What is a Rootstock?
The Antonovka rootstock is an apple tree rootstock. A rootstock controls the tree’s size, precocity, cold hardiness, and partly its disease resistance (such as fireblight). In order to grow a reliable and high quality fruit tree, growers graft the scion, which is above the ground and responsible for the fruit’s characteristics and disease resistance, onto the rootstock, which is underground.
The Antonovka rootstock produces very healthy, vigorous, and long-lived apple trees. Additionally these trees are the most drought-tolerant and adaptable to different soil types. Although with certain varieties the tree will bear only after 4-6 years, with others, such as Anna, Dorsett Golden, and Shell of Alabama you can see fruit in 2 years.
A rootstock that grows well in one location, may not grow well in another. Therefore you must consider your specific site considerations before choosing a rootstock. When choosing a rootstock, some considerations for growers are
- how well the rootstock adapts to your soil
- the disease pressure on your site
- how well the rootstock anchors
- what size tree is optimal for your site
- precocity (bearing fruit at a younger age)
From our experience growing in New York, we have found the Budagovsky, Geneva, and EMLA series to be great options since they are virus free and produce very healthy trees.
Size of Tree
- While a rootstock does affect the size of the tree at maturity, the variety of apple, the soil type, the amount of sun and the way the tree is pruned will also have a significant impact on the ultimate height.
- For example, an apple tree on an M9 rootstock can grow to the same height as one grown on an MM106 rootstock with the appropriate care. However, the M9 tree will have fewer and thinner branches.
- Therefore, when you see below the height of the tree at maturity, it is an approximate maximum.