[nafex] Proper planting technique M111/M9 interstem

HDessureault inter.verbis at atreide.net
Sat Mar 30 14:15:21 EST 2002

Hi Chris,
You have not indicated your climate zone, so it is difficult to comment on your question.

The M111 characteristics, beside 2/3 standard, are a good adaptation to sandy and dry conditions, as well as hardiness.

It is believed that in my zone 3-4, M111 does not attain 2/3 standard size, so there would be no reasons to interstem with M9. (I am presuming you used M9 to reduce the size.) This is what the books recommend, and I think it would apply to a zone 6-7.
You also have to consider hardiness, while M111 is very hardy, M9 is not. From the point of view of hardiness, M9 would be the weak link, but maybe M111 would impart more hardiness to M9, if the interstem was not too long...
The final size of a tree on M111 depends on the climate and the varieties of apple grafted. To give you an example, after five years on M111, some of my trees are twice the size of their neighbours and it seems to be mainly due to the variety grafted from the point of view of the hardiness and the vigour of the variety. My worst case of nanism is a Norland (not vigorous but very hardy) grafted on M111 which flowered last year and is barely 3 feet high (at 4 years growth) (Norland is a variety that is said to be small and I cannot find anything wrong with the tree except that it is awfully small) while my best case of vigour is almost 8 feet (at 5 years growth).
Small trees are popular nowadays because the trees are easier to take care of and the fruits easier to pick.
But most of all, you want the trees to grow and I was force to come to the realization in zone 3-4 that larger trees are better than none.
Hypothetically, if M111 is under M9 and M9 is allowed to root (planted under ground level), the characteristics of M111 (hardiness and good production in dry conditions) would not be loss, of course, but would complement the M9 characteristics in a complex manner which is hard to predict.... 
I would plant the interstem union M111-M9 below ground level with some M9 out of the ground and the variety above, but not too far.
Good luck,

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