Rootstocks made simple
Fruit trees are usually grafted – that is, the top, fruiting part of the tree is attached to roots which control the size and other factors like disease resistance. These are known as rootstocks, and it's important to choose a tree with the right rootstock for what you want to do. Here's a quick guide to those you'll find at our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre:
M27: very dwarfing, growing to 1.8m: the best choice for decorative 'stepover' apples.
M9: dwarfing, to about 2m: the best choice for cordons.
M26: general-purpose dwarf rootstock, to about 3m: great for minarettes, cordons and espaliers.
MM106: grows up to 5m and ideal for full-sized trees.
Quince C is usually the only rootstock for pears as it's suitable for almost anything. Grows to about 5m.
Plums and damsons:
Pixy: dwarf roostock suitable for fans and cordons, with a height of 3m
St Julien 'A': the most useful for garden trees, and more vigorous than Pixy at about 5m
Gisela 5 and Tabel: Dwarfing, growing to about 2m, and ideal for fans
Colt: produces a full-sized bush tree to about 5m tall
Please ask the staff in our Donaghadee, Bushmills, Ballymena and Ballyclare garden centre for more information and advice about choosing the right rootstock for your fruit trees.