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Thread: Can we use apple seedlings grown ourselves as root stock?

  1. #1
    abbaye is offline Germinator
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    Default Can we use apple seedlings grown ourselves as root stock?

    Hi all,

    We have some seedings grown from apples from our cider orchard (about 3 years old now). (they actually just grew themselves out of the apple pulp).

    My question is - can we use these as root stock to graft cultivars onto. We want standard trees to graze sheep under.

    Or are we better off buying ready grafted?

    Trying to save money really and also want to get into understanding grafting.

    Many thanks

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by abbaye View Post
    can we use these as root stock to graft cultivars onto. We want standard trees to graze sheep under.

    Or are we better off buying ready grafted?
    You can graft cultivars onto these seedling stocks, but it's pot luck regarding the size of tree they'll produce, and you certainly can't bank on them all resulting in standards suitable for grazing under.

    If the seedlings have emerged from a mixed pile of apple pulp you won't know either the female or male parentage, so you won't even be able to make a guess as to whether the offspring 'just might' be slow or vigorous growers. Further, you won't have any idea of their resistance or susceptibility to pests and diseases.

    The use of proven rootstocks removes all these uncertainties, and unless you're happy to accept what ever varied tree sizes your seedling stocks produce, then I wouldn't plant up a grazed orchard with them (for starters you'd probably end up having to replace any slow growers after a few years). Instead , I'd experiment with the seedling stocks, by planting them in a closely spaced row somewhere and either practise grafting onto them, or encourage them to flower as quickly as possible to see what kind of apple they produce.

  3. #3
    orangepippin is offline Tuber
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    It is a great thing to do for interest, but boundtothesoil is right that the results could be unreliable if planted out in a real orchard. The problem is you won't know for several years if there is a problem - and then you will have to start again from scratch - so it might end up costing more than buying proper rootstocks in the first place. Also you might find you can get some at a good price if you attend a grafting course!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by abbaye View Post
    Hi all,

    We have some seedings grown from apples from our cider orchard (about 3 years old now). (they actually just grew themselves out of the apple pulp).

    My question is - can we use these as root stock to graft cultivars onto. We want standard trees to graze sheep under.

    Or are we better off buying ready grafted?

    Trying to save money really and also want to get into understanding grafting.

    Many thanks
    Seedlings from the apple pulp were often used for grafting in centuries past and will be fine as a rootstock for standard or half-standard trees.
    The weaker seedlings will be about M26 vigour. The average seedlings (most of them) will be about MM111 vigour. The larger seedlings will be about M25 vigour.
    They'll probably take several years to start cropping, although if they aren't given too much love they might crop earlier; my soil is dry and infertile and as a result of the stress I can persuade pears grafted onto seedlings to crop in their third leaf and sometimes in their second leaf if they are tip-bearers. Pear seedling stock is considered to be notorious for taking a long time to fruit ("pears for your heirs"), but not if the soil is poor.

    If you avoid using the weakest-growing seedlings you should be able to make good sized trees.

    Alternatively, you can buy rootstocks for a couple of Pounds each, from here (I would suggest MM106 or MM111, although make sure that MM106 will tolerate your soil because it can be a fussy rootstock in the wrong soil/climate):
    Rootstocks - For grafting & budding your own fruit trees - Buy Online

    Unfortunately, they appear to have sold out of MM106 or MM111 now, but they should have them back in stock next winter.
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  5. #5
    abbaye is offline Germinator
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    Thank you all so very much for such helpful replies (although its all a bit over my head at the moment - got a steep learning curve to climb).

    Our soil is heavy clay soil which isn't well drained unfortunately. It gets quite wet in the winter.

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    Quote Originally Posted by abbaye View Post
    Our soil is heavy clay soil which isn't well drained unfortunately. It gets quite wet in the winter.
    Which rootstocks are you using at the moment?
    Do they cope well with the conditions?
    Have you lost many trees?
    .

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    Oh- and can you put your approximate location in your profile? It helps a lot to know where the trees are and what the climate might be like.

    If you ask me for the ideal rootstock for half standards you'll get the answer of "MM111" but if you ask some of the others you might get the answer of "MM106" or even "M25".
    The difference in opinion will be due to how the trees perform in the various regions the posters on here live.
    .

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