Stool Beds

This is my attempt at starting a stool bed to grow some of my own apple rootstock. Last spring I planted a B118 rootstock in the edge of the garden. I cut it off at ground level and put a 5 gallon bottomless bucket over it. It sent up two “shoots” and I slowly added sawdust over the summer until I had added about 6-8 inches. This spring I harvested two nice shoots hopefully this year it will send up more shoots. I very happy with the results.


Could you post a picture of your stool bed. Those are nice liners.

Really not much to show. I planted two more B118 rootstocks this spring from failed grafts. I also planted a rootstock last year that I’m sure is protected by a patent so I won’t mention it by name :wink:. It sent up 4 shoots but were not near as nice as the B118. One is useable but the others I’ll pot up and let grow for another year. Here’s a pic of the unnamed rootstock.

Here’s my stool bed. I haven’t cut off the newly planted B118’s yet but will soon.

I’ll try to link to a nice video about stool beds.
Stool Bed


Looks nice.

Awesome I want to start a couple of those this year if I have some grafts that don’t take.
Once you plant the rootstock and let it grow a year or two then cut it off, How much sawdust do you place on top of it? What time of year should you cut the rootstock off at ground level?


I’ve seen this method introduced in a propagation book. But I do not have the stocks to try yet. Will try this year, maybe.

Thank you for sharing. This is exactly what I was planning on this spring. I’m glad to see it works.

I use 2 five gallon buckets From Home Depot. I grow the rootstock on the bottom bucket. I cut the root stock to ground level. I then cut the other bucket in half and use duck tape to tape the hollow half to the bottom bucket then add about 6 inches of saw dust on top. I harvest the rootstocks in the 3rd week of March while they are dormant. All I have to do is undue the duck tapes and lift the half cut bucket off and use the garden hose to blast the saw dust off and use the hand pruner to clip off the rootstocks. This method will work well with apple, plum, snd paw paw rootstocks.




I planted the rootstock the spring I received it from the nursery and immediately cut it off at ground level. If I had let it grow for a year I may have gotten more shoots but I was anxious to see if it would work :smile:. As the shoots grew through the summer I would cover them with sawdust about 1/2 their height until I had probably added 8 inches of sawdust. About a week ago I pulled the bucket off them and dusted the sawdust off and cut them off close to the original rootstock. I must have done something right. Here’s another pic of one of them.


Looking good. I usually get around 4 to 6 per growing season.


Beautiful roots!!

Those are nicely done. Thanks for the pics!
Greyphase, I’m totally new to this part of orcharding and will try not to be too dumb on the questions.
Do you plant the rootstocks in the soil w/ a bottomless bucket then cut and fill?
Are the new shoots cut the next spring?

1 Like

Awesome job Greyphase! Thanks for the information I am anxious to try that this summer.

Very, very enjoyable thread. This is something I got to do. Is there a particular rootstock that is well suited for it? In other words, is there a rootstock that likes to go gangbusters moreso than others?


Yes just plant the rootstock in the ground and set the bottomless bucket over it and slowly fill in with sawdust as the shoots grow then cut the next spring.


This was my first attempt at stool bedding so I don’t have much experience, but I’ve read where M7 suckers freely so it may be a good choice. The video from Kuffelcreek nursery shows M111 producing very nice rootstock from a stool bed. I’ve also read where some of the new Geneva rootstocks reproduce freely in the stool bed, but they are probably protected by patents so you may not be able to legally reproduce them :wink:.

Glad I was able to pass on a tiny bit of knowledge to this wonderful forum and get others interested in stool bedding.

1 Like

If you are interested in stone fruit Marianna 2624 suckers freely. I have a couple of roots I got when an apricot grafted to it winter-killed, so I expect it would stool well.

1 Like

I am very interested in stool beds. Can pear rootstocks also be propagated by stooling?

I am taking my first harvest from a stool bed this spring. 50 rootstock were harvested from a 6’ strip in about 20min… I grew M111 out for 3 years in a row one foot apart then cut it to the ground and mounded up. I probably should have cut it below ground and kept cutting down the strong central leader over the growing season. With a little practice, it might not be to hard to produce all the rootstock I want.


The colonial pear rootstock I get come from cuttings. @clarkinks is trying to propagate OHxF in a stool bed.


Good job Mike. Nothing like free rootstock. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like