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Choosing Rootstock

Apple trees must be propagated vegetatively in order to preserve the variety. The rootstock on which a tree is propagated has enormous influence on the tree’s growth and fruiting habits. The success of a new tree depends primarily on having reliable, virus-free rootstock. The rootstock determines the trees size, how one manages the tree and  influences disease resistance.  Vintage Virginia Apples primarily offers a variety of apple rootstocks. The majority of our trees for sale are grafted to M-111 which we find to be very reliable and requiring less maintenance. We also offer sever additional rootstocks for apples trees: M-7, Standard, Bud-9, Geneva 202 and Geneva 222. Choose your rootstock based on the options below; not every option is available for every variety.

  • Standard Rootstock produces a tree that is 30 to 40 feet tall and grows in most any soil type.  Recommended spacing is between trees is 30 feet. Trees are well anchored,  have deep roots, and are long lived.  They are slower to begin bearing and require considerable ladder work for managment, i.e. pruning, spraying, etc.
  • M-111 Rootstock (Semi-Standard) produces a tree that is 18 to 25 feet tall (80-95% of Standard), grows in most any soil type and does well in clay.  Recommended spacing between trees is 20 feet.  Trees are well anchored and the rootstock is disease resistant.
  • M-7 Rootstock (Semi-Dwarf) produces a tree that is 12 to 17 feet tall (50-60% of Standard) and requires fertile, well-drained loam. Recommended spacing between trees is 15 feet. Trees have fair anchorage but staking is recommended.
  • Bud-9 Rootstock (Dwarf) produces a tree that is 25-30% of Standard. Staking is required. Precocious. Bears large fruit.
  • Geneva-202 (Semi-Dwarf) produces a tree that is 40% of Standard. Cornell University introduction. Resistant to collar rot, fire blight and wooly apple aphid.
  • Geneva-222 (Semi-Dwarf) produces a tree that is 40% of Standard. Cornell University introduction. Resistant to collar rot, fire blight and wooly apple aphid. Not tolerant of replant disease.  Good choice for weak cultivars.
  • Geneva-41 (Dwarf) is resistant to fire blight.  A productive and precocious rootstock, G41 seems to be resistant to replant disease and appears to be winter hardy, at least to Zone 5.

For more on apple rootstocks, including those which we have yet to experiment with, check out the Penn State Extension's listing here.  For an overview of Geneva rootstock trials, check out this article from Washington State University.

Pear Trees also are grafted onto different rootstocks. The two rootstocks that we generally use are  OhxF 97 and Calleryana. The main difference between these two rootstocks is their climate tolerance. Calleryana rootstock is a seedling rootstock and is better suited for moderate zones. OhxF97 is a clonal rootstock of Old Home x Farmingdale, is resistant to pear decline and fire blight, and is hardy and resilient to cold. It provides good anchoring and yield efficiency and produces a full sized tree.  Both work well here in Virginia.  For a dwarf pear, we use quince rootstock (Provence) with compatible varieties.

Our Cherry Trees are grafted onto Avium (Mazzard) or Mahaleb rootstocks.

  • Avium (Mazzard) produces a vigorous, full-size tree with resistance to root knot nematodes and bacterial canker.  It can tolerate some soil moisture.
  • Mahaleb can produce a tree just slightly smaller than one grown on Avium rootstock.  Mahaleb is best suited for sandy loam soils, and should only be used with caution and ammendments when planting in heavy clay soils.

Our Plum Trees are grafted onto Prunus Cerasifera rootstocks.

Our Peach Trees are grafted onto Lovell rootstocks.

Our Quince Trees are grafted onto Provence rootstocks.

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