Thursday, 13 August 2009

Why M26 isn't great for half-standards

This is a good example of why the choice of rootstocks is important, even though there may not initially appear to be much difference between the semi-dwarfing and semi-vigourous ones on paper.

Most of my apples are on M26 (M stands for Malling, or East Malling) which is a semi-dwarfing. Not a problem for cordons, which are supported, or the strong-growing varieties with compact growth required as half-standards, but M26 lacks substance for weak-growing varieties prone to more whippy growth like this Tydeman's Early Worcester. Most of the fruit bearing branches are bent horizontal or further. I think MM 106 is a better rootstock for half-standards, and I'm trying it on a couple of espaliers which are looking good, and cropping earlier than the M26 cordons.

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