This is a guide to the most common apple tree rootstocks. When buying apple trees from us, you do not need to worry about choosing the right rootstock - each of our trees is grown on the most suitable one.
The mature sizes shown are approximate: the variety of apple, the soil type, the amount of sun and the way the tree is pruned will have an effect on how big the tree can potentially grow.
Apple Tree Rootstocks At a Glance
|Rootstock Name||Size Range & Max. Mature Height||Common uses|
|Very Dwarfing (2 metres)||Rarely used. Pots or Cordons. Requires support.|
|Dwarfing (2.5 metres)||Cordons. Requires support.|
|Semi-Dwarfing (3.5 metres)||Bushes. Requires support.|
|Semi-Vigorous (4 metres)||All purpose - can even be used for cordons. Needs no support when established.|
|Vigorous (6-7 metres)||Cider apple trees & commercial growing. Picking-crane required for harvest and spraying. Needs no support when established.|
Each tree will tell you on its page which rootstock it is grown on: we use MM106 for almost all of the apple trees you buy here. It works for both trained shapes like fans or espaliers and can also produce a mature tree that is a manageable size for a garden.
- Some of our vigorous trees need to be grown on M9 when they are sold as cordons.
- Some cider apple trees are grown on M25 to give you the biggest possible crop.
Detailed Description of Apple Tree Rootstocks
M27 is the least vigorous rootstock, producing a tree that will struggle to reach 2 metres (6 feet).
Its major shortcoming is that growing conditions have to be ideal and even then your crop will be small.
It is rarely used and we do not grow any trees on it.
M9 is a dwarfing rootstock, producing a tree about 2-2.5m (7-8ft), which is ideal for cordon apples.
Soil preparation is very important - M9 has shallow, weak roots that need rich soil to get what they need. They are also not strong enough to compete with grass & weeds and will always need watering in dry weather.
M9 trees need permanent support if you want to grow them as a small bush (cordons are wire-trained).
M26 is a semi dwarfing rootstock, producing a tree 2.5-3.5m (8-10ft) at maturity. The size is suited to smaller gardens, but like M9, the M26 rootstocks do not have a strong root system and require permanent support.
We think that M9 is best for cordons, while MM106 is better for any larger sizes, so we do not grow any trees on M26.
MM106 is an all purpose rootstock that is used by both gardeners and commercial orchards, producing a free-standing tree around 4m (12ft), which can easily be kept a smaller size of about 2.5 metres with a good pruning regime. It is also great for wall trained fans and espaliers. After your trees are established, they do not need support.
We grow most of our Apple Trees/Fruit Trees on MM106.
M25 is the classic rootstock of the cider apple orchard, where the biggest crops are needed to get loads of juice. It is too large for most people's gardens, producing a free standing tree that can be 6-7 metres (20 feet plus) in height.