Apple Tree Selection


When choosing apple trees, knowledge of eventual size, pollination group, and best location in the garden is advisable.

Tree size:

Trees that are restricted in some way generally take up the least space.

These include: Cordons, Espaliers and Fans all of which are generally trained along a wall, fence or purpose made support frame.

Standard, half-standard and bush trees require the most space.

Root stock:

Most apple cultivars are grafted on to root stocks, these rootstocks can influence the trees suitability to location and soil type, the following table will help to clarify this.

Rootstock M27

Rootstock M9:

Rootstock M26:

Tree height and spread can be as little as 900mm (36")


This rootstock is only suited to fertile soils.


Trees need permanent staking.


Tree height and spread 1.8-3m (6-10ft)


Suitable for cordons.


This rootstock is only suited to fertile soils.


Trees need permanent support.


Tree height and spread 2.4-3.6m.(8-12ft)


This rootstock is suitable for restricted and containerised trees.


Rootstock MM106:

Rootstock MM111:

Tree height and spread 3.6-5m.(12-16ft)


This rootstock is suitable for bushes, half-standards, and restricted forms on poor soils or where large walls need covering.


Tree height and spread 4-6.5m (13-21ft)


Suitable for standards and half-standards.


Pollination groups:

In the majority of cases two cultivars should be grown to allow cross pollination, this also includes self-fertile cultivars which will usually fruit better if cross-pollinated.

One major factor to consider is the flowering season, there is no point selecting varieties that don't flower at the same time.

Group No.1

Group No.2

Group No.3

Flowering season: Very early


Pollination Group:1, 2 and 3.

Flowering season: Early


Pollination Group:1, 2 and 3.

Flowering season: Early / Mid-season


Pollination Group:2, 3 and 4.

Group No.4

Group No.5

Group No.6

Flowering season: Mid-season


Pollination Group:3, 4 and 5

Flowering season: Late mid season


Pollination Group:4, 5 and 6.

Flowering season: Late


Pollination Group:5, 6 and 7

Group No.7

Note: Generally cultivars from the same or an adjacent group will cross pollinate but it safer to establish this and what group they are in prior to purchase.

Flowering season: Very Late


Apple trees prefer a warm sunny area where the soil is quite deep, free draining, and has a pH of around 6.5

Avoid frost pockets as this can affect pollination i.e. too cold for pollinating insects and/or the flower buds may freeze and abort.


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