

In short for something like a cherry where the “usual” rootstocks in the EU are mostly different interspecific hybrids it can be done. Since they have varying leaf shapes bark colors and textures etc.

However ID on an apple rootstock sucker would be almost impossible. (with few exceptions, like red leaf, most likely B9 here. Or if parent tree is verry vigerous B118)

Same for pear, would be easy to ID the difference between quince or pear rootstock. But what quince selection would be really hard.

Actually it’s quite easy and cheap here. There are multiple webshops that deliver to you, and sell rootstocks a piece. There are also some where for larger amounts (100) you pay less than a euro a piece. Most people on this forum pay way more than that for a rootstock. (if seen mostly 3-6 dollar a piece range)

You can still buy them now. And if you plant a few ungrafted. you could harvest your own rootstocks in a year or 2.

PM me if you wanna know the websites.