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We grow the majority of our apple trees on M25, full vigour rootstocks. This is because we find they thrive best in wet, windy and extreme conditions such as are found at high altitude and in the west of these islands.

 

This is the sort of root stock for a traditional full standard (i.e. trees with 6 ft stems which can be grazed under) orchard planting at around 60 trees per acre.

 

Their strength of growth also means that it is unnecessary to stake them (we find trees develop better if allowed to ride the wind and, through that, build up their own root and stem resilience). An added benefit of this is that it avoids the damage often caused by badly placed and maintained stakes and ties, as well as the additional work and expense of staking. This is the rootstock recommended for Glastir orchards and is also an ideal canopy layer for a forest garden.

 

Depending on their position and pruning regime, they will eventually give a tree of 10 to 25 foot with a similar spread. Having said that, I have seen 30 year old apples on M25 stocks planted close together and pruned hard into 8 foot high bush trees with no more than 4 foot spread, which are yielding a good 20 tons of apples an acre. If you are prepared to give the tree some pruning attention, this rootstock should not be discounted as an option, even in smaller spaces, and particularly where conditions are harsh.

 

We also grow a large selection of apple trees on M26 half standard rootstocks which will generally give a tree of 8 to 15 feet with approximately half the vigour of an m25 tree. These may be more suited to confined spaces, a more dense planting plan, or an orchard where it is intended that the fruit will be hand picked without recourse to ladders! Again, we would advocate a no stake regime of planting with this rootstock.

 

We graft our pears on to pyrus (full vigour) and quince (semi dwarfing) rootstocks.

 

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