Rootstock small time trial Mini Dwarf

GRIN is very generous and if I had my way I would have one multi graft tree with all my selections. But it takes a long time to get a tree big enough to accept that many grafts and I dont exactly have the space where I live. What I do have is 100’x75’ft vacant lot 250 miles away in needs a job to do while it waits for me to build a house or something. Since anything I plant there might get disturbed later I wanted root stock that might be moveable later. That keeps my choices to the super dwarfs like Bud9, M9, M27, G11, and G41. I spend months debating and researching to no avail so I finally decided why choose. 1 GRIN stick is good for at least 2 or more trees I will just get 3 different stocks and see how they do.

I am simply going to do a high density planting with each tree 2’ apart. The lot is 100’ north to south so thats up to 50 trees potentially. So far I have some Bud9 and M27 on order from Raintree and I am still deciding between G11, G41 or G16 from Cummins. I am leaning towards G11 but I want to here your opinions.

Interesting videos B9, G16, M9

I would not plant any trees with rootstock that are not woolly aphid resistant. I have dug up one stunted tree that was infested at the roots and expect to dig up at least one more this spring.

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m27 is the one that gets to like 5’ max, correct?

Note that it does this by growing very little each year–you may be stuck using 2" scion pieces to graft in future years. Worse, it is very susceptible to drought and grass competition.

I think you’d probably be better off with at least a marginally larger understock, with marginally larger root system, especially if this is a sort of “set it and forget it” planting bed that may be getting minimal attention.

Out of the G series which would you suggest.

I’d go with G41.

G16 is susceptible to latent virus, so you won’t want to graft a bunch of stuff to it. Especially heirloom varieties which are probably more likely to have the virus, having been around a while.

G11 is susceptible to woolly apple aphid.

After enough time, some of my more vigorous cultivars are 8’ tall. But Honeycrisp is still only 3-4’ after 5-6 years. Yes, I wouldn’t leave them unattended, as they will probably need water during dry stretches in the summer. Completely untended, they could die, or just be very, very stunted.

On the other hand, M27 or G65 (which doesn’t seem to be as available anymore) is probably the main option you have if you want something at 2-3’ spacing. For bigger stuff (like G41), 2’ will only work with support and enough pruning. I think you’ll get a tangled mess if you try to grow everything at 2’. Another option would be to grow it all in rows, 5’ spacing within the row and 10-12’ between rows. You could just dedicate the back 30-40’ of the yard and put in 3 or 4 75’ long rows. If you are planning to build later, you’d probably be disturbing the front area for the house and driveway.

The M27 is already on order so will just have to see how it works out. Your really selling me on the G41.

For M27, I’d suggest:

  • mulch them well
  • prune off any early flowering (help them size up a bit and avoid need for early structural support- they like will need it later, but you can delay the need)
  • think of them as tomato plants

I’ve only got two or three on G41 myself. I’ve mostly stopped adding apples, as I’ve got plenty in ground already and G41 came out as I was slowing down. Lots on G65, and a decent amount on B9 and M27, and a smattering on the others (G11, G16, P2, MM111, etc). But, from what I’ve read, G41 sounds pretty good and I have no complaints about the ones I’ve got on it so far.


@BobVance what is your preferred rootstock of the ones you have experience with?

Of the ones I’ve used for a while, B9 is my favorite. Small enough for my 5’ spacings, yet isn’t tiny and bears early enough. I don’t baby my trees, but I do mulch and stake them, so I’m not sure how B9 would do in a less managed environment.


They sound like a good stock. I don’t mind mulching and staking… my concern would be having to water them. Do you ever have to water?