Dwarfing Apple Rootstocks

Dwarfing rootstocks typically produce trees that are about 25% to 60% of the size of trees on seedling rootstocks, with a mature height of about 6 feet to 12 feet. Depending on the soil, scion cultivar, and training system, trees on dwarf rootstocks can be spaced at 20 feet x 14 feet (173 trees per acre ) to 14 feet x 4 feet (778 trees per acre). Some of the more progressive apple growers, in regions with less vigorous growing …

Apple Rootstocks: Understanding and Choosing the Right Rootstock

Apple Rootstock Characteristics and Descriptions

Click on a rootstock to access characteristics and descriptions.

Dwarfing Rootstocks Semi-Dwarfing Rootstocks Standard Size Rootstocks
B.9 B.118 Antonovka 313
G.16 B.490 MM.111 EMLA
B.10 G.202 P.18
G.214 G.11 Seedling
G.41 G.210
G.65 G.30
G.935 G.890
M.27 G.969
M.9 J-TE-H
Mark M.4
Ottawa 3 M.27, M.9 (interstem)/
MM.106 rootstock
P.2 M.27,M.9(interstem)/
MM.111 rootstock
P.22 M.26
Supporter 1 M.7 EMLA
Supporter 4 MM.106 EMLA
V.3 V.1

Understanding Apple Tree Size: Dwarf, Semi-Dwarf and Standard

Apple rootstocks have traditionally been divided into three groups: standard, semi-dwarf, and dwarf.

A standard size tree refers to trees growing on seedling rootstock. If trees on seedling rootstocks are not pruned to limit tree size, the trees will reach a height of about 30 feet and have a crown diameter of about 30 feet. Orchards planted before the 1960s often had only 40 trees per acre and were spaced 40 feet by 40 feet. With good pruning, standard size …

What is the best dwarfing apple rootstock for my area?

The best dwarfing rootstock for your area depends on your location, soil type, and what apple production system you wish to utilize. Your location determines likely cold hardiness, vigor, and disease issues. The soil type will influence tree vigor and ultimate tree size. Your apple production system determines whether you need a rootstock which will result in a free-standing tree and what size that tree needs to be, or whether the rootstock needs to be more dwarfing and will result …

Where do I purchase stakes for apple trees?

The tree stake desired and the number required will determine where you purchase your tree stakes. If using a conduit stake in a limited number, you can purchase from a local general hardware or do-it-yourself warehouse. For larger quantities of conduit, you can usually get a volume discount purchasing from an electrical supplier. Also, specialized metal tree stakes can be purchased and shipped as well. A Web search for “orchard tree stakes” will give you several to select from. However, …

Do trees planted on dwarfing rootstocks produce small apples?

Without question, a dwarfing rootstock can reduce vegetative growth, resulting in a tree with a smaller trunk, shorter height, narrower canopy, and lower root volume. These rootstocks, however, do not reduce size of leaves, flowers, or fruit. Nearly all NC-140 apple rootstock trials have evaluated rootstock effects on fruit size, and, in some cases, rootstock did in fact affect size. In no case was the relationship between the degree of dwarfing and fruit size such that the more dwarfing the …

What is a dwarfing rootstock?

Apple seeds that are planted do not produce a replica of the type of fruit that was planted; therefore, trees must be propagated by vegetative means such as budding or grafting. Typically, they are grafted onto a rootstock, which is just another apple selected for certain characteristics, such as dwarfing and/or disease resistance. (But not eating quality!) The rootstock provides many benefits to the finished tree. The most important one is ultimate tree size control.

In apples, tree size has …

Do I have to stake all trees on all rootstocks?

No, you do not have to stake all trees. Generally, since we do not have commercialized dwarfing rootstocks for most stone fruits, these trees do not need to be staked. Apples are the primary tree fruit crop that needs to be staked, but not all rootstocks need to be staked; however, all trees benefit in their early life from staking to prevent wind whipping and leaning. The more size-controlling the rootstock, the greater the need to stake the tree. Trees …

How should I choose among dwarfing rootstocks for my apple orchard?

Choosing the best dwarfing rootstock for your orchard will depend on multiple factors. Probably one of the most important is the cultivar that will be propagated on the rootstock. Cultivars vary greatly in vigor, with some being very weak growing (‘Honeycrisp’) compared to others that are very vigorous (‘Cripps Pink’/’Pink Lady’). You should select the cultivar/rootstock combination that will give you the desired tree size for your desired tree density, support system, soil, and management system.

The disease sensitivity of …