Problems with g890 apple trees

I wish I stayed with m7 apple trees the root suckering drove me nuts in the early years but 20 plus years in I love them very little to no sucking. g890 is driving me crazy not free standing and the weeping nature of growth. oldest 6 years. what can I do with younger smaller ones to coup with this

m7 rooted well after being staked for a few years no such luck with g890 any suggestion?

I think it may take awhile for you to get response since G890 is a fairly new rootstock and most people who have it have fairly young trees. I have a Goldrush on G890 but it was planted this year.

You mentioned that G890 is not free standing for you. Did you initially stake it and if so how many years was it staked? Are the trees leaning a lot? What kind of soil do you have? Also what cultivars do you have on the rootstock? If you could supply more information it’s more likely you will get a useful reply.

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What kind of soil do you have? The Cummins page describes G.890 as “vigorous and well anchored,” while describing m.7 as “Usually free standing, although sometimes anchorage can be a problem.” My G.890s are only two years old though, so I’m still a ways from figuring out how well they’ll do for me.

well I started it in my nursery sundance & wine crisp then top worked with king david & goldrush because cummins nursery didn’t have them that year. After that put them out in the woods with 2x4 welded wire and used string to the welded wire to hold in place. Till out of reach of deer then had to use 4 t-posts and rope. The soil is clay and today the king david over 16 feet tall had 1 of 4 t-posts leaning and tree leaning from weight of small apples drove stakes in deeper straighten tree and added 10foot t-post

In deep clay where my m-7s became well anchored after support for a few years. In shallow soil is where I think you will have problems.

Rick, i believe your issue is that you have a 6 year old tree at over 16 feet. Do you ever prune? I have 6 year old trees that i keep under 7 feet. I get the image in my mind that it is a tall spindley twig without much of a structure, other than basically up. An apple on any root stock that is top heavy will lean one way or another. Sounds like you need to give that thing a hair cut and get it some structure.
I have clay soil and i have 50 year old trees that are about 15 feet tall and and they have leaned due not being trimmed, they were here way before i bought the farm.

The g890 is supposed to have vigorous growth, which would make sense for a young tree to be tall, but you will have to manage that vigor with pruning.


king david is a very vigorous tree that I grew in manure blended soil the tree is very sturdy well branched the roots are not matching the top. I should have control the height to help slow top growth. Penn state puts a question mark beside free standing. I have done the same with m111 with no anchor problems only difference is the king david had heavy fruit set this year and m111 took many more years and I have never had to support m111 . So g890 is like m7 in that the top of tree out paces the roots except after a few years of support the m7 is free standing and the g890 is not. So am heading back central leader and pruning more. So that’s my worry thanks for your reply

A 16 foot tall tree catches a lot of wind.


a matter of fact I had one g-890 last summer that I grafted over that bent over after a thunderstorm . thanks for the reply. I need to shorten central leader prune down to small fruiting branch remove larger branches towards top to catch less wind. Hope by reducing height and keeping only small branches towards top roots will catch up

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I spoke/wrote briefly with the folks at Cummins after the last time a post like this came up. The general thought is that a combination of vigorous growth and early bearing could overwhelm the tree. The solution: pruning and thinning heavy fruit sets until the tree matures.


This is the first year I have ever grafted to Geneva 890, and never bought a whip standing on it. All those that took are looking quite good. Once the scion gets strong, the lower growth is easy to nip away with a thumb nail.

So far it looks good. Since this soil is sand fathoms deep, I will take care to manage both height & early crops, if they occur.
Oh, one of them now stands under Lord Lambourne, which I may keep here. That’s OK, I already know LL is so precocious it could bloom the very next season after grafting. It is also a partial tip-bearer. Will wait probably four years before allowing LL to set a sample crop.

For those of you growing on g890 how are you making out in regards to having it free standing? What type of support for individual trees do you use? And when they start to crop heavy any problem in free standing

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I was just talking to the owner of a commercial orchard about this yesterday. Her opinion is that none of the Geneva rootstocks are suitable for freestanding. They are great for high productivity dense plantings, but they absolutely need a trellis system and irrigation. Even with the trellis, she said they had a row get partially knocked over during an early heavy snow, but they were able to stand them back up.

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Thanks for the reply am still working and have over 200 trees so i dont have time to properly care for them prune etc also keep planting a few every year lol cant help myself just love it. But thats what i was thinking even with poor maintenance

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It is almost never too late to try and straighten a tree. It may require some industrial staking but even a dry bowed wood beam can be straightened with enough consistent pressure over time.

I would prune and thin to remove excess pressure in the wrong direction. I would watch wind action to direct further pruning in order to remove twist motions. Then I would drive into the soil some serious spikes so the tree could be strapped and pulled in the right direction. You may need two, one on the opposite side lower to help hold the trunk in place while the other does the corrective pulling.

It may take a few years but you can end up with a more structurally sound tree.

Are you sure the roots are not damaged by voles? My tree on G890 doesn’t make any root suckering. Together not free standing and lot of suckering may indicate root damage.

Has she actually grown g890?

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I have about 20 trees on g890. Some are 2 years old and some were planted last spring.
They are doing fine so far with no staking. I might stake them anyway though

keep me posted very interested in how they do. Not sure how many i have to count them have them spread out along trials in groves along side a pipeline . First ones i bought 2015 from cummins nursery 5 sundance 5 wine. Then bought some every year since. I have 4 for 2023 and 4 for 2024 ordered from cummins so i have 36 g890 in the ground and 8 on the way.