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 Can I use shoots from dead apple tree for root stock 
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:31 am
Posts: 14
Post Can I use shoots from dead apple tree for root stock
Winter killed one of my apple trees, but now I have a bunch of shoots coming up from the roots, can I use these as rootstocks?


Fri May 16, 2014 8:29 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Can I use shoots from dead apple tree for root stock
Apples are pretty winter hardy …where are you located?

And yes, if the original tree was grafted, which most are, the shoots coming up from the roots will be it’s ‘rootstock.’ Actually, they’re a great resource to graft to because they’ve already got an established root system and store of energy. But, there are generally a lot of them, depending on how old the tree was.

I’ve done this for friends. After one years growth (this year), I’d do a whip & tongue graft the following Feb. or March to one or two of the shoots. Cut the others to the ground, and eventually let only one grafted shoot (the straightest/ strongest) become the new tree/ variety.

Actually, you can do some wild stuff, like ‘twining the shoots,’ or grafting multiple varieties (maybe four) then binding them together with grafts… I’ve done some of this stuff for ‘fun’ - it’s our kinda fun :mrgreen:

So have some fun 8)

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Fri May 16, 2014 9:36 pm
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:31 am
Posts: 14
Post Re: Can I use shoots from dead apple tree for root stock
I am in Iowa,

It was a brutal brutal winter with many nights over 30 below. I know they are usually hardy, but when I think we had over 30 nights that were below zero.

I was thinking about packing sand around the bases this year so they would shoot our roots around the bases, then clip them off in the spring to graft on to.


Sat May 17, 2014 6:19 am
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1155
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon
Post Re: Can I use shoots from dead apple tree for root stock
Wow, thirty below :shock: I’ve never experienced that :roll:

One problem with the loss of the tree is that it’s ‘not there’ to feed the root system, so most of those roots will die. If you let it send up shoots, those shoots will at least help feed some energy back into the root system…

I’d let them grow this year, then choose the best couple shoots to graft onto next March. You may be able to ‘Bud graft’ to a ‘stocky one’ later this summer, but with that kind of cold, I doubt the newly grafted bud would survive the winter. You’d be safer placing some stored scion wood on top next spring.

We’ve a local commercial nursery near me (Carlton Plants) that specializes in apple trees for South Dakota. Once having given a tour to our HOS group the employee had to laugh at the fact we’d never heard of the apple varieties they were growing – because they were all ‘cold hardy’ varieties for the Northern States. So I guess it makes a difference.

Have neighbors also lost trees; what variety was yours; and any idea how old it was?

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Sat May 17, 2014 10:54 am
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Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 5:31 am
Posts: 14
Post Re: Can I use shoots from dead apple tree for root stock
This was an extreme winter.

Out of 30 fruit trees, I probably lost five, so I am very happy.

Even my peaches are alive, albeit barely. They wont produce this year, but at least they are still alive.

I believe the variety was a honeygold.

I have never grafted, but would like to get an M111 and let it grow a couple years so I can continuously harvest rootstock to expand my orchard. I know rootstock is cheap, but if I can grow my own better yet.


Tue May 20, 2014 6:49 am
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