When it comes to choosing a fruit tree for your garden, there is a lot to consider. Left to their own devices, fruit trees will reach a height of 15-20ft or even taller, making them far too big for most gardens. For this reason, most fruit trees are grafted on to the roots or ‘rootstock’ of related species. Fruit trees then grow to different sizes depending on which rootstock they are grown on, so it is important to choose the best one for where you want to grow it. Rootstocks can also help to improve the plants disease resistance.
We have created the guide below to help you make the best choice of rootstock for your garden, though the trees mature height and spread is affected by many characteristics including local climate, soil conditions, and the species (apple, plum, cherry etc.) As well as the rootstock, you will need to consider how much sunlight the tree will get, how exposed the area is, the soil type and how wet or dry the area is.
Each rootstock has no effect on the size of the fruit itself, so for example a dwarfing rootstock will produce the same sized fruit as a very vigorous rootstock.
M27 (extremely dwarfing). Suitable for small gardens where the soil is fertile.
M9 (dwarfing). Excellent for small gardens.
M26 (dwarfing). Ideal for containers.
MM106 (semi-dwarfing). The most popular rootstock for apples, ideal where space allows.
MM111 (vigorous). Suitable for orchards in grass and on poor soils.
M25 (very vigorous). Too vigorous for most gardens.
Quince C (dwarfing). Requires fertile, moisture retentive soil.
Quince A (vigorous). Suitable for most medium to heavy fertile soils.
Pixy (semi-dwarfing). Requires a light, loamy soil.
Saint Julian A (semi-vigorous). Heavy soils are tolerated.
Torinel (semi-vigorous). Good for containers.
Giseal 5 or G5 (semi-dwarfing).
Colt (vigorous). Tolerates many soils including clay and light, chalky soils.
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