Fruit Tree Rootstocks in the UK

Rootstocks are the root sections that are grafted onto fruit trees to determine their vigour of growth and their eventual size. Understanding fruit tree rootstocks can help gardeners choose the right trees for their space. To help you determine which fruit trees to buy, it can be useful to understand a little about the various rootstocks that are used. Here is a brief guide to the rootstocks commonly used for fruit trees here:

Apple Tree Rootstocks

MM106 is the most popular apple tree rootstock. It creates semi-dwarfing trees around 4m high when bush trained. Those who wish for even smaller trees can opt for the M9 and M26 rootstocks, which are true dwarfing types. These create trees around 2.4-4m high when bush trained. For larger apple trees, MM111 is a vigorous type, creating trees around 4-4.5m tall, and MM25 is very vigorous and trees wll reach a height of around 4.5m.

Pear Tree Rootstocks

Pears are often grown on quince rootstock to restrict growth. Quince C is a dwarfing rootstock that will create small trees of around 2.5-3m in height. Quince A is semi vigorous and will create pear trees of around 3-4.5m in height.

Plum, Gage and Damson Rootstocks

Plums and related fruit trees are often grown on a Pixy rootstock to reduce their eventual size. These rootstocks create a tree with an ultimate height of 3-4m when bush trained. These fruits are also sometimes grown on semi-vigorous Torinel and Saint Julian A – which will create trees with an ultimate height of 2.4-3m and 4.5-5m respectively.

Peach, Apricot and Nectarine Rootstocks

Torinel and Saint Julian A are also often used as rootstocks for peaches, apricot and nectarine trees for UK gardens.

Cherry Rootstocks

Cherry trees are grown as patio or container trees are often on a Gisela 5 or G5 rootstock. This is suitable for bush, pyramid or fan trained trees and will create trees with an ultimate height of around 2.4-3m. For somewhat larger trees, Colt rootstock is chosen. This is a semi-vigorous type that will create trees that reach an eventual height of around 6m.

Of course, rootstocks are not the only factor that will determine the size of a tree. The size of the container they are in, if they are grown in one, training and pruning will also determine how large a fruit tree placed in your garden will grow.