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ELMA-111 Root Stock Apple any good?
53 Posts
January 16, 2020 - 8:48 pm

Hi Folks,


I have an Ashmead's Kernel apple tree grafted onto MM-111 rootstock.  The other day I noticed that one of those root stocks had thrown up a sucker almost 2 feet high.  I though it was a branch of the main variety but I was mistaken so I removed it.  It came out with an intact set of roots so I just planted it in a pot with some miracle grow potting soil.  I am curios if the MM-111 root stock produces an apple that could be used for anything.  Even if it could only be used to make apple cider if the tree has any fruiting value I would opt to let the pip grow in the pot.   I am wondering if it's just a waste of time and if I should throw it away anyhow.  What are your thoughts?  Anyone ever seen what kind of fruit MM-111 generates?   I have search google far and wide but cannot find a direct answer to this query. 



Battle Ground, WA
91 Posts
January 16, 2020 - 11:13 pm

The book, "Apples for the 21st Century", by Warren Manhart, states that MM111 is a cross of Northern Spy and Merton 793, with Merton 793 also having Northern Spy as one parent.  With no direct knowledge of what type of apples it would produce, my thought is that surely Northern Spy would show itself and, at least, they would work for juicing/cider.  I believe that you will need to eventually plant the tree, since it will outgrow the pot.

Just about everyone on this site is a big proponent of grafting, as I am becoming, so another suggestion is to graft a new variety onto the rootstock.  You could also let the rootstock grow until it produces; if you decide then that the apples aren't worthwhile, you can graft an apple variety (or varieties) to the tree.  I believe that this is call "top working".  Someone else on this site with more grafting experience can explain these options better.

Sometimes conventional wisdom misses the mark; so if you have a little extra time and space, go for it.

John S
2593 Posts
January 18, 2020 - 9:58 pm

Caseroj, You just got a free tree!
Yes, I would graft something onto it that I like.
John S

NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
212 Posts
January 19, 2020 - 12:20 am

Generally considered the fruit of rootstock is not going to be worthwhile. Root characteristics of tree size, anchorage and disease resistance are pretty much what is sought after when observing the trials. If the fruiting had potentials, it'd be released as such.

I had let a sucker off Bud9 go to fruit. Small, dark or purple/red and red fleshed pomes. Not particularly interesting  nor tasty, or compelling otherwise for cider; not even juicy. Good for only the novelty of the experience. I cut it off soon after, to keep the energy diverted completely to the grafted variety.

53 Posts
January 19, 2020 - 4:45 am

Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply.   I think I will let the pip grow for a year in the pot and then graft a different apple variety onto it.  Malling-Merton-111 is the only apple root stock that does well in my garden.   I tend to have high clay content soils mixed with sand and we often get arid rainless summers.   I don't have an irrigation system in place but if the trees survive long enough their tap roots can extend deep down and get access to the stored moisture several feel below the surface.   MM-111 is the only root stock that has proven resilient enough to survive these conditions in my area.   I will probably graft a scion of Egremont Russet to this pip in a couple of years.  I have only one of that variety but it has proven to grow exceptionally well in my climate.  For some reason the russetted apples do well here but the smooth skinned apples not so much.   I am guessing due to the high heat and humidity.

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