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Has anyone here grown a mature ungrafted M7 apple tree?

Posted by someguyinmaine (My Page) on
Sun, May 31, 09 at 0:05

Has anyone here let an M7 rootstock grow into a tree of its own with nothing grafted onto it?

I've let branches grow and produce fruit below the graft union, but for some reason I've never actually let one grow to more than a few years old before grafting a cultivar onto it. Right now, I have a little less than 500 3-yr old M7's waiting to be budded, and I'm seriously considering leaving about 90 ungrafted. The fruit is pretty good, similar to Macintosh, and they're about as juicy, too, so I figure they'll make good cider. If not, they'll make good fodder for the cows, goats, and chickens. I write this for the naysayers, who might say that the fruit would have no commercial value. Well, apple cider, milk, eggs, and pastured meat definitely aren't worthless.

Anyway, if someone has grown an ungrafted M7 to maturity, what is your experience with it?

Our M7's are spaced at 9x15 ft. Will an ungrafted M7 spread 9 ft wide, or will there be a lot of wasted space between trees?

Is M7 a regular bearer, or does it have strong biennial tendencies? I'm thinking the latter, since it is a type 2 semispur.

Thanks for any replies.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Has anyone here grown a mature ungrafted M7 apple tree?

There's something wrong here. I have read descriptions of the M7 tree and as I recall its fruit is reportedly worthless. I've learned not to lightly dismiss individual experiences but yours are a bit puzzling. When I have time I'll go to my book shelf and give you a description of fruit if someone else can't do that for you. Have you gotten the same fruit from more than one m7 rootstock?

RE: Has anyone here grown a mature ungrafted M7 apple tree?

I wouldn't be quick to write it off; We have a Bud. 9 tree that produces very nice sweet/tart red apples. The tree's redish leaves have the prettiest color in the fall, something we long for here in eternal green Southern California.

We have our M7 spaced at 8' and that's just about right for not having to summer prune.


RE: Has anyone here grown a mature ungrafted M7 apple tree?

M7 (Merton 7) is actually an ancient French apple bred in 1688 called "reinette doucin", or "doucin vert". Contrary to what some us websites claim, M7 is not a descendant of this apple, it actually IS the doucin vert, at least the virus free version from the malling research station's de-virusing efforts (heat treatment.)

Doucin vert has been used as a rootstock for centuries, it's not exactly grown for its fruit. It's definitely NOT a McIntosh-like apple, that's really wishful thinking. See the picture below from the GRIN DB:

I recognize this apple from abandoned trees in some orchards around here. It's really just livestock fodder, not even cider grade because it's not very juicy. But then again, it was an abandoned tree, neglected and not watered, so the apples from the rootstock suckers were small and dry.

Now MM-111 is a bit closer to your description. It's a red McIntosh looking like apple, except that it's ribbed. And it's a pretty big apple too, looks juicy and tasty in the picture, but I've never tried it, it's most likely very close in taste to Northern Spy. MM-111 is derived from multiple crosses. The first one is Northern Spy X English Paradise, which was then crossed once more with Northern Spy.

See the image below:

So M7, forget it, graft them over to something decent unless you just want to feed your pigs, but MM-111, there you might have a better chance at a good cider and cooking apple.

RE: Has anyone here grown a mature ungrafted M7 apple tree?

Wow! Great work Axel. Thanks.

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