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What rootstock to use for a fan-trained apple?

Question

Asked by: Caroline  from Buckinghamshire, 30-Jun-2018

Hello I have a 2m high 3m long south east facing wall and would like to grow an easy apple tree (falstaff or similar) against it. Ideally I'd like to grow a fan but I'm worried it'd grow too high - I'd only want it to grow to a max of 50cm above the wall if at all. Would a fan be ok? If so would rootstock MM106 be the right one to use? If I didn't plant a fan I'd probably go for an espalier. I'd welcome your recommendation as I'm a novice in these matters! I've read your really useful website but couldn't quite find the right answer. Many thanks.

Answer

You should not have difficulty keeping the height of a fan-trained tree under 2.5m, or even 2m with the MM106 rootstock.

The width of 3m is also reasonable. When trained as a fan or espalier apple trees don't tend to reach the same height as a free-standing tree. You can generally limit the growth by pruning back in late summer (at which point the tree does not have time to re-grow before autumn sets in).