Dwarf rootstock vs B-118 or M-111
Morse Nursery uses B-118 and M-111 exclusively for their grafted Apple and Crabapple trees.
Apple trees are grafted on to “Root systems” called rootstock. There are many rootstocks used today and the majority are for dwarf apple trees, by keeping the apple trees small makes it easier for an orchard to harvest the crop and cut down overhead in terms of labor in an effort to improve the bottom line. These rootstocks are breed to have a “POOR” root system “intentionally” because this is how they control the size of the tree. These root systems do very well in the perfect soil, staked and under a drip system to feed them but for a wildlife apple tree these root systems are no good. This poor root system has very tender and brittle roots that if planted in heavy soils or rocky soils can’t penetrate and keep breaking off preventing the tree from growing and thriving. You need a root system that will grow a large tree because these root systems are very aggressive and will penetrate rocky, heavy soils and be large enough to plant in sandy soils also where moisture is hard to keep in the soil. These root systems, we use B-118 and M-111 will grow a self supporting large tree that will have hundreds of pounds more apples in them at maturity. These large trees would be a nightmare for an orchard but for feeding wildlife, are the best match. B-118 or M-111 rootstock is by far the most forgiving of all rooting systems and lets wildlife managers get away with murder on where they can be planted. You can also control the size of your tree by cutting the central leader if you want both a tree for wildlife and easy to pick apples for the family.