Apples are the most widely grown of all the tree fruits in the UK, the reasons for this are easy to find. There is a cultivar that will succeed nearly all parts of the UK and on most soils. There is an apple to suit every taste whether it is a dessert or culinary variety. No other fruit can provide a range of cultivars which will bear fruit for nine months of the year.
Apples are a long term crop which with regular care will remain healthy and productive for fifty years or more. With this in mind it is important to decide which rootstock the tree should be grown on, which tree form you wish to grow, and the pollination requirements of the cultivar you wish to choose before buying.
Rootstocks in order of their vigour are outlined below: –
M27 – Very Dwarf. An ideal rootstock for the smaller garden. It will reach a height of no more than 2 metres and need very little support. Trees grown on this rootstock will bear fruit within two to three years.
M9 – Dwarf. A very productive rootstock which needs good soil. It has poor anchorage so requires permanent staking. It will reach a height of 2.5-3m. Trees grown on this rootstock will bear fruit within three years. Used for dwarf bushes, spindlebushes, dwarf pyramids, and cordons.
M26 – Semi-Dwarf. A good rootstock for most soils, requires support on most sites. It will reach a height of 3-3.5m. Trees grown on this rootstock will bear fruit within three to four years. Used for bush trees, dwarf pyramids, and cordons.
MM106 – Semi-Vigorous. A general purpose rootstock which is suitable for most soils including lighter grounds. It will reach a height of 4-5.5m. Trees grown on this rootstock will bear fruit within three to four years. Used for bush trees, spindlebushes, cordons, espaliers, and fans.
MM111 & M25 – Vigorous. This rootstock makes large trees on good soils and medium-sized trees on poor soils. It will reach a height of 5.5-7.5m. Trees grown on this rootstock will bear fruit within six to seven years. Used for standards in large gardens or for medium-sized bush trees on poor soils.
Apples are available as bare-root one-year-maidens from November to March. Trained forms of apples are available in 12 litre pots all-year-round.